By Rod Lee
One of the first things that becomes apparent in any conversation with Rocco Addeo is that there beats within him the heart of an entrepreneur.
In fact, mention this to Mr. Addeo and a smile accompanied by a nod is offered in return, by way of agreement.
The latest reflection of a yen on his part for tackling new startup ventures is Hilltop Self Storage of Grafton LLC.
Situated on Milford Road at the summit of “Williams Hill,” Hilltop Self Storage had its grand opening at Halloween of 2016. In less than two years, its one hundred seventy units, which come in a variety of sizes from 5x5’s on up (a number of them temperature-controlled) are already “70% occupied” with a low turnover rate, Mr. Addeo said, in welcoming a visitor to his office the afternoon of January 16th.
Blueprints have been drawn and excavation begun for “four more buildings, which will double our space to about 50,000 square feet of storage,” he said.
Customers are choosing Hilltop to safely secure a variety of commercial and household goods, boats, cars, motorcycles and RV’s. “A lot of people have a need for storage,” he said.
"We also do U-Haul and these trucks can be reserved anywhere in the U.S.,” Mr. Addeo said. As we spoke, a man back from Utah was carting dozens of blankets into the main building at Hilltop and stacking them on the floor for use by another patron.
Storage wasn’t the original plan when Mr. Addeo and his wife Susan bought Hilltop Farm, which directly abuts the storage facility on the Grafton/Upton town line. “We purchased the farm in 2001—to retire,” he said. “We boarded horses for fourteen years.”
Addeo & Sons Construction—specializing in additions, kitchens, baths, basements, decks, sheds, snow plowing and more—was already an established entity, since 1992, after Mr. Addeo had left “computers. I started construction part-time and went from remodels to building houses,” he said.
As he contemplated how to put to better use his family’s fifty-two acres, “I came up with a plan for a strip mall and storage. But (in 2009) there were empty strip malls everywhere, so I re-permitted for storage.”
Solar, to the rear of the storage area, is another ingredient that has been fused into the business.
“I was washing my truck when a guy came up to me and said ʽyou ever thought about solar?’ I got into it at the top of a curve. Now there are fewer government incentives.”
Twenty of Hilltop’s acres have been set aside for solar, with over 9000 panels in place.
Hilltop Farm itself is no longer a working farm, Mr. Addeo said. But, “I rent to a man who raises steer” while looking for other utilizations of the property.
Mr. Addeo’s affection for the American flag is emphasized in all of his promotional tools for his businesses. The flag is no less important to him than making sure that his customers are satisfied. Colin and Kerry McCrea of Upton, for instance, who he did the finish carpentry for to transform “a once very uninviting space into a three-season porch.”
Likewise Jim and Paula Turner, also of Upton, who said “our bathroom needed an Extreme Makeover. It had to be completely gutted, with much of the subflooring replaced due to powder post beetle damage, a closet destroyed by water damage and old duct work that had to be boxed in. But no challenge was too great for Rocco. He was very accommodating and easy to work with, very agreeable to the inevitable changes that homeowners are prone to make along the way. Old houses present many challenges and our home was no exception. We are very satisfied with our old-fashioned bathroom with the bead board walls, small hexagonal ceramic tile floor, claw-foot tub and pedestal sink…we are ʽsecond-time-around’ customers, as he is now in the process of turning our garage into a new kitchen and living room.”
As a modern, well-lit, gated facility—suitable for all kinds of storage demands—Hilltop is a manifestation of the Addeo commitment to quality.
Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.