Businesses in Conex Boxes Springing Up Across The USA
Steel shipping containers continue to provide fast, modular solutions to building new businesses across the US. A glut of decommissioned Conex boxes that have come to the end of their average 20 to 25-year lifespan in the haulage business, ensures that there is no shortage in the supply of these rugged building blocks.
The portable design of shipping containers means they can easily be delivered on the back of a truck to virtually any location. Their stackability, plus the fact that they can be cut and welded together by engineers, means that the configurations are almost endless and an architect’s delight.
Welcome to the Boxville Shipping Container Mall
In June 2017, intrigued residents of the South Chicago suburb of Bronzeville witnessed the opening of the Illinois city’s first street food market and container mall. This exciting enterprise aims to offer unique retail and restaurant opportunities to local people looking for a new business challenge. The low cost of the Corten steel shipping container units makes them ideal for young entrepreneurs looking to launch start-up companies.
There’s an easy vibe at Boxville, with music emanating from various sources and great food aromas hanging heavy in the air. This part of Chicago has long been considered something of a food desert but finally locals have a place to buy high quality food and drink without having to hop on a Green Line bus. This is also great for senior citizens living in this overlooked area.
A Maryland Hydroponic Farm Built from Shipping Containers
Environmentally-aware entrepreneurs, who choose places like Boxville as a location, often demand produce that has been ethically and creatively sourced. There’s an interesting synergy at work, whereby shipping containers can be used to grow all manner of suitable crops under special lighting.
A farm situated in Laurel, Maryland, is immune to the vagaries of the weather and can even supply juicy strawberries and exotic, tropical fruits in January! When the frost bites outside, the project built by Californian company, “Local Roots” , continues churning out crops regardless. It takes a fair amount of hardware and technical wizardry to set a hydroponic farm up but the rewards are spectacular. A single 40-foot shipping container can yield the annual equivalent of three to five acres of conventional farmland. And it’s pretty much guaranteed, with no snow, rain or drought to worry about.
The taste of lettuces, herbs and other produce can be adjusted by altering the type and levels of nutrients that the plants are fed on. That means the farm can consistently supply local restaurants with the exact amount of peppery or sweet taste they require.
New Shipping Container Homes Arrive in Iowa
Cedar Rapids, Iowa, may not be the first place that springs to mind when it comes to innovative housing projects, because surely they are more commonly found in cool cities like Seattle, San Francisco and Austin! But an investment partnership called “Cargohab”, based locally in the Midwestern town, has just taken delivery of four 45-feet “high cube” containers, that boast extremely useful headroom of 9’6”. At just $3,000 each, they form the superstructure for 1,800 square feet, two-bedroom homes, that will be arranged over two floors and have walls removed to expand the living areas and make the spaces more ergonomic.
At this stage, the shipping containers will retain their industrial lines, which many younger buyers prefer, but there is always an opportunity to clad them with plastic or wood, to arrive at a softer look that masks their Conex box DNA.