Inside Self-Storage 2/98

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MicroTask's new Stor-Rite self-storage management software features a Windows-based, 32-bit code that will run with a Windows95 operating system. The company created Stor-Rite last year and began shipping the product last month from its Burlington, Mass., offices.s an owner of two Massachusetts self-storage facilities, Chris Capozzoli has experienced several areas in the industry first hand, not the least of which was management software.

After using several of the available software packages on the market today, and unhappy with most of them, Capozzoli did what any entrepreneur would do: He created his own system.

"I've been in this business for about 10 years now. In that time I've probably used four or five different software packages for this industry," says Capozzoli. "The more educated I got in this industry, the more I realized the need for a true piece of management software that can really manage these facilities."

Capozzoli, along with business partner and computer programmer, Chad Nale, created MicroTask™, which, in turn created Stor-Rite, a self-storage software package that they believe will change the face of storage software.

"The nice thing about it is it's a full-blown, Windows95, 32-bit front-end management package that, what I've seen to date, there's no comparison to," he says.

As far as features for Stor-Rite, Capozzoli calls the system foolproof and totally automatic, which can handle more than one unit on a bill.

"On this program, it doesn't matter if you prorate it or use an anniversary date, you can have your facility totally mixed and everything will work fine. Typically, they say you have to have one or the other. Ours will run regardless."

Capozzoli says the program isn't an invention, rather a use of technology that's already available.

"When you design a Windows application with a 32-bit code, you're using the controls already built into Windows95. We're really not introducing anything new, we're just using controls that are already out there," he says, and adds that Stor-Rite will work with printers integrated with Windows95. "(The printer) will fly with our program because were using the components in Windows. We're right inside the environment."

For the future, Nale says that since the program uses Lotus and Microsoft applications, any future versions of the program will still work.

"We use Borland Delphi 3.0 to program it, Corel Paradox to create the database and Seagate Software's Crystal Reports for the reporting tools," says Nale. "What that insures is that when future versions of those programs come out, this program (Stor-Rite) is still going to work."

Nale, a programmer by trade, had little experience with the self-storage industry before MicroTask, but said his neophyte outlook was something of a benefit.

"I think what happens is you have preconceived notions of the way things should work. When you come into this with virgin eyes and ears, you really have no idea how it is supposed to look," explains Nale. "I came in with a software outlook. I didn't have a preconceived notion as to what self-storage software should do. Chris gave us the reins and let us go to come up with our ideas on what a self-storage program should do."

Both Capozzoli and Nale believe Stor-Rite will provide a new way of doing things in the industry, including professional-looking reports and invoices.

"When you send out an invoice or a reminder, your sending out the image of your company and we've made some very nice-looking reports and invoicing," Capozzoli says. "Chad found out that this industry is very report-happy. They like their reports every which way and Stor-Rite gives them the flexibility to make custom reports, but with a professional look."

The pair says MicroTask received a hearty welcome at a recent tradeshow and began shipping its program last month. The company is doing all manufacturing, packaging and shipping from its Burlington, Mass. offices.

For more information on Stor-Rite, call (888) 232-3111.

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