Marsha Churchill and Kurtis Ellis have recently opened Snow Valley Mini Storage in Fernie.

Concentrating effort pays off for Fernie couple

Entrepreneurial family opens mini storage facility

Between running a restaurant, a contracting company and raising two children—life was pretty hectic for Marsha Churchill and Kurtis Ellis.

Churchill is no stranger to multitasking; at just 20-years-old she started a franchise company and up until last year she owned the Lunchbox in downtown Fernie.

However, with running the restaurant, raising children and helping her partner with his business Valley View Contracting; it was time to change up the game.

“We’ve wanted to do mini-storage for the last 10 years,” said Churchill, sitting outside the freshly finished storage units on 10th Avenue.

“We need to sell and join forces,” she said. “Working as a team is so much better. It takes the stress off; and it’s something you can talk about together.”

While Ellis focused on running his contracting company, Churchill fleshed out the plans for the storage company.

The couple purchased the property in the industrial part of Fernie, which was formerly a dumping yard for a roofing business.

“This was the last lot in town that was zoned for it[storage],” said Ellis, who after receiving the building permit from the city, started on pouring the foundation and having the modular units erected.

“It was a slow process, the build,” said Ellis, remembering how his team struggled through some bitterly cold days last winter.Now, standing in front of their new business; the couple is excited to start serving the community.

Churchill says that given the dynamics of the town, there is a distinct need for storage.

Homeowners who choose to convert garages into secondary dwellings, or spare bedrooms for rent are using the storage facilities for extra belongings. People who live seasonally in Fernie, from places like Calgary and Australia find it easier to store their skis and belongings with them rather than trek back and forth with it all.

“There’s a lot of different avenues why someone would want it,” she said.

The pair have even let non-profits such as Outdoor Connections store their kayaks and camping gear free of charge while they are between seasons.

Snow Valley Mini Storage is located at 1521 10th Avenue.