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ISS Blog

Dropping Like Flies: Celebs, Bank Balances and Our Spirits

The Grim Reaper has been busy in the celebrity realm this week, first claiming TV icon Ed McMahon, next Charlie's Angel Farah Fawcett and, finally, legendary musical talent Michael Jackson. This last death caused such a stir in the social-media world that Twitter's search capacity was overloaded, leading the microblogging service to disable its search functionality.

Neither of the first two announcements shocked me, but that last one did. MJ? And now I read that after all that fame, he actually died deeply in debt: $400 million worth. That's the cost of lawsuits and a lifestyle based on fantasies of perpetual youth.

I mention this week's media sensation because of a conversation  I had yesterday. A friend of the family, upon hearing all this news of death, started ruminating on the eight-year loss of her mother and became immediately dejected by it. It just goes to show how depressed is the general morale in this country that we internalize the slightest public catastrophe. Despite statements from the Federal Reserve that the economy is improving and inflation will halt, we're now miserable in more than our pocketbooks.

This impacts self-storage operators on a personal and professional level. You're feeling the pinch in your own finances and mental state, but so are your tenants. When you handle those oh-so-personal rental transactions, you're exchanging all sorts of weird energy. Are you commiserating? Slapping on a happy face? Playing therapist? A few months back, I read a news story about a storage manager who keeps a plush couch in her office for tenants to sit and share their stories with her.

When you go out into the world each day to interact with customers, your co-workers, the cashier at Starbucks, whoever, you're potentially carrying or picking up a piece of that social malaise that's been going around. It's tough to see it for what it is and not let it affect your relationships and business. One of my favorite quotes is from Anais Nin: "We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are."

So ... it's smart once in a while to step back from your computer, set the newspaper aside, turn off the TV and make a realistic assessment of what's happening in your world. It may still be rough, but at least you can separate it from the global melancholy and put things in perspective. Adjust your "bedside manner" accordingly. I think you'll find it helps you, and that, in turn, will help your tenants. In other words, let's spread something around other than H1N1, something healthy and positive.

How are you doing? What about your tenants? What's the general atmosphere at your facility? Let's share some good vibes in the blog. I'll start: I'm going to see the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus tomorrow. Yay for trapeze artists!

OpenTech Launches Insomniac Self Storage Network for Online Reservations

OpenTech Alliance Inc. has launched a real-time self-storage reservations system, the Insomniac Self Storage Network (ISSN), which will allow self-storage operators to get online reservations through multiple sales channels. Modeled after the networks used by the airline, hotel and rental-car industries, the network is available even to operators who do not own an Insomniac self-storage kiosk.
 
The network provides a secure, real-time connection between self-storage facilities and marketing companies such as USstoragesearch.com, the first company to become an ISSN Marketing Partner.
 
Using the ISSN, consumers can shop online for the storage unit that best fits their needs, seeing real-time prices, specials and availability of member facilities. They can even rent a unit online. The system ties directly into a facility’s property-management software, so operators don’t need to upload or change a thing.
 
There is no fee to self-storage operators to join ISSN. Network development is supported through revenue-share agreements with the Marketing Partners.
 
OpenTech is the developer of the Insomniac line of self-storage kiosks. For information about the new ISSN, call 602.749.9370.

Related Articles:

USstoragesearch.com Offers Up Real-Time Self-Storage Rentals

Upgrades to INSOMNIAC 300 : By OpenTech Alliance Inc.  

Online Rentals [Self-Storage Talk]

Insomniac Kiosks [Self-Storage Talk]

Finding Your Core Business Tools: Self-Storage Products and Services

These days, the No. 1 priority for self-storage operators is to increase revenue and minimize expenses. But every business requires products and services to meet customer expectations, maintain its brand, optimize income and ensure seamless operation. Where would you be without security equipment, management software, legal forms, maintenance products and other essential tools? Those professionals who are new to the business have material needs too, shopping for consultants, real estate brokers, contractors, building components and more.

To find must-have items for an existing or budding self-storage enterprise―and get top value for every dollar―your best strategy is to discuss your goals with vendors face-to-face. The exhibit hall at the Inside Self-Storage World Expo in Washington, D.C., is the ideal venue. On Oct. 7 and 8, you can meet with 70-plus of the industry’s top suppliers representing a highly diverse range of offerings. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions, demo products, collect information, and establish confidence and contacts for future purchases.

Because the show’s exhibitors understand the importance of saving money in today’s economy, many are unveiling new products and offering special show-only deals. Following is an example of offerings: 

Encore Commercial Products (booth #135) will unveil a new bollard cover and provide a 15 percent discount on all products purchased at the show. The company’s new MediaBollards convert bollards into instant billboards by using a specially designed front panel that can be customized with promotional messages and logos.

Syrasoft is offering 15 percent off all software products purchased at the company’s booth (#110). The company will unveil its new Self Storage Management System, Version 8, Spanish Edition as well as expanded language-correspondence features for the English edition. It will also release sophisticated new tracking features such as automatic check processing, the “Rent Slider” rate-management system, utility metering and detailed demographics.

Mako Steel (booth #210) will provide no-cost engineering and construction rebates for new customers who visit the company’s booth. The no-cost engineering will be provided to those who sign a materials contract. A 2 percent rebate will be given to those who pay their invoice within 10 days, a 1 percent rebate to those who pay within 20 days.

XPS Solutions (booth #106) will launch two new products at the expo: EchoWeb and Call Capture. The first is a Web portal that enables customers to learn about a self-storage facility, browse its unit inventory, and pay for rentals online with a credit card. The second is a new call-center tool rich with features.

Created for self-storage industry owners, managers, developers, investors and suppliers, the ISS Expo comprises four days of educational seminars, product and service exhibits, and networking opportunities. It will take place at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, Oct. 5-8, 2009. With a theme of “Today’s Challenges Are Tomorrow’s Profit,” the event focuses on strategies for generating revenue and perfecting business branding in a demanding economic environment. 

For details and to register, visit www.insideselfstorageworldexpo.com.

To view a list of exhibitors for the Washington, D.C., expo, click HERE.

Related Articles:

Get in Great Economic Shape at the ISS Expo!

Today's Challenges Become Tomorrow's Profit: Inside Self-Storage World Expo Preview

Extra Space Storage Donates Properties to New Joint Venture

Extra Space Storage Inc. has entered an agreement to contribute 42 of its wholly owned properties to a newly formed joint venture with an affiliate of Harrison Street Real Estate Capital LLC. The properties are in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia, and Extra Space will continue to handle daily operation.
 
HSRE will contribute approximately $62.4 million in cash to the JV in return for an 80 percent ownership interest. The JV will assume approximately $213 million of debt, secured by the properties. Extra Space will receive approximately $62.4 million in cash and a 20 percent ownership interest.
 
The transaction is subject to the satisfaction of customary due diligence and closing conditions and is expected to close late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter.
 
Extra Space has also repurchased approximately $43 million principal amount of exchangeable senior notes due in 2027 for approximately $36.3 million. The repurchase will result in a one-time gain of approximately $5.1 million or approximately $0.06 per share on early extinguishment of debt for the quarter ending June 30, 2009. This gain was not previously included in the company's earnings guidance for 2009.

Related Articles:

Extra Space Storage Changes 2009 Dividend Distribution

Extra Space Storage Releases First-Quarter Results

Kirk Takes the Reins at Extra Space Storage Inc.

HFF Closes Sale of NJ United Stor-All Facilities

The Houston office of Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP (HFF) has closed the sale of two United Stor-All self-storage facilities in Parsippany and Fairfield, N.J. Completed in 2004, the properties comprise 1,406 units in 139,850 square feet.
 
Aaron Swerdlin, HFF senior managing director, Doug McCarron, managing director, and Michael Klein, associate director, led the investment sales team on behalf of the seller, a joint venture between United Stor-All and the Fidelity Real Estate Group. An unrelated third party purchased both properties for an undisclosed price.
 
United Stor-All is a national self-storage developer, operator and property manager. The company has developed more than 40 facilities in the past 10 years, and currently manages a portfolio of approximately 90 sites.
 
HFF operates out of 17 offices nationwide, providing commercial real estate and capital markets services to the U.S. commercial real estate industry. 

Related Articles:

United Stor-All Participates With ABC's 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

HFF Secures $6M for Self-Storage in Berkeley Heights, NJ

Understanding Self-Storage Real Estate Value During a Credit Crunch [By HFF]

Raia Self Storage Portfolio Sold to Hampshire Cos.

The Raia Self Storage portfolio, consisting of five existing self-storage facilities and two development sites, has been sold to the Hampshire Cos. for its Hampshire Fund VII. The operational sites, totaling 410,330 square feet, are in Mahwah, Montville and Hackettstown, N.J., and Central Valley and Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The development sites are in Denville and Hillsborough, N.J.
 
Jeffrey Dunne of the CB Richard Ellis New York Institutional Group worked with Steve Hryszko of the firm’s Self Storage Advisory Group to represent the seller and procure the buyer. The deal was closed in two phases, with the existing sites closing in late 2008, and development sites closing this month.
 
The facilities will operate under the Hampshire Self Storage brand. The acquisition brings the company’s self storage holdings to 10,000 units totaling one million square feet.
 
Sources: Daily Record (Parsippany, N.J.), Raia storage portfolio closed; GlobeSt.com, CBRE Brokers Sale of Self-Storage Portfolio

Related Articles:

Raia Self Storage Sells Five Facilities to Hampshire Real Estate

Self-Storage in the Northeast: Real Estate Snapshot

HFF Secures $6M for Self-Storage in Berkeley Heights, NJ

Los Gatos Community Debates Extra Space Self-Storage Facility

Community members and commissioners in Los Gatos, Calif., this week debated the construction of a proposed self-storage facility to be built along the Los Gatos Creek. The decision will be revisited at the next planning and zoning meeting on Aug. 12.
 
Extra Space of Los Gatos LLC wants to develop the property, formerly a parking lot, into a three-story, 80,345-square-foot storage building, but commissioners expressed concern about aesthetics, the size and height of the building, and the potential damage that could be done to the creek and surrounding area. Only one community member voiced opposition to the development.
 
Representatives from Extra Space claim that there will be no significant environmental impact from the project, and they are working to make the facility aesthetically pleasing. The company has been asked to revise its plans, creating a larger parking lot and reducing the facility’s proposed height.
 
Source: Los Gatos Observer, Self-Storage Building Along Creek Debated at Meeting

Related Articles:

Jamestown, NC, Residents Oppose Self-Storage Project

Neighbors Oppose Self-Storage Project in Lake Elsinore, Calif.

In the Ring With Planning and Zoning : Tips to avoid a fight

The Zoning Process

The Process of Project Approval

A Storage Place-Hemet Honored by Military Customer

Upon returning from his fourth deployment to Iraq, a 21-year career military customer presented the self-storage facility at which he rents a unit with an American flag and a certificate of appreciation. The flag given to the owner and staff of A Storage Place of Hemet, Calf., was one flown on a combat mission over Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The flag and certificate are now proudly displayed in the facility’s office.
 
Managed by Linda Clark, A Storage Place offers a military discount and can provide complimentary use of a moving truck.

Related Articles:

Do the Right Thing: Helping military ranks as more than good business

Military Members Honored for Memorial Day by USstoragesearch.com

Self-Storage Sale and Disposal: Know the Law Before Acting[Servicemembers Civil Relief Act]

Anyone built near a military base? [Self-Storage Talk]

Military Renters [Self-Storage Talk]

Service members civil relief act [Self-Storage Talk]

Westy Self Storage Donates Space to Christian Community Action

Westy Self Storage of Norwalk, Conn., is donating 420 square feet of free storage space to Christian Community Action, Norwalk Inc., for the storage of donated furniture, canned goods and other items it passes out to the needy. State Rep. Lawrence F. Cafero Jr. helped broker the arrangement between the charity organization and the self-storage facility. The agreement is in place for one year, at which time it will be revisited.
 
Christian Community Action, based in the South Norwalk Community Center provides resources such as food and furniture to local residents in need of emergency assistance. Last year, the nonprofit organization distributed more than 3,000 pieces of furniture to 914 families, according to Cafero's office.

Source: The Hour (Norwalk, Conn.), Cafero lends a helping hand

Related Articles:

Door to Door Storage Donates to City Year Boston Serve-a-thon

Quality Self Storage Collects Donations for Church Food Pantry

Access Self Storage Helps Raise $56k for Dallas Church Group

Unique Self-Storage Project Donates All Profit to Charity

Being the Best We Can Be: Self-Storage Management

Hallandale Self Storage Undergoes Extensive Renovation

Westport Properties/US Storage Centers recently completed a renovation of its Hallandale, Fla., self-storage facility, an extensive project that included many interior and exterior upgrades. A cornerstone of the renovation included a conversion of traditional units and covered RV spaces to climate-controlled. Other improvements included new asphalt and roofs, an office remodel, painting the exterior, the addition of new surveillance cameras, replacement of the gate, and the installation of a self-serve kiosk.
 
Westport Properties manages approximately 3 million square feet of self-storage in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland and New Jersey.

Related Articles:

The Impact of Facility Image: Self-Storage Curb Appeal and Refurbishing

Demand Drives RV-Storage Conversion in Arizona

Building for Money or ‘How to Marry Rich Customers’

The Math Behind the Self-Storage Makeover

Westport Properties to Manage CO Self-Storage Facilities

Westport Properties Gets New Self-Storage Contracts