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Rojeti owner starts document-storage business in Rome

By Journal Staff

Date:

ROME — Joyce Finnegan’s newest business — Store Scan Shred Secure Records Management — gives area businesses a new option for storing their sensitive records.

The business is a division of Finnegan’s RJT Products LLC, which also operates ROJETI, manufacturer of eco-friendly laundry and travel bags.

Growth at ROJETI prompted Finnegan to start Store Scan Shred when the business outgrew her home office, Finnegan says. “I realized I needed a place that offered me not only storage capability, but also the ability to work out of as well,” she says.

Finnegan’s search led her to a 30,000-square-foot former school at 112 E. Thomas St. The building operated as a grade school from 1928 until about 1970. From 1970 until 2009, the Rome School District Board of Education used the structure for offices, Finnegan says.

The building itself was great, Finnegan says, but at 30,000 square feet, it was much more space than she needed for an office and some storage space for her laundry and travel bags. “I really only needed about 1,000 square feet at most for the laundry-bag business,” she says.

Rather than look for another building, Finnegan instead began thinking of what she could do with the additional space. “I started looking into the storage of documents,” she says.

Finnegan purchased the building in June from the Rome School District for $40,000, according to Oneida County property records, and began the process of starting her own document-storage business. She joined PRISM International, the Professional Records and Information Services Management organization, and learned as much as she could about records management.

She also started work on preparing the building. Finnegan says her firm ripped out all the partition walls that had been installed over the years, opening the old classrooms back up to their original sizes and ceiling height of 13 feet. Shelving racks were installed in the rooms and security cameras were installed around the building, Finnegan says.

The building had a dry sprinkler system with sprinkler heads located in the stairwells and main hallways. In a dry system, the pipes only carry water if the sprinkler system is tripped. The rest of the time, the pipes are filled with air, eliminating the risk of accidental water damage from frozen or burst pipes. There are no sprinklers in the rooms where the documents are stored. In addition, the plaster and concrete walls and ceilings provide some fire resistance and all the rooms are equipped with sensitive smoke detectors. The metal doors on each floor are on a magnetic system and close when an alarm trips to contain any fire that might break out. In the event of an incident involving water damage, Finnegan says the protocol is to freeze the containers, peel the documents apart, and allow them to dry.

Similar to the way a bank sets up its safety-deposit-box system, Finnegan says any visitors need to be let into the secure building, but only have access to the main office area and a private viewing room. Only Store Scan Shred staff has access to the rooms where records are stored, Finnegan says. This setup ensures that access to the records is controlled, she notes. In addition, the transfer of records is documented each step of the way from the customer to the facility, she says, to establish a chain of custody. This is important when handling sensitive records such as financial documents or documents that fall under HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) regulations.

That level of security is what sets her company apart, Finnegan says. In the immediate area, Finnegan says, there aren’t any other companies that can offer that level of secure storage. Her closest competition of the same level is Iron Mountain in Syracuse, she says.

Along with the security measures, Finnegan is also installing a number of eco-friendly products in the building including high-efficiency lighting and solar panels. Altogether, Finnegan says, it will cost about $230,000 to get the building ready. She declined to say how much she is personally investing, but did say she received several grants for the green investments such as the lighting and solar panels in the building. She declined to disclose the grant totals.

Finnegan already has two small clients and is gearing up to start a marketing campaign later this month. She plans to send fliers to area businesses and will also appear on an upcoming segment of The DeClutter Coach’s new segment on WKTV NewsChannel 2’s Saturday morning newscast.

Store Scan Shred offers document storage for 30 cents per cubic foot, or about 36 cents per month for a standard-sized records storage box. Her minimum fee is $18 per month, which includes up to 50 boxes. Additional fees apply for the company’s scanning services, which allow customers to request scanned copies of their documents in storage and have them emailed as a PDF.

For shredding services, Finnegan’s company partners with Empire Recycling’s Confidata division. Finnegan says she didn’t want to compete with an established shredding company, so working with Confidata was the best option. Now, she brings clients to Confidata for shredding and it can recommend her business to its clients looking for storage options.

Currently, Finnegan and two part-time employees are operating Store Scan Shred (www.storescanshred.com), but she hopes to add two more part-time employees this month. She declined to release revenue projections for the new business or revenue figures for ROJETI.

Finnegan founded ROJETI (www.rojeti.com) in her home in 2006, cutting and sewing the laundry bags herself. She later began outsourcing the bag sewing to China and went on to sell her products on QVC. Wholesale hotel customers — including Turning Stone Resort Casino — comprise the bulk of her customer base.

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