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On The Move Announces New President, CEO

Susan Nash of On The Move Inc., which provides commercial trucks for lease, vehicle graphics and vehicle insurance to self-storage and other businesses, has been promoted from executive vice president to president and CEO. Nash was one of the company’s founders in 1991.
 
Former president and CEO Mark Ulfig has decided to return to his career in the automotive industry.

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Ballard to Present Free Webinar on Self-Storage Marketing

Anne Ballard, aka “The Hat Lady,” president and founder of Universal Management Co., will present a free webinar about self-storage marketing on Dec. 17.  The online seminar will disclose facility-marketing techniques and step-by-step marketing instructions. Ballard will guide attendees in telling a facility’s “story” and provide practical solutions for improving a self-storage site’s performance. She’ll teach a real-time process to help facility operators maximize their marketing and provide and A-to-Z guide for marketing, management and team motivation.
 
Ballard is a renowned expert in self-storage facility management, often recognized for her distinctive headwear. Her webinar, "The Hat Lady Speaks: Marketing Self-Storage,” will take place at 1 p.m. ET. To register, visit Ministoragemessenger.com.
 
Ballard is a regular contributor to Inside Self-Storage magazine and other industry publications and is a regular presenter at the Inside Self-Storage World Expo. Ballard will present a seminar titled “Tenant Screening, Crime Prevention and Dealing With the Media” at the ISS Expo in Las Vegas, March 1-3, 2010. For show details, visit www.insideselfstorageworldexpo.com.
 
Ballard founded Universal more than 15 years ago. The company specializes in full-service management, design, marketing, development services, feasibility studies, global consulting and training for self-storage facilities.

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World Assurance Group Chooses Developer for Tacoma Self-Storage Site

Tech Fast Metal Systems Inc. will develop the self-storage site World Assurance Group intends to acquire in Tacoma, Wash.
 
Through its subsidiary, ANAV Holdings Corp., WAG has purchased a 45 percent interest in the project. The company is projecting $11,364 a month for its investment, with $1,364,497 in equity. This works out to an 11.6 percent return on cash and an 113.7 percent uplift on value, excluding cash-on-cash.
 
"This is the first of our income producing investments in a highly successful sector. The storage facility sector may be a continuous revenue stream for ANAV, and we look forward to growing the investment side of our business and acquiring similar types of investments," said Jonathan Morgan, president of WAG.
 
Tech Fast has been building self-storage facilities for 20 years. The company has completed more than 2,500 projects throughout North America totaling more than 33 million square feet.
 
Source: Yahoo! Finance, World Assurance Group (WDAS.OTC) Subsidiary Anav Holdings Corporation Announces Forecast for Tech Fast Project

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National Portable Storage Association Offers New Member Benefit

The National Portable Storage Association (NPSA), a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the portable-storage industry, is offering a complimentary digital copy of Mobile Self-Storage Magazine to its members as a new benefit. The magazine is a quarterly publication written specifically for mobile-storage professionals, produced by MiniCo Publishing.

NPSA serves professionals in the portable-storage industry who rent, sell or lease containers, trailers and mobile offices. The group assists members with industry, regulatory and workforce issues. It also offers networking, marketing and legislative support at the national, state and local level.

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North Carolina Self Storage Association Elects 2010 Officers, Directors

The North Carolina Self Storage Association (NCSSA) elected the following directors during the group’s annual membership meeting on Oct. 13 at the Southeastern Self Storage Convention and Tradeshow in Wilmington, N.C.:

  • Richard Becker, Proven Management Services, Iron Station
  • Shelley Bhatia, Ultimate Storage Company, Cary
  • Robert High, Robert High Properties, Wilmington
  • Janey Lane, Lampe Management Co., Smithfield
  • Patti Thomas, All About Storage, Concord 

Board members continuing for a second year of a three-year term include:

  • Stephen Emmons, Triple SSS Inc., Mooresville
  • Eric Gilbert, Moore and Johnson Insurance Agency, Raleigh
  • Robert P. Hukill, Grandbridge Real Estate Capital, Raleigh
  • Eddie Johnson, Watson & Taylor Management Inc., Winston-Salem
  • Franklin McLeod, American Self Storage, Raleigh

Board members continuing for a third year of a three-year term include:

  • John Bayne, Sperry Van Ness, Cornelius
  • Sarah Bradley, Southside Storage, Mebane
  • Mark Burgeson, Durham
  • Markus Hecker, SMD Software/SiteLink, Raleigh
  • Shannon Monroe, BETCO Inc., High Point 

The selected officers for 2010:

  • Eddie Johnson, president
  • Shelley Bhatia, vice president
  • Gilbert, secretary
  • Patti Thomas, treasurer

NCSSA's mission is to provide its members with quality standards, proper guidance, networking opportunities and credibility for the self-storage industry. Members include facility owners, operators, developers, investors, managers and suppliers.

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Police Seize Hashish From South Africa Self-Storage Facility

This week South Africa police seized approximately $26.4 million worth of hashish (202 million rand) from a self-storage facility in Zesfontein, Gauteng. The drugs were found during an October anti-crime operation by the North Rand organized crime unit, according to an article in the Independent Online. Police put the storage facility under surveillance, hoping the owners of the drugs would return. They seized the 2,244 bricks of hash when it became clear no one was going to collect them. A police spokesperson said it looked as if the shipment came from Afghanistan.

Source: Independent Online, Police seize hashish worth R202m

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Quality Self Storage of Fort Myers Hosts Chamber Business Event

On Nov. 5, Quality Self Storage in Fort Myers, Fla., will host a Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours event. Admission is $5 for chamber members and non-members. Hors d'oeuvres will be provided by Pincher's Crab Shack.
 
Any member who brings a potential member as a guest will be allowed to speak for five minutes at the December 2009 monthly luncheon and membership meeting.
 
Source: North Fort Myers Neighbor, Chamber After Hours Thursday

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Georgia Uncle Bobs Storage Robbed at Gunpoint

Police are looking for two men suspected of robbing an Uncle Bob’s Storage facility Monday in Marietta, Ga.

Ingestigators say the men entered the self-storage facility’s office about 4:30 p.m. After speaking briefly with the self-storage manager, one of the men pulled out a silver handgun and demanded money. The men then left in a four-door vehicle, possibly a 2000 to 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier, police said. Anyone with information can call investigators at 770.794.5324.

Source:  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,  Gunmen Hold Up Marietta Storage Facility

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Family-Owned Providence Self Storage Opens in PA

Providence Self Storage recently opened in Upper Providence, Pa., built on the land owned by Don Gracia’s family since 1934. The facility, owned and operated by Gracia and his wife, Sherry, offers a variety of climate-controlled spaces.

Gracia hopes the facility’s high-end amenities and competitive pricing will lure a range of customers, including those who work from home and need extra storage. Providence Self Storage features an indoor working area for customers with Wi-Fi access, a copier and fax machine, and a small conference room for meetings. All amenities are included in the rental fee. 

The facility also features a “showroom” sample unit so customers can easily determine what size unit they’ll need.

Source:  The Times Herald,  Trading Spaces

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Self-Storage Thoughts: Getting Beyond Survival in 2010

Is 2010 is the beginning of a new decade or the end of the last? Regardless of your perspective, a new year has started with new budgets, goals and objectives. Yet despite this beginning, there still seems to be a prevailing attitude of survival.

From owners facing the refinancing hurdle to managers dealing with declining occupancies and revenue, I have talked to many folks who’ve adopted the “bunker mentality” of just trying to make it to the next month. 

During these times, creativity is at a premium, and yet new ideas are often dismissed with a knee-jerk comment about the lack of money or the luxury of trying something new. Given a chance, many of these no-cost or low-cost concepts can produce positive results.

For example, are you thanking every customer who moves out by giving him a discount coupon to use when he needs storage again? Of course, he can pass it along to a friend and still earn a referral bonus, right? Why not make everyone who leaves a salesperson for your facility? An aggressive referral-bonus program is a method of asking people for their help, with a willingness to reward them for their assistance. 

A monthly drawing for existing customers who pay on time can be a cost-effective way to build loyalty. Even passing along a 20 percent discount coupon for all customers of a popular local restaurant costs you conversation time with the restaurant’s owner and a few dollars in printing. The restaurant owner is buying space in dining books, so why not offer him a direct program with you?

Can you honestly say you’ve maximized your Internet presence and visibility, using all of the free methods available? Do you even know if your facility is properly located on Google, Bing and Yahoo maps? Don’t guess―find out and make the changes immediately, if necessary.

The tasks ahead of us in 2010 may be daunting, but if we’re willing to adopt an optimistic outlook and a positive mindset, anything is possible. 
 
What’s In a Name?

I’ve been enjoying Starbucks’ new instant coffee since it was launched in October.  I bring this up to get you thinking about something. “Instant coffee” was invented in 1906 by Englishman and chemist George C. Washington, so the term has been in use for many decades. But the Starbucks’ marketers weren’t willing to adopt the old terminology. They chose “ready brew” instead.

The words mean the same thing, but “ready brew” gives the product a new context in the consumer’s mind. It made me wonder how many self-storage terms could be given a new twist with a new name?
 
What Are Your Coordinates?

Do you happen to know your self-storage facility’s latitude and longitude coordinates? This question came to mind as I was perusing the features of my car’s new GPS unit. It allows me to find a location based solely on its “lat and long.” I’ve personally used latitude and longitude during my feasibility work because I’ve found many communities have eliminated street signs in digital mapping, and some businesses don’t display street addresses. 

I recommend that all storage businesses insert a lat and long line on their Yellow Pages ads, websites and brochures. This will automatically appeal to techies, but I’m predicting that within a decade there will be a quantum shift to the use of this fail-safe method of giving customers directions to your location.
 
A D.C. Field Trip

During the Inside Self-Storage World Expo in Washington, D.C., Oct. 5-8, I had the unique opportunity to attend a book signing and author’s reception, thanks to my good friend, Jeffrey Greenberger. Most of you know Jeff as a legal expert in the self-storage field. His sister, Amy Venturi, coordinated the event for Steve Farber, a senior partner in her Denver-based law firm, Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber & Schreck.

On The List, co-authored by Farber and Harlan Abrahams, addresses the U.S. system of organ donation and transplantation. Farber shares the story of having received a kidney from his oldest son and compares it to the story of a similar transplant between Sandra and Ernesto Delaroca, brother and sister refugees from Guatemala. The book examines the “ethical, legal, political and economic debate” on this topic.

It was fun to meet Jeff’s sister after hearing about all the wonderful charity work she’s doing in Denver. The shift in surroundings, from the many self-storage issues being discussed at the expo to the life-and-death subject matter of organ donation, was really thought-provoking.

Are you willing to be an organ donor? Have you ever thought about it? Thousands of lives could be positively impacted if more of us were willing to sign the simple form the next time we renew our driver’s license. I urge you to read On The List.  A portion of the book’s proceeds are being donated to the American Transplant Foundation, so just buying the book will help others.
 
See You in Paris in March!

Of course, I mean the Paris Hotel & Resort in Las Vegas for the Inside Self-Storage World Expo, but it’s still fun to say “I’ll meet you in Paris” without having to endure the nine-hour flight from New York. The agenda for the expo is set, and it’s an excellent program. New suppliers are joining established vendors at the tradeshow.

The only missing ingredient is you! There’s still time to register and immerse yourself with other owners and managers at what will be the biggest conference and tradeshow of the year. Look forward to seeing you there.
 
Jim Chiswell is the owner of Chiswell & Associates LLC. Since 1990, his firm has provided feasibility studies, acquisition due diligence and customized manager training for the self-storage industry. He has served for a number of years on the Inside Self-Storage Editorial Advisory Board, is a moderator on the SelfStorageTalk.com online community and is faculty member of the Self-Storage Training Institute. He can be reached at 434.589.4446; e-mail [email protected]; visit www.selfstorageconsulting.com.

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