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How Tacoma Self Storage Became Tacoma “Elf” Storage

In the heart of Tacoma, a whimsical transformation story unfolded that turned a simple typo into a cherished local tradition. It all started back in 2007 at Tacoma Self Storage, or as it’s affectionately known during the holiday season, Tacoma Elf Storage. The tale begins with an unlikely incident involving a flock of birds, one of which perched atop the ‘S’ in the ‘Tacoma Self Storage’ neon sign. This little avian friend unwittingly flicked a switch, and just like that, the ‘S’ blinked out, leaving behind a glowing “Tacoma Elf Storage.” A star was unintentionally born that day.

Tacoma Elf Storage gate

Bill Bradbrooke, the owner of the storage facility, recalls the moment with a hint of nostalgia, “The first time ‘Tacoma Self Storage’ became ‘Tacoma Elf Storage,’ it was an accident. We saw the ‘S’ off and said we’ve gotta get an electrician and fix this, and then we thought again, and thought, this is really cool, it happened right at this time of year, and it was Elf Storage. And it’s been that every year we’ve done it for the last ten years.”

This serendipitous event sparked a tradition that turned the storage facility into a beacon of holiday spirit in Tacoma. Head Elf Maria League, with a chuckle, shared, “Well, we got a call today saying they were looking for the storage facility that stored elves.” Maria, along with a team of festive spirits, decks the halls (and units) with enough Christmas cheer to impress Buddy the elf, Hermey the elf, and even Santa Claus himself. The facility becomes a magical realm where elves are said to roam freely, inspiring holiday cards uniquely South Sound in flavor.

Tacoma Elf Storage large sign

But where do these elves reside? Bradbrooke playfully dodges the question, “That’s a deep secret. We have no idea,” ensuring the magic remains just that—magical. The tradition includes an informal ‘un-lighting’ ceremony each Black Friday, reminding us that magic can be found in the most unexpected places, even a storage facility, if only you believe.

As for those passing through Tacoma, especially during the holiday season, keep your eyes peeled to the right once you pass the Tacoma Dome on southbound I-5. There, glowing under the red neon light, Tacoma Elf Storage stands as a testament to the joy, wonder, and accidental magic that the holiday season brings.

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Tacoma Self Storage is located at 2602 S Holgate St in Tacoma, WA. Are you ready to make room for life? Reserve your new storage unit or move-in online today!