Inside Self-Storage talks with self-storage expert and veteran Bob Schoff about the general state of the industry, where the business is headed over the next five years, the legislative endeavors of the national Self Storage Association, and plans for his company, National Self Storage.
Robert “Bob” Schoff knows more than a thing or two about the self-storage industry, having entered the business in 1974. Thirty-five years later, he’s not only the president and chairman of the board for National Self Storage (NSS), he serves as chairman on the Self Storage Association Board of Directors and is the immediate-past president of the Arizona Self Storage Association.
Bob began his self-storage career as the city manager for Tucson Self Storage, an investment partnership sponsored by his brother, Michael, and partner, David Mackstaller, as part of real estate development company The Schomac Group. By 1976, he was managing seven facilities comprising 360,000 rentable square feet. From 1978 to 1980, he worked for Phoenix-based Mini-Storage Insurance Corp. (now MiniCo Inc.), where he coordinated sales, advertising and accounting, and held an insurance-sales license.
In October 1980, Bob was recruited by NSS to become its vice president in charge of operations, responsible for facilities in Denver, El Paso, Texas, Sacramento, Calif., Salt Lake City, and Tucson, Ariz. He was promoted to president in 1986, overseeing the acquisition and development of more than 30 facilities during that period of strong growth. He left the company in 1989 to work as an independent self-storage consultant, but rejoined the company in 1991 to coordinate its consulting and contract-management divisions. He was re-elected as president in 1994.
1. Let’s start with an industry “snapshot.” What do you feel is the general health and status of the self-storage industry in today’s struggling economy?