Originally from New Jersey, Kathryn Padalino, owner and founder of Cool-Binz, didn't plan on starting a business when she and her husband retired to Naples, FL. In fact, she wasn't even planning on working. However, as Padalino shared, a need to find a solution to a problem is what ultimately led to the formation of Cool-Binz.
"After first purchasing our home in 2012, we decided to retire and move year-round in 2015," she said. "We moved all of our possessions down to Naples and stored them in what we thought was a climate controlled storage space. Unfortunately, after a four month renovation turned into 10 months, we unloaded the container and most of our stuff was ruined. That's when I told my husband, 'Why can't we build a climate controlled portable storage unit'? For the next year, I started doing research on storage containers, went to trade shows and learned how to insulate a bin to make it climate controlled. I discovered that insulation was the key to making it work. Once I had working models, I set them up on our own property, plugged them in and basically ran them until I worked out the kinks and got them to run perfectly."
Along the way, Padalino designed a container that was aesthetically pleasing, but also made of steel and capable of withstanding hurricane force winds. She made tweaks as she went and also found a unique delivery system that allows her containers to be picked up and moved to a single parking space with ease. The result is a one-of-a-kind product catering to builders, realtors, homeowners doing renovations and anyone else in need of quick, easy, portable and on-demand climate controlled storage.
"I've been approached by people that want to franchise them and some that want to buy them," Padalino said. "However, I'm trying to build the business slowly. Since my product is so new to the market, I'm not just building brand awareness, I'm introducing an entirely new concept."
Padalino shared that, not only do customers have a secure climate controlled space to store their possessions, they also have the ability to store the actual container at the Cool-Binz facility and have 24/7 access to their stuff. Typical customers include people remodeling their condos who need a temporary place to store their possession and flooring companies that need a safe place to store furniture while they redo flooring.
According to Padalino, Cool-Binz has been aggressive with their marketing strategy and they continue to innovate and introduce new products. "I'm doing a lot of digital marketing," she said. "That includes social media marketing and guerilla marketing. I'm also launching new products to come up with a wider array of options. I have a bin that can cool down to the 40s for florists and two refrigerated bins that cool to the 30s. I've also introduced a mobile portable space complete with glass doors, lighting and power. The idea is to have a space for builders to use as an onsite mobile office, for people working at outside events or for man caves and she sheds. I'm basically taking a box and figuring out how many ways to cool it and use it."
Looking ahead, Padalino remains focused on building the business and creating happy customers. She enjoys the creative process and the satisfaction that comes from bringing a new product to market. At some point, she might consider franchising or selling the business.
What advice does Padalino have for aspiring entrepreneurs? "Do your research," she said. "Also, be confident in your idea and don't listen to people when they say it can't be done. Also, be prepared for long hard days. The beginning is slow and you'll often doubt yourself, but see it through. There's a big reward at the other end."