Thousands of self-storage professionals from around the world convened at the sumptuous Paris Hotel & Resort in Las Vegas for the Inside Self-Storage World Expo, March 1-3.
“We are extremely grateful to the speakers, attendees and the exhibitors who joined us for this year’s show in Las Vegas,” says Troy Bix, publisher of Inside Self-Storage magazine. “There’s a lot of viability in this industry, and this was one of the most successful shows in the last few years.”
Markus Hecker, president of SMD Software Inc., called the show a “smashing success.” “Attendance and vendor participation exceeded expectations. The content was refreshing, full of ideas for navigating the challenges of our changing industry.” Hecker also noted there were many new exhibitors. “The number of new vendors underscores the changing face of our industry and foresight of ISS.”
The huge turnout stressed the sustained interest in the self-storage industry. “Our staff stayed active throughout the show, speaking with owners and developers who were interested in both new construction and facility updating,” says Ramey Jackson, vice president of sales for Janus International Inc. “We spoke with decision-makers and feel enthusiastic about potential business as a result of the show.
During the show’s first two days, self-storage owners, managers, investors, builders and vendors enjoyed seminars on a wide range of high-demand topics. Hot picks focused on marketing, financing, construction, development, sustainability, and day-to-day facility management.
“I was very impressed by the turnout and the seminars,” says Maurice Pogoda, president of Pogoda Cos. and a seminar presenter. “The topics were timely and germane to today’s market.”
First-time attendee Michelle Smith, a self-storage manager for Sure-Lock Mini Storage in Peoria, Ariz., enjoyed the presentation by Tom Litton, of Litton Property Management Inc., on grassroots marketing. “[It] was, hands down, the best presentation! Very informative and he was so enthusiastic. He kept my attention.”
Ray Wilson, president of Self Storage Data Services Inc. (SSDS), provider of self-storage operating-performance statistics, drew a crowd with his presentation on industry revenue and valuation trends.
“Knowing that commercial real estate values have declined by 40 percent or more since they peaked, self-storage owners were eager to learn just how self-storage compared,” Wilson says. “By using thousands of sales going back 25 years and the operating-performance statistics from more than 6,000 facilities nationwide, I was able to show that their investments in self-storage are much better insulated against the broader economy than other types of real estate, and their investment values have not declined nearly as much.”
On the eve of the first day, participants enjoyed a lively, interactive Q&A session with industry experts Mel Holsinger and Jim Chiswell, and then chose from a selection of 30 roundtable discussions.
“All in all, the energy, the ideas flowing and the variety of people made it the best industry tradeshow conference I've attended to date,” said Gina Six Kudo, manager of Cochrane Road Self Storage in Morgan Hill, Calif.
The exhibit hall opened on March 2 with more than 150 exhibitors displaying self-storage products and services. Companies included developers and builders, brokers, financiers, insurance experts, door manufacturers, software vendors and many others. “In these times it was an immense relief to see the renewed upbeat interest in the storage industry,” says Randy Vander Hill, owner and president of AJAY Equipment Corp.
Industry veteran Charles “Chip” Cordes said the ISS Expo was everything he’d hoped it would be. “It was clearly evident the amount of time, effort and marketing the ISS staff put in to making it another success,” says Cordes, partner of Summit Construction Group.
Many vendors agreed optimism reigned on the tradeshow floor. “Booth traffic was strong and the attendees were there to gather information, ask good questions and make decisions,” says John Bilton, vice president of business development and marketing for Centershift Inc.
A cocktail reception, co-sponsored by DAI General Contracting, Janus International and Mako Steel Inc., was held the second evening with hundreds in attendance. Vendors, presenters and attendees mingled while enjoying drinks and food.
Exhibit hours continued the following day, along with the popular real estate-related Buyers and Sellers Meeting. Many attendees also registered for one of three intensive workshops: Management Workshop, Marketing and Sales Boot Camp or Developers Seminar.
“I really got a lot out of the Management Workshop,” says Beverly Docktor, manager of All American Self Storage, Palmdale, Calif. “I've already changed some of the things that I say and do. Overall, what I got out of the workshop is worth more than I paid for it.”
Next Stop: New Orleans
The next ISS Expo will take place in New Orleans, Sept. 29-Oct. 1, at the New Orleans Marriott, 555 Canal St. The superlative education program will feature the industry’s top consultants, developers, marketers and online experts addressing topics such as management, marketing, financing and more. The fall show will also feature two days of exhibits, add-on workshops, a Technology Marketplace and more. Show information can be found at www.insideselfstorageworldexpo.comand will be expanded as details unfold.