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Teri Lanza

Teri Lanza
Editorial Director
tlanza@vpico.com

Shopping for Self-Storage Products and Services in a Google Age

By Teri Lanza Comments
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Last weekend my husband and I took an overnight excursion to Tucson, Ariz., to attend a special event. Any time we travel to The Old Pueblo, we stay at the Hotel Congress, a historic landmark known for being the site of capture of bank robber John Dillinger in 1934. The hotel prides itself on maintaining its retro styling, and that includes two remarkable mahogany phone booths in its lobby. I chortled to myself during check-in as someone actually came to the desk and requested use of the phone book.

It's difficult to imagine a time when locating a product or service involved flipping through the Yellow Pages, calling information or perusing the storefronts of your local Main St. shopping center. Thanks to search engines, it's now so ridiculously simple to find pretty much anything you could need or desire that one has to wonder why a business like Inside Self-Storage would continue to publish an annual Buyer's Guide.

And yet our audience continues to call for it. Readers like the convenience of an industry-specific directory, one that allows them to search for self-storage products and services in a single place, sorting by name, category or location. It facilitates comparison shopping and allows them to get a broad overview off the supplier landscape without having to sift through dozens of Web pages.

Each year, the guide includes hundreds of vendors in all segments of the business. Categories include headings you would expect like metal buildings, third-party management services, security systems, retail product and business insurance; but it also includes some highly specialized niches such as bollard covers, cost segregation, tenant-protection programs and signage. This year we've added new categories including unit amenities, charitable organizations, online communities, mobile apps and several others.

We've just started data collection for our 2013 guide, and we'd like your help in making it the most valuable resource available. Take a look at the existing guide and let us know if there are other categories we should consider. Is there a product or service you've ever needed or used and don't see represented on the list?

Then go ahead and open a listing, any listing. Let's say, for example, the listing for the ISS Store. You'll see the company name and mailing address, phone number, 800 number, fax number, contact name and e-mail address, a Web address and a description of products and services. What other information would you like to know about the company? What would help you make better purchasing decisions?

Of course, you can always do a Google search for anything you might need, like an access keypad or mystery-shopping services or manager-training programs. But the ISS Buyer's Guide lets you find these offerings quickly and easily, without the rules of SEO deciding which companies you find first. We hope you find it a useful tool, both in print (look for the new version in the August 2013 issue of ISS magazine) or at insideselfstorage.com. And please let us know your suggestions for expanding and improving the guide to best suit your needs.

If you're a supplier who has been published in a previous version, please make sure you update your listing for the new guide as soon as possible. Or submit a new listing if your company is new to the industry. We welcome any and all vendors who serve the self-storage community.

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