Storage Operations: History
TAC’s first livestock building, now known as the Green Barn, was completed in 1964. Shortly thereafter, in around 1967, the Board of Trustees decided to offer the use of that building for the winter storage of boats, campers and other types of equipment that its owners wished to put under cover and out of the New England winter weather elements. We suspect that various pieces of farm equipment were also stored in the early days. In 1972, the second livestock building, now known as the Red Barn, was completed. That virtually doubled the amount of space available to store vehicles and equipment. Five years later, in 1977, the third livestock building was completed originally as an open pavilion. That building, now known as the Niederwerfer Building or White Barn, was soon enclosed increasing the space available for equipment storage by an additional 25 percent. By requesting a small donation, currently $12.00 per linear foot, based on the total length of the equipment to be stored, winter utilization of the buildings provided TAC with additional income to be used for the maintenance and upkeep of the buildings which were used from April through early October for the annual 4-H Fair, which began at TAC in 1959, and numerous other uses such as sheep shows, horse shows, llama and alpaca shows, dog shows and other activities that have taken place at the TAC grounds and facilities during the past fifty plus years.
Today, the storage operation has been streamlined and improved to enable the maximum number of pieces of equipment to be efficiently moved into the buildings in the fall and out again in the spring in a minimum amount of time. Typically two or three trustees and a clerical assistant volunteer for about three hours on each of two Saturday mornings in October to accept and position, somewhat like a jigsaw puzzle, approximately 70 classic cars, boats and camper RV’s into the three buildings. A security alarm system, which is monitored and provides notification to the Vernon Police Department, protects the equipment from fire, theft and vandalism while it is stored in TAC’s buildings. Then again at the end of March, the volunteers open the buildings and assist the owners to retrieve their vehicles from storage. The removal process is somewhat faster than the storage process because it is much easier to disassemble a jigsaw puzzle than to assemble one. The income derived from the storage operation amounts to approximately 15% of TAC’s total annual revenue and provides adequate funds for the upkeep and maintenance of the three livestock buildings and the fairgrounds in general.
As noted above, TAC has about 70 clients who store their vehicles and equipment in the three livestock buildings. In addition, we maintain a waiting list of approximately 15 people who wish to store their equipment with us. The waiting list has been as small as 8 or 10 people and has on several occasions been as high as 25. The typical wait, from the time a person goes onto the waiting list, is about 2 or 3 years depending on the turnover in any given year. Once someone stores his or her equipment with us, they are offered the opportunity to continue storing with us until they choose to leave. A number of clients have been storing their equipment with us for many years. One gentleman has been storing his boat with us almost since the beginning, the late 1960’s or early 1970’s. Another has stored his 1977 customized van with us since he bought it new in 1977. Many others have been storing their equipment with TAC for more than 20 years.
Storage Operations: The Process
1. In mid-September we send out a letter to everyone who has stored equipment in the past and to every person on the waiting list. The letter tells what days, usually the middle and last Saturdays in October, that we will be placing equipment into storage. It also contains one of two different postcards to be returned to TAC.
a. One postcard has checkboxes for the specified days, along with several time slots, for the person who has stored equipment previously to choose when he or she wishes to bring the equipment to TAC to be placed into storage.
b. The other postcard, to people on the waiting list, tells them exactly what their number on the waiting list is and has three checkboxes for them to notify us that they still wish to store their equipment if space becomes available or they wish to pass this opportunity but remain on the waiting list or they no longer wish to be on the list.
The letter also explains that they are to note the time and date that they selected and to show up with their equipment at that time. No confirmation or acknowledgement of their selected time is sent to them.
2. Once all of the postcards are returned, we then know what equipment is returning and have a good idea how much equipment from the waiting list can be stored.
3. On the designated days the clients bring their equipment to TAC where 2 or 3 volunteers assist them to place it in the buildings. At that time they sign a storage agreement, one copy for them and one copy for TAC, and make their storage donation.
4. After the equipment that comes in on the first day is positioned in the buildings, we begin to contact people on the waiting list to arrange for them to bring their equipment in for storage.
5. Often there are people who can’t bring their equipment in on one of the specified days. We then make every effort to accommodate them when it is convenient for them.
6. Usually, by the first week of November, all of the equipment to be stored is in the buildings until the following end of March.
7. The location of each person’s equipment is noted on a diagram because when the time comes to remove it at, usually the last Saturday of the following March, they are notified by a postcard to come at a specified time based on where in the buildings their equipment is located. This allows for the smooth removal of the equipment so that people aren't standing around waiting for equipment that is blocking theirs to be removed.