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Audit Gives Thumbs Up to Centershift’s Controls
Centershift, a provider of web-based management software for the self-storage industry, successfully completed a Statement on Auditing Standards No. 70 (SAS 70), which examined the company and its STORE application. The audit, performed by Grant Thornton, was conducted over a six-month period and tested the operating effectiveness of STORE’S general controls as they relate to financial transactions and security.
A successful SAS 70 signifies that a company has had its control objectives and activities examined by an independent accounting and auditing firm.
“We are the first software company in the self-storage industry to successfully complete an SAS 70,” said Terry Bagley, president and CEO. “Our clients now have credible assurance they can use our application with confidence, and that we fully support our publicly held clients’ Sarbanes-Oxley requirements.”
STORE features tools for transaction handling, reporting, data integration, and rate and yield management. It also provides real-time data access, enabling users to securely monitor and perform transactions from any Internet connection. Info: www.centershift.com
ISS Introduces ‘The Puzzler’
A new feature appears inside this issue of Inside Self-Storage: a crossword puzzle tailored to the storage industry. The puzzle includes several self-storage specific terms and company names that complement the magazine’s monthly theme. The crossword will be located on the last editorial page of the magazine. Readers who successfully complete the crossword may enter a drawing to win a deluxe “I love the ISS Vegas Expo” poker set. See the puzzle on page 168 for details.
“We hope our readers enjoy this added touch of fun,” says ISS Editor Kimberly Hundley. “Be forewarned, the puzzle isn’t that easy. It took me quite a while to finish it—and I provided some of the clues to the writer.”
The puzzle is created by Myles Mellor, an internationally published crossword writer who specializes in themed crosswords for magazines and newspapers. His puzzles reach more than a million readers monthly.
Buchanan Partners With RBC Capital Markets
Buchanan Storage Capital joined forces with the Real Estate Mortgage Capital Division of RBC Capital Markets to provide commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) for the self-storage industry. RBC will finance storage properties through Buchanan and, in exchange, receives first right of refusal on all of Buchanan’s CMBS storage loans.
During the first 60 days of operation, the partnership has quoted and secured more than $50 million in self-storage financing, and recently closed its first two loans, totaling $13 million.
The new venture, Buchanan Fixed Rate Direct, was developed with the aim of providing self-storage owners with high-quality customer service, direct access to decision-makers and faster closings. Though the venture is new, both companies are well versed in CMBS financing, and BSC will continue to provide its range of lending options. The company still plans to continue working with other banks and financial institutions for self-storage properties in need of balance sheet or lending other than CMBS. Info: www.buchananstoragecapital.com
Extra Space and Zippi Networks Test eBay Consignment Kiosks
Extra Space Storage Inc., one of the country’s largest self-storage operators, and Zippi Networks Inc., an eBay service provider, are testing self-service consignment kiosks in 10 of the storage company’s California locations. The kiosks will allow Zippi to set up “drop-off stations” where consumers can bring merchandise for preparation and sale on eBay. Following a successful pilot period, the companies will decide how to expand the program nationwide.
Zippi’s strategy for encouraging eBay sellers—who are out numbered by buyers 10 to 1—includes several branch locations, an affiliate sales network, product drop-off stations and a franchise opportunity. According to Zippi CEO Robert Rositano Jr., the company’s goal is a resurgence of the eBay seller community. Info: www.zippi.com, www.extraspace.com
Simply Self Storage Tops Private-Owner List
Simply Self Storage acquired a 48-property portfolio from EZ Storage in November, making it one of the largest privately owned self-storage companies in the United States. The acquisition comprises 3.7 million rentable square feet in Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island.
The company has been steadily acquiring properties throughout 2006. In August, the Orlando, Fla.-based company bought a 29-property portfolio consisting of 1.6 million square feet from All Seasons Storage Trust and a four-property, $64 million portfolio in Puerto Rico. More facilities are under contract, according to Simply Self Storage, which is owned by OB Companies. Info: www.obcompanies.com
ISS Vegas Expo: ‘Your Best Deal, Bar None’;
Pre-Registration Discounts Still Offered
Registration is under way for the self-storage industry’s biggest tradeshow and educational event, the ISS Vegas Expo, Feb. 20-23, at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.
“What if you were guaranteed a winning deal for your education dollars?” asks Dana Hicks, tradeshow director. “We hope industry professionals compare us to other conferences out there, because we’re your best deal, bar none. You’ll find we have double the seminars, 25 percent more exhibitors, and registration savings up to 43 percent.”
The pre-registration prices listed below are still available:
- Gold Package (includes Management Workshop, keynote presentation, educational seminars, vendor presentations, workbook, expo hall pass and cocktail reception): $545
- Silver Package (includes everything but Management Workshop): $365
- Management Workshop: $250
The Expo also offers two special seminars tailored for developers and investors. Registration fees include a workbook, lunch, vendor presentations, an expo-hall pass and the cocktail reception:
- The Developer’s Seminar, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Feb. 20, teaches the critical aspects of developing a facility, including site selection, feasibility, construction and site management.
- How to Invest in Self-Storage,8 a.m. to noon, Feb. 22, covers the “how to” of purchasing an existing storage facility, performing due diligence, determining property condition, and price negotiation.
To register, visit www.insideselfstorage.com/expo or call 866.230.2311.
Universal Insurance Introduces Pollution Insurance Coverage
Universal Insurance Facilities introduces a new insurance product to the self-storage industry, providing coverage for onsite cleanup and legal liability—including legal expense and defense—for pollution conditions. Coverage will be available to eligible self-storage facilities nationwide. The policy is underwritten by an insurance company rated A+15 by A.M. Best.
The new coverage addresses concerns of self-storage owners worried about units being used as meth labs or for other toxic waste disposal. According the company, pollution conditions are defined as the “discharge, dispersal, release or escape of any solid, liquid, gaseous or thermal irritant or contaminant, including but not limited to smoke, vapors, soot, fumes, acids, alkalis, toxic chemicals, medical waste and waste materials … not naturally present in the environment in the amounts or concentrations discovered.”
Pollution legal liability insurance provided by Universal will provide protection not readily available to the self-storage industry, offering facility owners an insurance solution to unforeseen hazards. Info: 800.844.2101, www.universalinsuranceltd.com