By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – While property in the city of Rio remains the most expensive in Brazil, areas in Zona Norte (North Zone) are much more affordable. American expatriate and entrepreneur in Rio, Zachary Mazur, has leveraged the value into a successful self storage business, which has just turned two years old.
The business is named Rio Self Storage, and is located in the neighborhood of Sampaio, near Maracanã Stadium. The building has over 1,000 m2 (10,000 sq. ft.) of space, is surrounded by a high protective wall, and is secured with a 24-hour alarm system and CCTV cameras.
Mr. Mazur moved to Rio nearly fifteen years ago and has put his Yale University education to use in several ventures, including an import/export business and a real estate investment company focusing on foreclosed properties. Not to mention he passed the equivalent of the bar exam in Portuguese to become a civil law attorney registered with the Brazilian Bar (OAB/RJ).
“I arrived in Rio de Janeiro fourteen years ago as a tourist, imagining that I would stay for six months to a year,” Mazur explains, “Since then, I think I became addicted to the excitement of living in Rio.”
Regarding Rio Self Storage, he shares, “Over the past years I have been buying and selling real estate with a group of investors, including commercial warehouses. The real estate business led me to consider the need to smaller storage spaces in the Rio area. In the end, it was the empty, unused space that led me to start dividing one of the commercial buildings and renting the spaces out as storage units.”
The facility claims to be the ‘lowest cost storage in Rio’, and offers options ranging from R$360 to R$1,080 per month. With both corporate clients and individuals in mind, the company has been able to be flexible in a difficult economic period.
“Our small size helps us tailor solutions to our customers. We have carved out spaces based on customer needs, and we make special hours for customers who need to access their spaces during non-business hours,” Mazur explains.
Adding, “One of the biggest successes was breaking into the film producers in Rio. We have two big clients who produce TV and films, and use our space to store the ever changing props and set. We also had clients relating to the Rio Olympics in 2016 – we stored some of the official Olympic branded merchandise for the official importer.”
In regard to the inevitable hurdles and challenges in opening a business in Rio, Mazur admits, “After we opened up, we saw the competition crowd in very quickly. It seems like every week a new facility opens, inevitably driving down prices and making the sales process more difficult.”
However the two year-mark reflects an inspiring image, that some can find success in Rio de Janeiro, amidst adverse business conditions in the best of times.