Self Storage Barry – James Mason, Shaping today from a century-old legacy

Posted on: Tue Oct 31

James Mason

Masons Moving Group – Over 118 years of innovation & service

The MASONS name carries the weight of history, innovation, and good old-fashioned service. We’ve been making life easier for businesses and everyday people in the Vale of Glamorgan since 1905, starting out in home and business removals and expanding into space-saving self-storage facilities, flexi serviced office space, and now our brand-new document shredding venture.

Family roots, modern growth

However, it’s not just our wide range of services that’s responsible for our over century-long success. It’s the incredible people who’ve put their hearts and souls into the MASONS name, driving us forward year after year. 

We’re a family business that never lost sight of our roots despite our growth. You see, it’s not just about what we offer, but the people behind the business who make it all happen. That’s why we’ve created the Inside a Family Business Series – it’s our opportunity to shine a spotlight on our brightest stars. In this piece, we’re focusing on James Mason, a fourth generation Mason and Marketing Manager at Masons Self Storage, whose determination and eye for success is taking self-storage in Barry to new heights!

A fresh perspective keeps the legacy alive 

James has played a pivotal role in the growth and success of Masons Self Storage, but did you know that he initially harboured reservations about joining the family business? Here’s the experience in his words:

“Back in 2007, when I was just a 17-year-old, knee-deep in my A-Levels, studying Business Studies and Physical Education, I was dead set on forging my own career path, separate from the Mason family legacy. You could call it my rebellious phase, or maybe just a time of self-discovery,” explains James. 

He continues: “But, shortly after I qualified, something inside me began to shift. I found myself thinking about our removals division and felt that we needed a new type of service & income stream to compliment the removals, something new and exciting to navigate the changing landscape and keep pace with the ever-evolving times.

“That’s when I had an epiphany. Making my mark in the family business was the direction I needed to follow. I knew in my gut that I had the potential to make a significant impact and usher our company into the next thrilling chapter of success.”

A whirlwind start

In the same year James earned his qualifications, he made his exciting debut in the family business. 

“You could say 2007 was a whirlwind of a year for me. I didn’t waste any time and dove headfirst into our exciting new family project, The Business Centre (Cardiff) Ltd. At the time, it was an innovative concept, focusing on flexi office space with exclusive business support facilities.”

Brick by brick: The path to success

He quickly began learning the ropes guided by the manager at the time. At the age of 21, James officially took over the reins of management, leading a team of six dedicated individuals. Within the first three years, he successfully completed his ILM First Line Management course.

But most of his expertise was gained by hitting the ground running and being unafraid to take calculated risks. 

“Some of those gambles paid off brilliantly, while others, well, let’s just say they were part of the learning process,” laughs James. 

He didn’t go the traditional business school route; instead, he learned through hands-on experience and paved his path to success, brick by brick.

Masterstroke of transformation in 2016

Jump ahead to 2016, and James was making waves at Masons Self Storage. His most significant undertaking during this time was the facility’s first major renovation project, where he oversaw phases 1 and 2, all while juggling his responsibilities at The Business Centre (Cardiff) Ltd. He explains more below:

“This renovation was a game-changer for our self-storage facility, resulting in a big increase in storage units and containers, going from 100 to an impressive 244. It was nothing short of a complete makeover, featuring brand-new state-of-the-art ESCORTA lifts, cutting-edge technology to grant 24/7 access, and effectively turning Masons Self Storage into a state-of-the-art facility that outshone the competition in the Vale of Glamorgan!”

Storage units with 91% occupancy rates

March 2017 marked a turning point, a year after the initial renovation phase. Masons Self Storage surged to an impressive 91% occupancy rate, thanks to the extra 144 storage units. And from January 2018 onwards, James devoted himself full-time to the business as the Marketing Manager. His commitment and innovative thinking paved the way for growing occupancy rates since his transition.

Our second renovation followed pretty quickly, increasing our number of units from 244 to 483 in April 2018 with all spaces being filled to 100% occupancy by April 2020.

James’ new venture: Simply Shredding Cardiff

James is a constant idea generator, always on the lookout for out-of-the-box ways to expand our services in the Vale of Glamorgan. One of his recent triumphs is scoping out a new franchise – Simply Shredding Cardiff, a secure and reliable shredding service catering to both personal and business needs. It’s a testament to his commitment to aiding local businesses and addressing the needs of the community. 

More expansion to meet dizzying demand 

Now, let’s dive into our latest upgrade, where James put his hard-earned experience from the previous expansions to good use. 

“As the demand for self-storage in Barry continued to surge, we listened to our customers’ call for more storage space, and we answered with a resounding yes,” reveals James. 

“We’ve taken a generous 1000 square feet and turned it into a cluster of 16 smaller, versatile units. These new additions have been an instant hit, ranging in size from a cosy 25 square feet to a spacious 270 square feet. In fact, these units have been in such high demand that every last one of them has already found its new owner. 

“Our latest expansion was completed in just four weeks thanks to our brilliant service providers, with the additional units now taken our levels to just under 500 units!”

Family milestones

This fourth-generation Mason has undeniably proven that a fresh perspective can make a world of difference. However, beyond his numerous pivotal roles within the company, James cherishes his most important positions: that of a devoted partner to his soon-to-be wife, Lucy, and a loving dad to their adorable four-year-old son, Oliver and step-dad to 14-year old Jesse.

Little Oliver, who made his grand entrance into the world on October 31, 2018, is now experiencing his first big milestone. He began his full-time school journey this September and is loving his new school, Ysgol Sant Curig. Jesse is now in his GCSE years, working hard at Whitmore High School in Barry.

James and Lucy are gearing up for their very own special milestone in September next year when they will be saying “I do” at the stunning Celtic Manor Resort.

Golf, gym, & gastronomy

In his downtime, James revels in a few personal passions. He’s a golf enthusiast who enjoys spending time on the course and maintains an active lifestyle by hitting the gym. Plus, he loves discovering new local eats and restaurants with his friends and family.

He’s not shy about his love for good food, confessing, “I’m a massive foodie. I love dining out and savouring delicious meals, and of course, a few beers, too. But I must confess, I am a bit of a lightweight, haha! Most of my spare time is dedicated to making memories with Lucy and Oliver, spending time with family, and teeing off on the golf course.

“I’m starting to get back into golf after a long period of hardly playing. I’m a member at Wenvoe Castle Golf Club, where we also sponsor two of the holes for Masons Self Storage and The Business Centre (Cardiff) Ltd. It’s like coming back to my roots at Wenvoe, as I was a member there when I first joined at the age of 13!” 

Inside a Family Business Series

Our Inside a Family Business Series is your exclusive window into the individuals who drive Masons Group of Companies. Through this series, we hope to provide you with a deeper understanding of our team, instilling trust in our unwavering commitment to home and business owners throughout the Vale of Glamorgan and Wales.

The Masons Story

For over 100 years the Mason family have been looking after homes and businesses, both locally and across the world. We started out our moving business life in 1905, and in 1991 the Mason family saw an opportunity to further help local homes and businesses by offering secure self-storage which is known today as Masons Self Storage. In our pursuit to create the perfect environment where business success can become a reality, 16 years ago The Business Centre Cardiff began, and today more than 400 small businesses have walked through our doors, and we had the honour of watching them grow and expand into flourishing companies. Making all this possible is our simple, flexible and professional services that allow you to focus on growing your business while we do everything else. From flexible serviced offices and co-working spaces to meeting room hire and high-end amenities, we take care of you while you take care of your business.

For more information on our self-storage units or to request a free quote, please reach out to our helpful team at 0800 533 5708 or via email at [email protected].