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Pretty Little Profit Centers

Amy Campbell

August 1, 2007

3 Min Read
Pretty Little Profit Centers

Back from Reno this week, and there's no rest for the wicked. We're up and running with plans for the ISS Vegas Expo, and we're building to a crescendo on our fall specialty publications, most notably the annual Factbook. It's non-stop rockin' for the ISS team between now and November 15thbe still, my trembling keyboard.

But the focus right now is our October issue, entering production next week, which focuses on profit centers for self-storage. We used to refer to this as the "Ancillary Products & Services" issue, but that phrase no longer delivers the right message. All those sideline businesses we used to consider as extras are now almost mandatory for survival in some storage markets. Records storage, business services, mailing and shipping, high-security vaults, notary services, cell-tower leases ... Slowly, slowly these add-ons become more essential to industry success.

But it's not just storage facing the need to exceed. Businesses of all types are expanding to more customer-centric models, even to the extreme. For example, I recently received a mailer from a local car dealership, Big Two Toyota/Scion of Chandler, Ariz. This eight-page, four-color glossy brochure details the features of its new facility. The place is like a resort, and I'm not exaggerating.

The collateral cover displays an image of a fantasy-like playroom for kids, complete with synthetic trees and a Viking-style ship. "Entering Unchartered Waters," it says. "On a voyage to discover the future of dealerships." And the next several pages describe the treasures to be found ...

The complex includes five lifestyle-themed showrooms; a cafe serving gourmet coffee, sandwiches and salads; a Wi-Fi Internet center; and three elegantly appointed guest lounges with big-screen TVs. But that's hardly all. There's also a massage salon, a professional barber and shoe-shine shop, and even a manicure/pedicure salon. The whole kittencaboodle is designed to look like quaint cobblestone street. I've never seen a dealership like it, have you?

You'll want to take a tip from these guys, as this is the direction the storage industry is going, too. I'm not saying you'll be hiring nail technicians to work out of your office or barbers to cut hair in unit 22. But you will need to have this big-picture, fantasy-fulfillment mentality when it comes to luring customers. Think I'm going over board? Just wait and see. There are already storage facilities incorporating gift shops, cafes, Internet lounges and wildly diverse retail product to their offerings.

Stick with us in the coming months, as we identify and cover the inventive and sometimes downright wacky things storage operators from coast to coastand some overseasare doing to attract business. And if you've got a story or idea to share, please post it to the blog.

On a personal note, I'll be out of the office for a couple of days attending the annual "It's a Pyrate's Life" party in San Diego. That's right. I'll be taking seminars on sword-fighting, swilling and swearing to boot (not that I really need help in any of those areas). I'll let you know how that goes, mateys, and maybe post some pics.

About the Author(s)

Amy Campbell

Editor, Inside Self Storage

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