Wayne Hughes

Age: 63

Net Worth: $700 million

Source of Wealth: Mini-warehouse storage space.

Residence: Malibu

Wayne Hughes might not be a household name, but the business he operates is Public Storage Inc.

Hughes, who owns the trademark on the name “Public Storage,” has built his company into the nation’s biggest chain of self-storage facilities. He also holds control over a real estate empire that’s worth about $3 billion nationwide.

Hughes first got the idea of warehouses after driving past one along a Texas roadside in the early 1970s. He went on to duplicate the idea in California and went from one location to 20 within two months.

Today, the company owns 67 million square feet of rental space in 1,067 mini-warehouses in 38 states and Canada. The Glendale-based company had revenues last year of $340 million, up from $212 million the year before. Its ’96 net income was $153 million, from $70 million in 1995.

Hughes has always been considered a wealthy man within L.A.’s business circles. But the extent of his wealth wasn’t truly recognized until Hughes took the company public in 1995.

Public Storage employees say Hughes’ offbeat management style encourages hard work. Case in point: At the company’s corporate headquarters in Glendale, business attire is discouraged.

“This is a fun place to work, mainly because (Wayne Hughes) is a great person to work for,” said Harvey Lenkin, president of Public Storage. “We might come in to work casual, but as our revenues show we are all very serious about getting the job done.”

Joe Bel Bruno

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