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Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs ...

It's a year of heightened political buzz, not just because of the approaching presidential election, but because the American people are aching for change. And in the midst of the emotional ferocity that surrounds momentous decisions and precipitous events, self-storage operators must ask themselves if they wish to allow candidates to post campaign signage on their properties. It seems like a simple thing, but is it?

The folks chatting about this issue on Self-Storage Talk make some very good points. The person who initiated the discussion thread says one of his managers believes such signage can only serve to alienate and discourage the customers whose candidates are not supported. Another of his managers says signs are "good advertising and support of the Americian system." Both may be true.

Forum member alexlekas suggests opening the field to all candidates to avoid charges of bias, but to also set reasonable requirements, such as allowing only one sign per candidate and limiting sign size. And he asks the very good question: "After the campaign, will folks retrieve their signs, or will that be your job?"

Storage facilities are being built in increasingly visible areas, making their frontage space highly desirable for the posting of advertisements. If you haven't already, expect to be approached by a campaign assistant regarding signage. If you wish only to endorse your own candidates, that is your choice, but keep a few things in mind.

First, if you are a manager, discuss any decisions relating to signage with your owner. While you may be comfortable drawing a line in the sand, he or she may feel differently. Second, be cognizant of the effect these choices may have on existing and prospective tenants. There's a reason we are told not to discuss religion or politics over dinner—these topics make people uncomfortable. Even defensive and agitated.

Personally, I think it's best to keep your personal beliefs at arm's length from your business. But if you must campaign, do it tastefully and respectfully. Anyone else have an opinion on the subject? Leave it on the blog or join the conversation at Self-Storage Talk.

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