Uncle Bob’s Self Storage is celebrating the its 25th anniversary in the self-storage industry. The national chain is owned by Sovran Self Storage Inc., a real estate investment trust.
The company’s founders broke ground on its first self-storage facility in 1985. “At that time, self-storage was still in its infancy,” said CEO Robert J. Attea. “We saw it as a tremendous opportunity for us to not only enter but define a promising new industry.”
Today, Uncle Bob’s is the fourth largest self-storage operator in the United States, employing more than 1,000 people in 24 states.
David Paolini, who joined the company in 1983 and is now vice president of revenue management, recalled the company’s humble start in technology. “We would do our acquisition analysis on the storage facilities with two IBM PCs that ran 5.25-inch floppy drives and a dot-matrix printer. I remember calculations took 11 minutes to complete for every change. We were excited about an upgrade that reduced that time to nine minutes!”
Today, Uncle Bob’s has hundreds of networked PCs, two data centers, and uses a revenue-management system to manage rates for all 200,000 storage units. Further, the company enjoys a centralized customer-care center that employs trained salespeople who handle reservations for the company’s 371 facilities. The properties offer amenities such as computerized access systems and surveillance cameras as well as the company’s Dri-guard dehumidified storage units.
“In the late 80s, a typical storage facility was characterized by a small rental office, a manual gate surrounding the facility, and caretaker-type management,” said Ed Killeen, executive vice president. “We now have greater expectations of ourselves and our teams, holding everyone to much higher standards.”