Articles from 2009 In July

Sure-Set Fire Door

Janus International has successfully completed fire-door burn testing at the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) facility in Northbrook, Ill. The company’s Sure-Set   fire door was awarded a 45-minute and 90-minute UL label for sheetrock and non-masonry walls, and a three-hour and four-hour UL label for masonry walls. Janus permanently affixes standard and oversize labels to the door’s bottom bar.

In addition, the Sure-Set fire door offers an optional UL “S” label for building conditions that require the minimization of smoke and draft infiltration.
The Sure-Set fire door has installer-friendly designs such as weldment approval to steel jambs, thread-cutting steel fasteners and impact-drive masonry fasteners. It also has a greatly simplified, time-saving installation and drop-testing procedure. Other features include pre-punched universal headplates and transition brackets that allow for quick and easy field changes, guide service cutouts, and pre-set barrel spacing.
Operationally, the Sure-Set door features a floor-test chain-hoist governor as the standard base model, with three fail-safe, floor-test motor options in sizes approved to 50 feet wide by 30 feet high. Fail-safe release devices are available in five models, with smoke-detector and ADA-compliant visual and audible appliance options to complete the most stringent specification requirements. 
Finishes for the door include standard powder-coated guides, bottom bars and headplates, with a finish painted galvanized curtain and hood. There are five color choices for curtains and hoods, with optional powder-coat and stainless-steel finishes.

Related Articles:

Janus International Acquires Epic Doors

Universal Door-Drive Mounting System : By Janus International

ISS Blog

Self-Storage Real Estate: Words of Encouragement

This week, I received a Capital Markets Insider report for the second quarter 2009 from San Diego-based Grubb & Ellis|BRE Commercial. The quarterly newsletter includes market-trends data for commercial properties, including self-storage, and insights from real estate experts, like Greg Wells, an investment sales specialist in the company’s Self Storage Group. Greg’s expertise is the sale and acquisition of self-storage facilities as well as land for self-storage development.
Greg has graciously allowed me to share his letter with you here. It sheds some light on the state of the self-storage market and how our business is faring in an uncertain financial time. 
"This Page Intentionally Left Blank"
This is the title of a presentation I saw recently on the state of the commercial real estate market. While the statement was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, after hearing and reading months and months of negative news, projections and predictions, sometimes it's nice to just take a break. 
We are all painfully aware of the current economic situation and its potential implications moving forward, so you do not need me to remind you and reiterate the talking points we hear day after day. I specialize in the self-storage sector, and we have not been immune to the economic crisis and turmoil. Sales of self-storage facilities in the western U.S. have come to a screeching halt since September 2008. In fact, in 2009, there have been a total of five self-storage facility sales in California, Arizona and Nevada combined―a drop of nearly 80 percent compared to the same time last year.
To this, I say, “Hang on. They are coming.” Those with equity, experience and vision should start to see unprecedented buying opportunities that offer very compelling returns and prices per square foot, well below replacement cost. We are also seeing a return to simple real estate fundamentals: quality and location. While the interim period will not be without significant pain for some, this shift back to the basics will be a healthy, needed process in the long run, and will prove to be very rewarding to those that never lost sight of that in the first place.
It sounds cliché and old-fashioned; however, luck favors the prepared, and the prepared should be well-positioned to prosper in the years ahead.
The same back-to-basics idea holds true on the brokerage side of the table as well. It is more important than ever to focus on what you know and do best. Having a focused, specialized strategy is the best way a broker can provide clients accurate, up-to-date, honest feedback on their assets and the best strategies to handle challenging issues. Armed with the best research, market data and marketing strategy, brokers can guide both sellers and buyers through these issues and arrive at solutions that meet and exceed expectations.
Tough times also remind us to focus and pay attention to the things that are greater than us. Spend more time with your kids, volunteer at your favorite charity, give more to those in need. Finding time for rewarding opportunities like these can help put focus back on how fortunate we are to be in a business that can offer so much opportunity.
Yeah, times are tough, but guess what ... So are we.
This is encouraging news for those of you out there who may be contemplating a sale or purchase in the upcoming year or two ... and inspiring words that help put things in perspective. To reach Greg, e-mail To view the full BRE newsletter, visit
If you’d like to learn more about self-storage real estate in today’s economy, read the following articles, written by ISS columnist Mike McCune of Argus Self Storage Real Estate:
Take Advantage of a Buyer’s Self-Storage Market
An Open Letter: Self-Storage Real Estate in This Economy
In attempting to refinance our home, my husband and I learned some sad facts about property value in our area, and we know we aren’t alone. Though we’d originally hoped to relocate by 2010, we’re now digging our roots a bit deeper here, until the pendulum swings in a more favorable direction. Many self-storage operators may be doing the same. Let’s hope patience pays off for all of us in the end. In the meantime, I am reminded that “Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.”

Blue Mound Self-Storage Appeals to Web-Friendly Customers

Blue Mound Self Storage in Haslet, Texas, has created a new website to attract customers who are accustomed to shopping for products and services online. The facility’s new Web presence was developed by Josh Davis of Ft. Worth, Texas, who said services like self-storage that generally serve local customers need websites that show up high in local searches of engines like Google.  
The website includes tips for packing items for storage and a unit-selection guide. The site is a WordPress blog so employees can easily update promotions.
Blue Mound Self Storage is owned by Ron Sturgeon. The facility serves customers in the Alliance Corridor, including Ft. Worth, Haslet, Keller and Saginaw. The new website can be viewed at

Related Articles:

Capturing Self-Storage Customers on the Web

Does your website have what it takes? [Self-Storage Talk]

Websites: How Much Do You Want to Know? [Self-Storage Talk]

Going Online : Using a website to empower your business

Hippo Storage Opens Second Georgia Location

The former 84 Lumber site in Kingsland, Ga., has been transformed into a Hippo Storage facility, one of two in the area. Both sites offer traditional and climate-controlled self-storage, enclosed RV storage, incubator-style office space, computer-controlled access, and the free use of a moving truck at customer move-in. The new site also offers portable storage.
The locally grown business is owned by Jim, Linda and Michael McClain. The family chose the name during a road trip 10 years ago when they saw two life-sized hippo sculptures on a roadside, noting their size and eye-catching quality.
Opened in 1999, the original Hippo Storage was expanded in 2006 to include covered parking and loading areas with 20-foot-tall units.

Source: Camden County Tribune (The Tribune & Georgian), Hippo Storage opens Kingsland location

Related Articles:

Caring for Your Portable-Storage Containers

Piecing Together the Best Portable-Storage Marketing Program

Hastey Family Opens Storage Facility in Plumas Lake

Plumas Lake Self Storage opened this month in California. The site was developed for approximately $2 million by the Hastey family, which owns property in the area. They could see the lake town needed RV and boat storage, according to Brent Hastey. The site also offers traditional self-storage, U-Haul truck rentals, and retail moving supplies. Facility features include 24-hour video surveillance, computerized gates and individual door alarms.

Getting the county permitting to build the project was a challenge, Hastey said. Feather River Bank assisted him in securing financing. 

The business welcomed 14 new customers on its opening day. The owners expect to offer 24/7 rental capability via the facility website by Aug. 1.  They are offering grand-opening specials such as “first month of rent free” and a 10 percent discount on rental rates if the customer opts for automated payments.

Source: Plumas Lake Life, Self-storage facility now open for business

Related Articles:

Getting on Board With Boat and RV Storage

Controlling the Maintenance Costs of Boat and RV Storage

Solar Carports: A New Trend in Boat/RV-Storage Construction

NJ Officials Frustrated by Delay in Self-Storage Development

Delayed development of a proposed self-storage facility in North Arlington, N.J., is causing local officials frustration. Self Storage Specialists appealed to the local zoning board more than a year ago to build self-storage on the site of a former mattress factory, but thus far, no work has been done at the property. Its representatives recently indicated to borough officials that the firm is having a difficult time funding the project.
In an effort to stimulate local real estate development, the city recently proposed an ordinance that will cause planning and zoning variances to expire in one year instead of two, so developers will have less time to begin building a project. If they do not begin work within one year, they will have to go back to the planning and zoning board for approval. In the case of Self Storage Specialists, it would also need approval from the mayor and council, because its site is in a redevelopment area.
Some officials believe this move to be too heavy-handed in a down economy. Borough attorney Tony D'Elia said he would look into the legality of creating timelines for construction.
Source: South Bergenite, Town wants developer follow through

Related Articles:

Self Storage Specialists Delay on North Arlington Conversion

Self-Storage in the Northeast: Real Estate Snapshot

National Self-Storage Snapshot: Real Estate  

New Jersey Storage Operators Fight Sales Tax

U.S. Door Hires Director of Dealer Development

Ken Aycock has joined U.S. Door & Building Components as director of dealer development. His focus will be on developing the company’s commercial door-dealer network throughout the United States. He has worked in the door industry for more than 25 years.
U.S. Door is an international supplier of rolling steel, commercial sheet doors and products for the self-storage and metal-building industries. The company has been in business for more than 30 years.

Related Articles:

Door Improvements: Design Loads, Universal Guide System : By US Door

US Door Supports Youth Boxing Program Via Donation to Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

Product Showcase: Box-Buddy Helps Self-Storage Renters Get a Grip

Ouch! My back! I’m teetering on my left foot while kicking open the storage-locker door with my right. My arms are bowed around a heavy, slippery, cardboard box ... which is now sliding from my hands. I quickly shove my right knee under the box to break its fall, but lose my balance and slam my precious cargo into the wall. A stab of pain sears through my lower back. As my frustration flares up, in my mind I scream, “There must be a better way!”
With determination I vowed to win the fight against slick-sided cardboard boxes. It was in that moment the idea for Box-Buddy was born. I knew if I had a small, inexpensive utility knife to punch hand-holds into the sides of corrugated boxes, it would make everyone’s moving life that much easier.

Since boxes come in all shapes and sizes, it can be challenging to lift and handle them, even when they’re not full or heavy. Box-Buddy facilitates the handling of any cardboard container. This easy-to-use utility knife houses a dual-tong piercing fork and a cutting blade. The fork pushes through the corrugate, acting as a guide and allowing the blades to line up. With one quick squeeze, Box-Buddy cleanly creates box hand-holds in seconds.

With more than 45 million people in North America on the move every year, each using an average of 50 boxes that will be handled roughly six times during the move, there’s no question Box-Buddy can minimize back pain, and save time and aggravation.

Any box can instantly be converted to a manageable carry-all with one swift motion. The Box-Buddy is as essential to moving as the truck, bubble wrap, blankets and tape. The easy-to-grasp hand-holds make unloading stacked boxes a cinch. It’s clearly the smart way to move.

Box-Buddy is available exclusivelyfrom Chateau Products Inc. For more information, call 800.833.9296; visit

Related Articles:

Choosing the Best Retail Boxes to Sell in Self-Storage

Retail Sales Add Value

Retail Display Tips for Self-Storage

Self-Storage Talk: Box Suppliers


25 Units Robbed at Chattanooga Self-Storage Facility

Twenty-five units at Uncle Bob’s Self Storage in Chattanooga, Tenn., were broken into on May 30, and police are looking for two male suspects who were caught on surveillance tape. The suspects, wearing disguises and gloves, used bolt cutters to cut a hole in the outside fence and enter the property. They carried stolen property to a vehicle in a nearby parking lot.
Anyone with information about the crime is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers. A cash reward of up to $1,000 could be rewarded for the confidential call.

Source: The Chattanoogan, Crime Stoppers: Burglary At Uncle Bob's Self Storage

Related Articles:

Crime Stoppers Offers $2K to Help Solve Self-Storage Robbery

Self-Storage Video Surveillance: Choosing a Vendor

Sovran Self Storage Revises Outlook Due to Fitch Rating Downgrade

ISS Blog

The State of Self-Storage Financing

A recent article on tackled what could be the next big bank headache—the commercial loan. For nearly two years, we’ve heard countless stories about home foreclosures, bad mortgage loans, etc., but little about commercial loans. Well, that’s about to change. Like the housing market bust, we’re about to be thrust into a commercial real estate bust.

According to the article, financial analysts predict banks will soon turn their attention to commercial real estate. U.S. banks hold some $1.8 trillion worth of commercial loans, according to Federal Reserve data. With unemployment at a 26-year high, people are buying less and seeking fewer services—a bad sign for the commercial sector.

ISS columnist Devin Huber addressed the “elephant in the room” in his most recent column, Self-Storage Threat of Foreclosure? Don’t Hide, Just Seek. He says the one of the largest risks to self-storage owners is the availability of credit. “Owners who are most vulnerable are those who acquired or built properties in the last three years during the market’s peak. Those who built or acquired using short-term, high-leverage debt, or who purchased facilities based on pro forma rents or leasing activity, face the greatest challenge.”

But all is not lost, Huber says. There are loans out there, and good ones, for the proactive self-storage owner. Read Huber’s article to learn how you can prepare your business to survive the financial storm. We also have a plethora of timely finance and real estate articles online.

Another avenue for great financial information is the comprehensive education tracks at this year’s Inside Self-Storage World Expo, Oct. 2-5 in Washington, D.C. Huber and Shawn Hill of Beacon Realty Capital, along with self-storage financing expert Neal Gussis, will give an overview of finance market conditions and current lending parameters. There will also be information-packed seminars on real estate, the appraisal process, construction and more.

Lastly, I encourage you to take advantage of the camaraderie, support and advice circulating on Self-Storage Talk, the industry’s only online forum. There’s a finance section where you can ask or answer questions, or simply peruse the threads. Like Huber said, don’t hide, just seek!