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The Sweet Science of Storage

Teri L. Lanza Comments

The Sweet Science of Storage

Boxing enthusiasts will be familiar with the phrase “the sweet science of bruising.” Though it’s often attributed to A.J. Liebling, a sports writer for The New Yorker from 1935 to 1963, the source was actually Liebling’s literary idol Pierce Egan, writing about bare-knuckle fighting in England during the early 19th century. In either case, the expression is strangely fitting for this month’s editorial focus.

Our business and personal lives are riddled with matches, rings into which we step to pursue often minute, sometimes significant victories. We hear the bell toll, not with a Donnean sense of fatality, but as a calling to some higher mission—accomplishment. Whether you’re attempting to close a deal, build a relationship, make amends, reach some goal ... You lace up your gloves, pop in your mouth guard, and brace yourself for the first punch.

The science comes in as you run the geometry in your head, calculating angles and distances, bobbing and weaving, shuffling, sliding, balancing and redistributing weight. Every move we make in this world, whether premeditated or spontaneous, lands us somewhere. Hopefully, it’s not face down on the mat.

As storage operators and investors, you’ll recognize some of these struggles as you examine the potential risks involved in your business: natural and man-made disasters, crime, terrorism, lease loopholes, accidents, etc. Unfortunately, your stoutest opponent and lifeblood are often one and the same: the tenant. A mere blink, a slight miscalculation of movement can leave you open to liability. But if you know the rules of the game and a bit of fancy footwork, you can usually avoid sucker punches and knockouts.

Consider this month’s lineup of writers as your new coaches. They’ll teach you the defensive maneuvers you need to succeed, from how to choose an insurance agent and secure the right coverage to generating the right lease provisions and auction rules. The training may be grueling and even painful, but take it from our experts: It’s worthwhile in the long run. Sometimes you have to take a few strategic hits—and the accompanying contusions—to position your opponent for the final blow. And from time to time, endurance is enough to see the thing through.

On a related note, I’m pursuing a new title of my own. I’m not leaving ISS, but I will be passing the editor mantle to a couple of new contenders: my long-time associate Kimberly Hundley, who has worked in the industry for two years, and Drew Whitney, who managed the magazine throughout most of the ’90s. I’ll be spearheading some exciting new projects that will expand the publication’s online presence and resources; and you’ll still see me at the ISS expos, where I’ll be working to ensure the quality of our already supreme education programs.

I’ve shared my thoughts on this page for several years running; and it’ll be tough to give up the voice. But those of you who have enjoyed my insights can take pleasure in future ramblings via the soon-to-be-instituted ISS blog. Watch for it at Make sure you sign up for our free e-newsletter, too.

Now, just a few parting words of encouragement: Remember to roll with the punches. No matter what, keep your hands up. And never let ’em see you sweat. May you always be nimble in the self-storage ring—here’s to fighting the good fight.

Best of luck,
Teri L. Lanza


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