Bon Jour

May 1, 2001

2 Min Read
Bon Jour

Bon Jour

I don't actually speak more than eight words in French, but having justreturned from Brussels, Belgium, where a large portion of the population isFrench-speaking, I am now inspired to learn more. Brussels was the site chosenby the Self Storage Association of UK and Europe for its annual conference andtradeshow, March 8-10. It's a fantastical city with gorgeous architecture--andthe best chocolate-covered waffles I've ever tasted.

With large companies such as Shurgard and Devon Self Storage concentratingtheir efforts on European development, the attention of other developers isbeing drawn over the Atlantic as well. Facilities are sprouting throughout theUK, Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Belgium and France. And industrysuppliers are quickly seizing the opportunity to distribute product throughoutthese unpermeated areas. Shifting our focus to include overseas expansion seemsto be the next natural phase in self-storage evolution.

But on the homefront, there are plenty of companies--independents and chainsalike--working to fine-tune their operations and optimize profits. This effortis greatly simplified by advances in automation, and with more than 20 companiesoffering software packages specifically tailored to self-storage management andaccounting, an owner or manager should have no difficulty finding a program tosuit his needs. On page 24, you'll read about the latest software features, tipson purchasing and the future trend toward web-based systems. You'll also findprofiles of 16 different vendors, complete with contact information andsummaries of their products and services.

This month you'll also read Douglas Olson's summary of the Phase Ienvironmental site assessment, which may be required of you by your lenderduring the initial phases of financing (see page 46). Starting on page 52, JimOakley explains how to simply and clearly demonstrate profitability to yourlender at the outset of your self-storage project. And Claude and GregoryHawkins emphasize the importance of training on page 78, saying employees mustbecome comfortable with the mechanics of your operation before they produce theresults you expect.

Inside Self-Storage is in the process of compiling articles and informationfor a supplement publication it will be distributing to overseas owners anddevelopers in June: ISS Europe. Keep watch in upcoming issues for features onself-storage projects in Italy, the Paris market, the European association andmore. Let's see where this all leads us.

And for those of you who have never travelled to Europe, I'll impart just afew little pieces of advice based on my recent experience: Don't exchangecurrency at the airport or train station (you'll get a horrible rate). Don'twear high-heeled shoes (the cobblestone streets are treacherous!). Takeadvantage of the train system to see as much as you can (Major cities such asBrussels, Paris, London and Amsterdam are all within mere hours of each other).And watch out for swiftly closing doors on the subway car (you'll never see themcoming!).

Au revoir,

Teri L. Lanza
Editor
[email protected]



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