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Local U-Haul celebrates 20th anniversary

SOUTH POINT — A familiar face in South Point is celebrating 20 years of operating her business in the village.

Mary Cogan, owner of South Point Storage and U-Haul, launched her company on June 1, 1996.

Cogan said, prior to starting her own business, she worked at Hamilton Chevrolet, where she was mentored in business by the owner, Jean Hamilton.

“She taught me how to manage finances and make things work,” Cogan said. “With the education I got from her, I thought I could make this work.

The business, which employs seven workers, five at part-time and two at full-time, operates at four locations in the village. In addition to renting 350 storage units, they offer propane exchange and, as a U-Haul franchise, are a location for pick-up and drop-off of trucks, cargo vans, tow dollies, and transports, as well as a retailer for moving supplies.

Cogan said the storage business helps people to hold onto their memories.

“We help people who may not have room in their garage for the things they cherish most,” she said. “Although much of our business is helping people with storage during a transition in their lives, like a death in the family, divorce or making room for a new baby, the part of the business we find the most joy in is helping people hang on to the things that have so much sentimental value in their lives.”

Cogan, who serves on South Point’s village council, is active in her community, having been on the district’s school board, volunteering with the Sybene-Chesapeake Senior Center and serving as treasurer for the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts. Her husband, Carlton Cogan, works in sales at WSAZ in Huntington and does some work for the storage business.

Cogan said the success of the business has been helped, in part, by having such good employees, who have been trained so that they able to handle all areas of customer needs.

She said, many times, her employees will help customers, directing them to other South Point businesses that might be able to help them with other needs, such as finding FedEx shipping centers.

“It’s amazing how they help out with everything,” she said. They’re always friendly.”

She said they have been fortunate to hire the right people.

“Employees who actually provide enthusiasm for what they do and an honest passion for helping our customers.”

Cogan said her customers tend to come from the area from Ironton to Chesapeake and have a wide variety of requests.

“You would not believe how busy it is,” she said. “We have a ton of business, including repeat business.”

In addition to the storage unit, she rents homes and apartments and also manages rental property for other owners and does showings of apartments.

She said the village of South Point has been good to her company, and has helped them to stay in the area.

Shirley Dyer, of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, praised Cogan and her business.

“South Point Storage has been a member of the Lawrence County Chamber for more than 10 years,” she said in a statement. “During this time, they have been very active in supporting the chamber with their presence at all of our events, such as Fourth Friday luncheons, award dinners, the Festival of Trees and many others.”

Dyer said they are always dependable in helping the chamber.

“Their support through the years has been greatly appreciated,” she said.

Cogan said the time at the company, helping others to hold on their memories, has had a boomerang effect on her.

“I have 20 years of memories I’ll be holding onto for a lifetime,” she said.