Garage 1919 offers secure storage for prized possessions

04/12/2012 12:00 AM

04/11/2012 10:02 PM

If you have more vehicles than space, Jim Rishel has a place for you.

“It’s amazing the number of people who have cars sitting outside,” he said.

Rishel owns Garage 1919, a storage space for cars, boats and more in south Wichita.

Not surprisingly, the garage appeals mainly to people with high-end vehicles.

This week the occupants included a restored Model A, an Alfa Romero, a couple of Porsches and several cars that are raced recreationally by their owners.

Rishel bought the 72,000-square-foot former warehouse a couple of years ago thinking he might use it to expand ADR Printing, which he has owned since 1978.

It’s located across the street.

When a stuttering economy put the brakes on that plan, Rishel said, “I thought, ‘I love cars. I’m just going to start parking cars in here.’ ”

Rishel aims to provide more than just a roof over the vehicles. The building has a two-tier security system, requiring customers to use an electronic password and then turn off an interior alarm with their personal code. Video cameras are mounted inside.

“I’ve got three different ways of knowing who’s coming and going,” Rishel said. “It’s as secure as I can possibly get it.”

Rishel said the building’s thick concrete walls keep temperatures inside mild. Even during last summer’s blazing heat, the temperature inside never exceeded 86 degrees, while 48 degrees was the lowest temperature recorded during the winter.

The building is fitted with a sprinkler system and each parking slot comes with an electric plug-in for battery maintainers.

Rental rates start at $100 a month per slot.

There’s no doubt Rishel loves cars, especially nice fast ones. Before allowing a photographer to snap a picture of two cars, Rishel telephoned their owner to make sure there were no objections.

Rishel is an amateur race car driver himself, and his Spec Racer Ford is parked at Garage 1919 when he’s not driving it at the Hallett Motor Racing track in Oklahoma. His silver Mercedes is also there.

“Pretty much everybody I’ve gotten down here to look has ended up renting” space, he said.

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