Oakland’s ‘Vault’ houses your old school records, opera costumes and even Miss Piggy

New Jersey is home to a growing number of warehouses, distribution centers and storage facilities. This is because of the state’s location and transportation options.
News 12 New Jersey’s Brian Donohue had a chance to check out one of these centers in Oakland that has been dubbed “The Vault” – a 600,000-cubic-foot warehouse that feels like it could be considered New Jersey’s attic.
“The Vault” has 6-inch thick fire and hurricane proof concrete walls and houses millions of items. School records from 88 New Jersey school districts dating back nearly a century are held there, along with some Porsches, Ferraris, hundreds of garment racks containing costumes for the New York Metropolitan Opera. Even Miss Piggy is housed there.
“Those are the Muppets. Those are the actual puppets,” says Gregory Copeland with FileBank Inc.
And not just Miss Piggy, but her massive wardrobe and over 66,000 other Muppet-related items that Disney stores in “The Vault.”
Copeland, 82, launched FileBank Inc. in 1991 in an old Paterson warehouse.
“Everything comes in the loading dock goes up a queue, through the office, inventoried, double-checked, scanned and then it goes into the rack,” says Copeland.
Copeland was running an art company when the New York City Opera lost its storage space to a fire and hired him to begin holding its costumes. He hired Paterson locals to work in the new business. Many of them are still there 30 years later – in some cases working alongside their own children and even grandchildren. Copeland calls his employees his “treasures.”
“You’re interviewing me, but the reality is the people that built this business is the talent I found in Paterson,” Copeland says.
A lot of the records storage is digital now. Much of the work is scanned as much as it is stacked. Copeland has had some uniquely “Jersey” requests over the years, such as the Hoboken School District pulling records in a futile hunt for Frank Sinatra’s report cards or an FBI agent looking for a suspect’s cache of gold coins.
FileBank Inc. has outfitted school districts with scanners that allows them to scan documents directly to the company’s servers. Copeland says that he hopes the effort will help districts process paperwork while also remaining socially distant during the pandemic.