If I said that we'd witnessed dramatic changes in the self-storage industry over the past year, that owners and developers are fearful of a downturn, and that 2000 is clouded with uncertainty, would you believe me? Good. Don't. It isn't nearly the case, and besides, pessimism is not the most fruitful state of mind.
After speaking with many of this industry's experts, attempting to predict whether the generally prosperous climate of self-storage will continue throughout the upcoming year, what I've got is a lot of conservative responses--and rightly so. The industry that was so hard-hit at the beginning of the decade has evolved considerably--well-recognized now by Wall Street, commonplace among American households, accepted by businesses as a viable solution to dilemmas of space requirements. But as one insider put it, "I thought two years ago things couldn't get any better. But they have. The question now is, how long will it last?"
While it doesn't appear that participants in self-storage are waiting with baited breath for a shocking turn of events, they are cautious in their enthusiasm for future success. What trends and changes may occur in 2000? Refer to the "State of the Industry Report," to read what is foreseen by the experts in this field.
What is certain for the upcoming year is that you as an owner, operator or manager of self-storage, will be faced with many of the same issues that have plagued you in the past: providing optimum customer service, increasing your bottom line, maintaining awareness of legal pitfalls, etc. For example, how many of you have made pains to ensure your facility is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act? If you haven't, you should. It's certain to become a greater issue for businesses in upcoming years. Scott Zucker explains how the ADA relates specifically to self-storage. And William and Patti Feldman demonstrate the potential contribution of occupant-responsive lighting controls to the safety of your facility, as well as your bottom line. Think how that may tie in to your ADA requirements, also.
Finally, we hope to be seeing you all at the biggest tradeshow in the business next month, Feb. 2-4, at the Rio Suite Resort & Hotel in Las Vegas. Not only will you be made privy to the latest products and services in the industry, but you'll have access to some phenomenal education seminars and networking opportunities. We'd also like to announce that the Grand Ole Opry Hotel in Nashville, Tenn., will serve as our Eastern hub tradeshow location in 2000--a development we're extremely excited about. See this issue for some tips on getting the most out of a tradeshow event, and don't forget to stop by our booth. We always look forward to meeting our readers and gathering feedback for future issues.
Best wishes for the new year,
Teri L. Lanza