- West Patent Elementary
Fox Lane Grad Sam Chason to Appear on Shark Tank
Sam Chason, a Fox Lane High School Class of 2016 graduate, will have the experience of a lifetime tomorrow night when he and his business partner, Matt Gronberg, present their business, Storage Scholars, on ABC’s Shark Tank.
While a student at Wake Forest University in 2017, Chason saw a need for a better campus storage solution for international students. That need, combined with his own desire to pay off his college loans as quickly as possible, inspired the creation of Storage Scholars. The company partners with universities to put students’ belongings into storage for the summer — and trains students to do the work, creating jobs on campus in the process.
We spoke to Chason ahead of their appearance to get some insight on launching a business — and to ask about some of his favorite Bedford Central School District memories!
How did you start Storage Scholars?
I printed out flyers and went door to door to every freshman on campus, selling the service and figuring out what my target customers needed and wanted out of a summer storage service. I had customers pay $50 deposits that covered the initial cost of boxes, supplies, truck rentals and the first month of storage. Everything was bootstrapped from there.
How has the business changed over the years? Have there been any ideas you've tried and had to rethink?
We have worked towards a partnership model with universities to allow for a fully contactless post-pick-up and pre-delivery service. Students receive boxes, tape and packing supplies on campus, they pack up their belongings, lock and go home. We come in with a team of students after the dorms have closed, move everything into storage and then have everyone's belongings ready and waiting in their new room when they return. We develop deep relationships with university administrators and are always looking to connect with new campuses!
How did you feel when you learned you would be on Shark Tank?
It was a surreal moment, a childhood dream and validation of the time I had been putting in for the past six years. Very quickly the reality of the moment hit and I realized, like every other step in this journey, I was going to have to work — very hard — to reap the most out of this opportunity. So, I put my head back down and started devising a plan to get as many eyeballs on this episode as possible.
What do you hope to get from this experience?
We hope to gain notoriety in the higher education space amongst both students on the campuses where we hire each year and the administration that we work so closely with. We have gotten to a point where we feel extremely confident in the product and service we provide and our customer reviews reflect that. Now, we just need more schools to give us a chance to show them the value that Storage Scholars can provide to their school.
Do you have a favorite Bedford Central School District memory?
The Fastest Kid Race at West Patent Elementary School Field Day. The try-out during the weeks leading up, the race day preparation and the focus that it took all day was electric. I medaled in races K-4. In fifth grade, as an expected shoo-in for the race, I fell short during qualifying and was not allowed to race my final year. Humbling experiences like these were vital to my development as a man.
Do you have any advice for students who might want to start their own businesses in the future?
The best time to start a business is now — especially when you are in college and have a meal plan, a dorm to sleep in and a .edu email to shamelessly reach out to any CEO or leader in the world. Now is the time to take risks, put yourself out in the world, see what sticks and what doesn't. As a student, everyone wants to take your call, answer your email and help you. Take a chance on yourself, fail and try again — do this all before you need to pay bills or support a family.
Is there anything else you think the community should know?
Storage Scholars is making a major expansion in the Northeast this year. If you are a student looking to learn the foundations of business/entrepreneurship and want to get paid to put them into practice, visit our website or if you know someone who works in Residence Life, Housing, or Auxiliary Services that could benefit from learning more about partnering with Storage Scholars, visit our website: www.storagescholars.com