HIGH POINT, N.C. -- A High Point University senior is starting his own business before graduating from school. After seeing and experiencing his own painful moving days, Ryan Gilbert thought there had to be an easier way of bringing your clothes, shoes and office supplies to campus.
"I noticed that whenever session happened, people tend to downsize and they need storage," Gilbert said. "So it's an almost recession-proof industry. So that's what got me started in it."
Gilbert got to work building a system where students can store what they need. And when they return to campus, they can simply pick up their storage unit and unload it. Gilbert went through many prototypes until he found the perfect shape. Sixty-inches tall, 54-inches long, 26-inches wide crates that can hold clothes, supplies and a dorm fridge. Plus the crate rolls. So it can easily fit onto elevators and down dorm hallways.
To get his business off the ground, Gilbert pitched his idea at High Point University's Business Plan Competition. He won the $9,500 first place award. Gilbert named the company Safe Crate.
"Seeing this fully manufactured and here is the best feeling," Gilbert said. "It's a huge relief."
Gilbert unzipped the crate's cover to unveil the boots, clothes, lamp and boxes inside. There's also a small pull-out shelf that can hold desk items like tape, pencils and notepads.
Gilbert explained that Safe Crate will open this summer. High Point University students will be able to pack their dorm items into a crate and have it stored at at climate-controlled warehouse over the summer. Students will be able to pick up their secured crates when they return in the fall. Gilbert said he is making plans to expand beyond High Point University.
"We are already in touch with other universities and partners looking to provide this service to universities and it will spread pretty quick," Gilbert said.
It took him three years to establish Safe Crate. But Gilbert believed the long process was beneficial.
"I'll have failures but you'll learn a lot from it. The next week you'll have big success," Gilbert said. "So one of the best parts about starting a company, you will go through the hard times but you are quickly rewarded for those hard times."
Gilbert is also running another company. Crate Systems, which sells the storage units he created to larger storage companies.