picture of the team at Bouma Self-Storage: Owner Ralph Bouma (far left) and employees Jackie Hart, Jean Knapp, and Ray Cameron
Ralph Bouma was in high school in the 1950’s when he started loading trucks with Grand Rapids Made New Furniture and residential moving for his father’s moving and trucking business Bouma Cartage Co. After graduating from high school, and serving in the Navy, Bouma opened his own business delivering new furniture and doing residential moving. He operated out of his home on Grand Rapids on west side under the name of Ford Moving Co. until 1966 when he moved to his first building at 12 Leonard N.W. He then changed the name to Bouma Moving & Storage Inc. and expanded into long distance moving as an agent for Greyhound and then United Van Lines.
Bouma envisioned a demand for self-storage to parallel with the moving services he offered. He discovered 1.5 acres of available industrial property at 200 Lamoreaux Drive in Comstock Park and built the first self-storage facility in West Michigan while keeping his moving services. Star Truck Rentals bought the property on Lamoreaux from him, and in 1979 Bouma moved the business to its current location at 3700 Mill Creek Avenue. He bought a second storage facility at 5241 Plainfield Avenue NE in 1990.