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Teri Lanza

Teri Lanza
Editorial Director
tlanza@vpico.com

Lots of Irons at the Self-Storage Fire: Tools in Craft at ISS

By Teri Lanza Comments
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The Arizona summer heat is so intolerably oppressive that sometimes the only way to bear it is to reimagine it in romantic, mythical terms. When I’m outside doing yard work in the 100-plus-degree temps, whining to myself like a little namby-pamby, I tell myself the discomfort must pale in comparison to, say, the conditions surrounding a historic blacksmith forge, before the days of air conditioning and Jamba Juice.

So then I envisage myself, tongs and hammer in hand, walloping away at some molten object over the face of an anvil. Maybe a sword or some heavy chain or a pitch fork. That’s far more exhilarating than pulling weeds out of my Apache pink granite and trimming back the Texas Sage. Put in the context of that scenario, the heat is somehow endurable. I mean, let’s face it: Smithing is one of the original badass trades of the world. I don’t know a lot about it; but if I had the skill, I like to think I’d be more fixated on my sheer power than a wee bit of 1400 degree warmth. Pish posh.

So what if the art of the smith has largely fallen by the wayside of modern manufacturing, rarely encountered outside the occasional Renaissance festival or artisan fair? The industry continues to influence modern society in many ways, for example, our language.  Expressions like “strike while the iron is hot,” “too many irons in the fire,” “that has a nice ring to it,” “forge a head,” and “to lose one’s temper” all harken back to this venerable profession.

People often use the phrase “irons in the fire” to insinuate one has bitten off more than he can chew. But it can also simply mean you have a lot of projects going on at once, and that certainly is the case for us at ISS this summer. We’ve been busy at the forge, crafting useful tools for industry professionals. Check out this list and see how they can be of service to you.

  • The ISS 2014 Buyer's Guide is now available online and is hitting mailboxes this week as part of the magazine's August 2014 edition. If you’re in the market for any self-storage products or services, this comprehensive guide will help you find what you’re looking for and contact the vendors who sell it.
     
  • Voting for the 2014 Best of Business reader-choice poll closed at the end of June, and the winners will be announced on Aug. 1. This list will show you who your peers rate as the best suppliers in 35 product and service categories (another useful tool if you have purchases to make in the months ahead).
     
  • Data collection is underway for the ISS 2014 Top-Operators List, which ultimately reveals 100 of the industry’s most successful companies. If you own or manage multiple facilities and would like to be considered for inclusion, please complete the online form by July 25.
     
  • We’ve just released our annual Boat/RV-Storage Digital Issue, which contains in-depth articles on designing, building and operating boat/RV-storage space. Whether your facility is exclusively dedicated to vehicle storage or you offer this service in tandem with traditional self-storage, you don’t want to miss this free issue. Download your free copy now.
     
  • ISS and Extra Space Storage have just released a new whitepaper that provides a case study and some helpful advice on choosing a third-party management company. Get your copy here.
     
  • We recently released a new podcast featuring Rick Dodge, executive vice president of Paramount Metal Systems, who takes a look at the booming development and construction market. He talks about whether it’s better to buy an existing self-storage facility or commit to a conversion project or ground-up construction. He also discusses tips and common mistakes new developers should consider when dealing with city officials and local residents.
     
  • The ISS Store is happy to announce its new "Self-Storage Tenant Exit-Survey Package," designed to help operators better understand why tenants move out and stay engaged with those who leave on good terms. In addition, all 31 of the education sessions recorded during this year's ISS World Expo in Las Vegas are now available as on-demand video. These make excellent staff refreshers and training tools.
     
  • Last but not least, ISS just announced a new two-day Owner/Investor Executive Symposium, which will take place Sept. 23-24 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers in Chicago. Day one will be an intensive operational seminar presented by industry expert Bob Copper. It will cover industry principles and best practices designed to help operators run an efficient, profitable business. Day 2 will be a Developers Conference, which will provide expert insight to ground-up construction, conversions and remodeling projects. The symposium is still in the planning phases, but details will be revealed on the website soon.

As you can see, we’re just hammering away, shaping raw information into pragmatic resources you can use in the operation of your self-storage business. Have any questions or comments about the above programs? You can post them in the comments box below. I hope you take advantage of these great tools while you can. You know … strike while the iron is hot!

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