|The Inside Scoop|
Self-Storage Operators Get Into the Spirit of Halloween
Growing up in New England, I developed a concentrated almost mystical sentiment around the fall season, most particularly the month of October, which brings crisp, Autumn air, mottled grey skies, a rain of vivacious foliage and, of course, Halloween. It was always a thrilling time of year, filled with exhilaration. For communities in that region, the holiday represented an opportunity for festivity and lively interaction with others, whether you were at school, a local business or your neighbor’s house.
Living now in the Phoenix area, I am annually disenchanted, not only by the lack of seasonal change, but the sheer lack of community enthusiasm around this holiday. Yards often stand bereft of decoration, and very few businesses or organizations take advantage of what I believe to be one of the best marketing and community-outreach opportunities of the year.
So it pleases me, each October, to recognize self-storage operators who embrace Halloween and participate in the frightful fun of this event. Perhaps the following callouts will give others of you ideas for future campaigns.
Props to Michelle Dye of Affordable Storage Solutions in Pueblo, Colo., whose facility hosts a free event called the "Sp00ktakular Jr. Creepers Carnival." She recently shared with members of the Self-Storage Talk online community that she and her co-workers are turning a ground-floor climate-controlled unit into a “not-so-scary haunted house,” which will delight about 20 local children. She and her assistant manager act out a safety-themed skit as the Wicked Witch and Snow White. Other activities include carnival games and face-painting. Local businesses donate snacks, candy and manpower. It’s the facility’s big annual event.
“I believe that you just have to give back to the community that supports you, and I want the community to think of our facility whenever and if ever they think of storage,” wrote Michelle in her post. There are five other self-storage facilities within a five-mile radius of Affordable Storage Solutions, and yet Michelle says they do very little by way of community outreach. She has never even encountered another storage manager at a chamber of commerce function. She really has a corner on that market. “And besides, if you aren't having some fun at work, you’re in the wrong business!” That’s Michelle’s philosophy. She’s on to something there.
I’d also like to give a shout out to Storage Express of Lancaster, Calif. Facility managers Sandi Zornes and Yesenia Valencia recently sent a Halloween-themed e-mail to customers and prospects, complete with spider webs and a black cat. The message? The facility is giving away free pumpkins to anyone who stops by for a facility tour during the month of October. There’s also a “scary special”: All storage units enjoy free rent for the first month when rented this month.
Other facilities, like LifeStorage of Elgin, Ill., are supporting events that aim to create a safe Halloween environment for children. On Saturday afternoon, LifeStorage will participate in Trunk-or-Treat, during which kids can partake of candy and games from the trunks of dozens of decorated vehicles and enjoy face painting, fall food and live music. LifeStorage Elgin facility managers Susan Powers and Paul Menzel will provide candy and company-branded bottles of bubbles. They’ll also decorate the facility’s moving truck with a family-friendly autumn theme.
“Anytime you can reach out to the community, kids, or the elderly, it's a wonderful opportunity to connect with others and help out,” said Powers. “The more we are able to be a part of events like this, it just reminds everyone that we do care about our community, that we're a business that takes an active roll in participating and giving back, and we can have some fun while doing it.”
Even if Halloween “isn’t your thing,” as a business manager or owner, you must concede that it may be a “thing” for your customers. The holiday will come whether or not you partake, so why not make the most of a unique marketing opportunity? Simple efforts like displaying pumpkins and hay bales or offering a bowl of treats on your office counter cost very little time and money and will help to liven up the joint. And most visitors will dig on the cheerful (or creepy) atmosphere.
If you are hosting a Halloween event or running a fall-themed promotion at your self-storage facility, please share it with us here on the blog. Have you participated in a festival, party, fair, etc., that worked out particularly well for you? Also feel free to share any concerns or experiences you have relating to Halloween safety, as that’s also a part of the equation. It’s a holiday that does tend to bring out the mischief in folks.
Halloween is only three days away, but it’s not too late to put on a positive spin and garner a little public buzz for your facility. Be safe, have fun, and most of all, make it a terrific day for customers.
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