Leslie Pendergrass says she can’t take credit for the idea of a boutique locker room, vehicle storage and mail reception business, but she opened shop on February 26 in hopes of fulfilling a border town need.
Pendergrass, owner of Seaside Locker Room at 922 Peace Portal Drive, said that the late local real estate broker Bill Hofley first suggested that cross-border transients often need a place to store possessions and receive mail.
“It’s a much-needed service,” Pendergrass said, explaining that truckers, boaters and vacationing shoppers often have
valuables and other items they don’t want to take across the border. Seaside Locker Room contains 244 lockers in a room decorated with beachside accents, each about a foot wide, a foot deep and three feet tall. Customers can rent the lockers for a dollar a day, and along with the locker they get a free physical mailing address in Blaine. Renters can opt to have Pendergrass place mail in a mailbag that hangs in each locker.
“If they need a mailing address, they can receive mail at 922 Peace Portal Drive, and the locker number becomes the apartment number in the address,” she said.
Pendergrass said Gina Crews of Pacific Customs Brokers suggested that the property, once the site of a used car dealership, lent itself to vehicle storage.
Canadians who buy autos in the U.S. have to wait at least 72 hours after submitting a title to Canada customs before they are able to bring their new vehicle across the border. The wait can sometimes be as long as 45 days if the owner is required to make modifications to the vehicle. Previously, owners were often at a loss for where to leave their new car while they waited for clearance.
“The city finds these brand new cars parked around town, which isn’t legal,” Pendergrass said. “This is a place they can store their vehicle as long as they need to.”
Since she lives on the premises, it’s a good deal for everyone. “Customers have a 24-hour guard for their belongings, “Pendergrass said.
Vehicle storage customers must provide proof of insurance and arrange for a removal time at least 24 hours in advance so Pendergrass doesn’t report it stolen, she said.
The first 13 customers who rent lockers at Seaside Locker Room will get their third month free.