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Second Suspect Arrested in AAAA Self Storage Arson

Police arrested a second suspect in the Sept. 24 arson of several units at AAAA Self Storage in Virginia Beach, Va.

Dustin Lee Hess, 22, was arrested Friday when he arrived at a Richmond bus terminal, according to police. Hess was charged with two felony counts of arson.

It took fire crews 45 minutes to get the early-morning blaze under control. Four of the units suffered heavy fire damage, and all contents were lost. Three more units were damaged, but some of the stored items were salvageable.

In October, police charged Joshua Hutchins, 22, with two counts of felony arson. Investigators believe the two men may have started the blaze to cover up a burglary.

Source:  The Virginian-Pilot,  Police Arrest Second Suspect in Va. Beach Arson Case

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Cranney Self Storage Serves as Toys For Tots Drop-Off Site

Cranney Self Storage will serve as a Toys For Tots drop site this holiday season. The facility, in Danvers, Mass., will accept new, unwrapped toy donations Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Source:  Danvers Herald,  Cranney to Serve as Toys For Tots Drop-Off Location

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Devon Self Storage to Manage 10 Storage Bin Facilities

Devon Self Storage, an Emeryville, Calif.-based self-storage operator and property-management company, will assume the property and asset management responsibilities for eight Storage Bin facilities in New Jersey, and two in Pennsylvania.  The 10 sites total approximately 883,000 net-rentable square feet of self-storage space and 450 RV parking spaces.

“We are looking forward to Devon bringing its exceptional property-management skills to bear on our 10-property portfolio and to working with Devon’s experienced and professional senior staff,” says  Horace A. (Murph) Long, president and CEO of Storage Bin/Long Property Management in Mount Holly, N.J.

“We are excited by the challenge afforded us and are eager to assume the management responsibilities for the Storage Bin stores,” adds Ken Nitzberg, Chairman and CEO of Devon Self Storage.

With the new contract, Devon Self Storage will now manage 48 self-storage properties in 13 states, totaling approximately 4.2 million square feet.

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ISS Blog

Changing the Attitude, Hopefully

A recent article in Inside Self Storage focused on how owners could motivate their staff during the current economic downturn. The writer, Matthew Van Horn, suggests praise, taking over the office and offering a paid day off for the management team, sending staff out to dinner or whatever else may work for that team or individual.

A thread on Self-Storage Talk about Mr. Van Horn’s article sparked a discussion about the topic. The respondents agreed with Mr. Van Horn from the manager’s perspective.

And after experiencing a week that was more depressing than normal, I realized my own normally jovial demeanor was at rock bottom. Mr. Van Horn’s article hit too close to home in a manner of speaking.

While something out of the norm would be appreciated, I realized it was not just my own mood, but the tone set by the stream of people coming in and out of our office. A local newspaper poll inquiring about people’s thoughts on their own personal outlook drove this point home. There just seems to be no escaping the collective funk we all seem to be experiencing 

In our little sample of people, we’ve heard they are sleeping less, and insomnia is one of many signs of depression. Other signs include difficulty concentrating, remembering details, making decisions, fatigue or decreased energy levels, feelings of pessimism or helplessness. People display signs of increased irritability and restlessness, or loss of interest in normally pleasant activities, and even down to persistent aches, headaches and other health issues, all of which can be related to stress-induced depression. 

We all know our customers and co-workers are stressed over the economy, whether it's currently impacting their family or bank account, or they are worried about long-term implications. Mulling over this got us to thinking, so we decided to do something about it. Listening to customer after customer sharing all the bad things they were experiencing—as human beings we try to empathize—but sometimes I find myself wanting to say “You think my life is peachy? Well, let me tell you...”

But of course I don’t, it is not part of my job to depress my customers or co-workers even more than they already are. Instead we decided to try a little social experiment. As people approach our office there is a sign that states; “Stop! Please think of one good thing about today that you can share with us before entering.” The dumbfounded looks or the smiles that cross their faces as they read our note are interesting to watch.

As the holidays approach and merchandisers push it on us months before they even happen, it adds to the money woes and creates overload. As a nation, we are showing classic signs of depression, and listening to all of the customer’s stories can affect your front line staff. Look around for ideas to enrich others’ lives instead of dwelling on the negativity.

We’re early into the month, with our rents all due on the first, but I hope our little experiment will help a few people along the way. And with any luck, they'll leave our office in a better mood, and then spread that mood to the next person they encounter.

Police Shoot Man Suspected of U-Haul Self-Storage Robbery

Police responding to an armed robbery at a U-Haul self-storage facility Monday opened fire on a man suspected of robbing several businesses in Fort Worth, Texas.

When police arrived at the self-storage facility, an officer spotted a green Ford Ranger truck that matched the description of the getaway vehicle used in more than a dozen robberies. The officer fired one bullet into the truck, hitting the man in the upper torso. The suspect continued to drive the truck, then pulled over and surrendered a few blocks away. The man is in critical but stable condition at a local hospital.

The police investigation revealed a man walked into the U-Haul self-storage facility and asked about storage, then showed the manager a gun and said he was there to rob the facility, said Ken Birch, U-Haul marketing director. Police are now looking at the surveillance video from the facility, which has 18 security cameras on site.  

Source:  CBS 11,  Fort Worth Police Officer Shoots Robbery Suspect

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Self Storage Finders Enjoys Boom in Sales

Self Storage Finders, an online self-storage directory for consumers, announced Tuesday sales increased by 597 percent compared to year-over-year sales for the month October, exceeding company expectations.

Established two and half years ago, Selfstoragefinders.com began building a solid brand around search-engine optimization (SEO), allowing the company’s website to rank high for many self-storage terms. The company’s clientele consists includes self-storage facilities of all sizes, third-party management companies, marketing companies and several Web-based companies.

“We plan to continue to grow Self Storage Finders sales through our broad expansion nationally with greater penetration of new city markets due to our high SEO visibility, as well as with partnerships with leading companies in the storage industry,” says Brian Barwig, marketing manager. Storage owners are beginning to see the significance in online directories because of the low cost and high visibility, Barwig adds, and are devaluing traditional methods of advertising.

Selfstoragefinders.com helps customers find self-storage locations by providing storage unit locations and contact information for facilities around the country. Prospective tenants can search through the Preferred Member listings and Neighboring Member listings on the site to find the best personal fit. The company also offers opportunities to storage owners in addition to prospective renters.

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Extra Space Storage Reports 3Q 2009 Results

Extra Space Storage Inc., a self-storage owner and operator, reported the company’s operating results for third quarter, ending Sept. 30, 2009. Highlights include:

  • Achieved funds from operations (FFO) of $0.23 per diluted share including development dilution of $0.02 per share.
  • Same-store revenue and net operating income at the company's 252 same-store properties decreased by 4.5 percent and 6.2 percent, respectively, when compared to the same timeframe in 2008.
  • Closed $114.1 million of debt financing during the quarter and an additional $3.3 million subsequent to quarter end.
  • Completed the development of eight self-storage properties at a total cost of approximately $91 million.

“During the third quarter, our property operations showed signs of stabilization with an increase in rental activity and a reduction in vacates," says Spencer F. Kirk, Chairman and CEO of Extra Space Storage Inc. “As a result of demand stabilization and our dynamic pricing strategies, our incoming rental rates have improved from earlier in the year. We again made strides in solidifying our balance sheet by closing $114 million in new stabilized property and development loans."

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Crystal Properties Looking to Buy Discounted Self-Storage Facilities

Crystal Properties Holdings Inc. says the company is now looking to purchase discounted self-storage facilities.

The company is currently in negotiations with StorRite LLC to assist with feasibility studies of choice self-storage facilities available at discounted prices. Once purchased, StorRite will manage the facilities under the StorRite program and policies, according to Peter Anello, president of Crystal Properties.

Crystal Properties Holdings Inc. is focused on aggressively purchasing and selling discounted real estate, real estate portfolios and underdeveloped properties from individual investors, financial institutions, developers and banks.

Source:  Trading Markets, Crystal Properties Holdings, Inc. Targets Self Storage Facilities for Purchase

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U.K. Homeowners Use Self-Storage to Make Room for Renters

Research published earlier this week shows some U.K. homeowners are storing belongings in self-storage to make room for lodgers.

The research, published by Halifax Home Insurance, reports the number of homeowners renting spare rooms is on the rise—up by 23 percent since 2006.

Martyn Foulds, Halifax senior claims manager, says renting a room is a great way to earn extra cash. However, homeowners should check with their insurance companies first because renting a room could impact the terms of coverage.

Source:  Safestore,  Homeowners 'May Require Self-Storage to Accommodate Lodgers'

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TSSA Show Wraps, Governor Declares Self-Storage Week

Texas observed Texas Self-Storage Week during the annual Texas Self Storage Association (TSSA) tradeshow and conference, Oct. 25-28 at The Woodlands in Houston. Governor Rick Perry extended greetings to TSSA members.

The event offered a variety of educational seminars including information on solar energy, improving operations and customer service, and more.

Noted economist Dr. Mark Dotzour, of the Real Estate Center of Texas A & M University, presented a real estate forecast on the final day of the show. Ray Wilson, of Self Storage Data Services, gave the fifth annual census and market research report. This was followed by a panel of financing experts who discussed self-storage financing.

The annual event also highlighted TSSA’s fundraising commitment to Shriners Burn Hospital for Children in Galveston. Since 1999, the TSSA has donated more than $200,000 to the hospital. The money is raised during poker tournaments, and live and silent auctions.

The next TSSA show will be Oct. 17-20 in Fort Worth.  “Anyone in the industry will benefit from the education and networking opportunities,” says TSSA President Dan Small, of Diamond Self Storage Management.

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