Revisiting This Year’s Self-Storage Triumphs and Challenges
Although 2010 was a fascinating year, I’d bet most of us would not care to relive it. On Self-Storage Talk and from the news posts on the ISS website, self-storage operators experienced fires, floods, snowstorms, hurricanes, burglaries, downturns and failures, but also giving, sharing, caring, compassion and successes, plus the outrageous, incredible, awesome, outlandish, puzzling and uplifting. Just a few of the words that barely scratch the surface of describing the year we’ve had in our industry.
Take the most recent PR related to TV’s Storage Wars, the fires several facilities suffered, the devastating flooding in Nashville, the tinder dry-fire season in the West or the blizzard of 2010. Next toss in topics such as staffing, search-engine optimization, wages, social-media marketing, legal issues, imminent domain, foreclosures and record unemployment and you can see 2010 has been quite eventful.
We saw occupancies continue to plummet, while delinquencies climbed. Some storage facilities failed, others thrived, most simply survived. Together we’ve experienced triumphs and tragedies, but through it all, the self-storage industry still ranks high among the most “recession-proof” industries.
On Self-Storage Talk, there have been passionate discussions, some tears and a lot of laughter. We’ve seen our humble forum grow by leaps and bounds in 2010. No matter what your favorite memory of 2010, I’m sure you probably remember a few of the topics below:
- Self Storage and Bettie Page
- The green movement
- Wow, here’s a fun lawsuit
- Steady Eddie
- Earthquake in Haiti
- Gulf oil spill
- Wages and salaries
- The press release that sent our editor over the edge
- The new ISS website
- 10% + unemployment rates
- July’s goal of 3,000 registered users of SST (accomplished in May)
- Here comes a drag queen
- The $50 raffle for dinner & a movie
- Being aware—a life saved
- Politics and implications to self-storage
- 776 users at one time on the forum in June
- Cell towers
- Social media meets ISS World Expo
- $50 raffle prize for Ticketmaster
- Your lease is up in Hawaii
- The bed bug invasion
- The new revised ISS website
- Tenant scams
- John and Bob debating the merits of Ohio State
- The new ISS website goes mobile
- Self-storage qualifies for SBA loans
- State purchases storage facility
- Storage on military bases
- Security and customer privacy issues
- Controversial sign messages
- $50 raffle prize for an Amazon gift card
- The power of SST at work
I spent several days re-reading the 2010 threads on SST, browsing through the news items on ISS and generally speed reading through so much I had surprisingly already forgotten. Many of the posts brought tears to my eyes; we’ve all been through so much together this past year. At the end of 2009, we wished for a brighter 2010. While there have been hints of light on the horizon, 2010 has still been a rough year for most of us.
All I can say with certainty about 2011 is this: on a day when a pick-me-up is needed, you’ll all be here with wit and humor, or sympathy and compassion as is needed. When things are going great, you’ll be here to share in each others' accomplishments. We've lauded each others’ successes and helped fallen comrades pick themselves back up with a renewed heart, and I have no doubt this compassionate group will continue in this vein.
I can't think of a finer group of people to be associated with than you, the members, readers and staff of Inside Self Storage and SelfStorageTalk.com. Thank you for all you’ve contributed to my growing and learning, and for the support you've shown me. I know that along the way we each have had a positive impact on someone else based on the caring and compassion I’ve just re-read. With a track record like ours, 2011 will continue to shine, at least in our little corner of the world. May the New Year find you safe, warm, happy and full of life’s blessings.
Gina Six Kudo is the general manager of Cochrane Road Self Storage in Morgan Hill, Calif. She has more than 15 years of self-storage experience, and a strong customer-service and sales background.