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Beaumont Self-Storage Facility Burglarized

A self-storage facility in Beaumont, Texas, was burglarized this week, leaving dozens of families to check their belongings and determine what may be missing. Surveillance video shows two men breaking through the fence at the back of the former Adam’s Self Storage, vandalizing nearly 30 storage units and at least 12 RV trailers. The facility managers said the culprits stole TVs, damaged private property and used one of the RV bathrooms. Staff members are assessing damage and repairing unit doors.
 
Source: KFDM News Beaumont, Beaumont storage warehouse burglarized

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Dry-Air Storage: Managing Humidity in Self-Storage Facilities

Climate control is one of the most misunderstood subjects in the self-storage industry. The term is a misnomer. “Temperature moderation” would more accurately describe what usually occurs in a storage operation. When you offer “climate control,” you should be managing both temperature and humidity within a narrow range, but often only temperature extremes are moderated, and humidity levels are usually ignored entirely.

We can trace the confusion to the fact that most people are accustomed to temperature control. They set the thermostat in their homes and offices to 72 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. Or, if they want to be more economical, they might set it at 68 F in the winter and 77 F in the summer. This is known as “room temperature.”

If you have tenants who are pharmaceutical reps, temperature control is important for them, as most medicines must be stored at room temperature. For most customers, however, temperature is simply an issue of comfort.

Since people usually expend more energy than usual when moving goods in and out of storage, managers frequently moderate the temperature to the low end of the scale; 60 to 80 F is a typical range.

The vast majority of storage items are not affected by differences in temperature or even by low humidity. For example, many people think electronics should be stored in a climate-controlled unit. But flip through your equipment manuals (look for the environmental limits in the index), and you’ll find storage temperatures allowed at pretty extreme ranges.

The main problem in storage is high humidity. Relative humidity of 60 percent or higher allows mites, molds, mildew, rust, paper rot and wood degradation to occur. Many facilities rely on an air-conditioning system to dry the air. The first problem with this is high temperatures don’t always coincide with high humidity. Records show that high humidity is more likely to occur at night, while high temperatures naturally occur in the afternoon.

Another problem with relying on air conditioning is, in a self-storage environment, the temperature is often set higher than normal, so the AC doesn’t run as much. One way around this is to under size the AC unit so it will run longer. Or, if you have two units, set one at a low temperature and the other at a high one. Of course, the AC unit should also have a humidistat that goes on when the relative humidity starts getting too close to 60 percent. Since the humidity level in a building can vary from one area to another, 50 percent is the recommended humidistat setting.
 
Dry-Air Storage

What’s the best solution for your self-storage facility? Climate-controlled storage works best in higher-income areas; most people aren’t willing to pay high monthly premiums for what often only amounts to slightly more comfortable temperatures during move-in and move-out. For many facilities, the answer may be dry-air storage—a solution that lies between climate control and traditional storage.
 
The good news for those contemplating a new facility or an expansion is that dry-air storage, which only requires moderating high humidity, is easier and less expensive than controlling temperature in all respects: capital, operating and repair costs. No insulation is required.

Commercial dehumidifiers are less expensive, no outside units are required, and less ductwork is needed. Rubber draft stops and track brushes, which are less expensive than insulation, can be installed in exterior roll-up doors so even exterior units can also be built as dry-air storage.

Humidity is a well-known common problem in basements, so they’re perfect for dry-air storage. The temperature is already stabilized by all the soil surrounding the basement and the four inches of concrete overhead, so all that is needed is dehumidification.
 
The Customer’s Choice

Most people base their storage-rental decisions on the protection of their belongings, not their personal comfort in moving. But another plus for dry-air storage is tenants are comfortable in a broader range of temperatures when the humidity is low. Cold and clammy is worse than mere cold; hot and sweaty is worse than just hot.

If the dry-air concept is new to you, consider that Sovran Self Storage Inc., a real estate investment trust and a large self-storage operator, has been quietly designing and building dry-air storage into many of its new Uncle Bob's facilities since 2000. It has even retrofitted older, traditional buildings with this more economical technology.

As energy costs in America start to skyrocket, as they are sure to do, the self-storage industry will be driven toward dry-air storage and away from so-called climate-control storage. What are you doing to make sure your existing or planned facility is efficiently protecting your tenants’ belongings from high humidity levels?
 
David Montané is a sales consultant for BETCO Inc. He founded and owns Aragon Crown, a self-storage consulting and design firm in Decatur, Ga. Montané maintains a Georgia real estate sales license, and is an active member and frequent speaker for the Georgia Self Storage Association. For more information, visit www.betcoinc.com

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Trachte Building Systems Announces 2010 Seminar Dates, Locations

Trachte Building Systems has announced additional dates and locations for its free traveling seminar, “The Building Blocks of Self Storage Development,” taught by Jamie Lindau, the company’s national sales manager. Continually updated with new information, the full-day event covers a spectrum of self-storage topics including site selection, financing and facility operation. Seminar hours are 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with a complimentary lunch provided. 

To view a list of event dates and locations, visit www.insideselfstorage.com/events. To register for a Trachte seminar, call 800.356. 5824 or visit www.trachte.com/seminars.  
 
Trachte designs, manufactures, supplies and erects a full line of pre-engineered and customized steel building systems and portable-storage containers. The company is ISO 9001:2000 certified.

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U-Store-It Fernandina Wins Best of the Best Award

The community members of Fernandina, Fla., voted their local U-Store-It facility as the “Best of the Best” self-storage in Nassau County for 2008-2009. The votes were cast as part of the annual “Best of the Best” list compiled and published in the Fernandina Beach News Leader.
 
Just north of Jacksonville, Fla., U-Store-It of Fernandina is one of eight local self-storage facilities that were eligible for the award. U-Store-It has four Jacksonville, Fla., locations.
 
The Fernandina Beach News Leader is Florida's oldest weekly newspaper. The paper's “Best of the Best” list is chosen annually by community members who vote for their favorite companies in a variety of sectors.
 
U-Store-It is a self-administered and self-managed real estate investment trust with 383 company-owned facilities and the U-Store-It Network, which consists of approximately 310 additional facilities.

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Dundas Self-Storage Developer Battles Citizens' Group

A self-storage facility proposed for Dundas, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, is being indirectly protested by a local citizens’ group and several individuals who would rather see the land parcel near the Desjardins Canal become part of an urban eco-park. The activist group “Protect Our Dundas” has hired a lawyer and will join the Hamilton City Council in fighting the appeal that would give approval to the storage facility.
 
The council rejected the re-zoning application made by the self-storage developer, J. Douglas Hammond of First Dundas Leasing Ltd. The land, currently zoned for restaurants and commercial-recreational use, requires a change to industrial use.
 
City-planning staff recommended that the council approve Hammond's application, but council members disagreed. The city will have to hire an outside planner to defend its position.
 
Source: The Hamilton Spectator, Dundas fight moves to OMB

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Elsinore Valley Self Storage Acquired by Barker Pacific

Los Angeles-based real estate developer Barker Pacific Group (BPG), acquired Elsinore Valley Self Storage through its affiliate, Union Development Co. (UDC). Offering self-storage and RV storage, the Lake Elsinore, Calif., property was purchased for $5.28 million from DGS Development Partners, a California company.
 
The acquisition includes more than 100,000 square feet of rentable space with 600 storage units and RV parking spaces on 6 acres. The newly acquired store will be re-branded to the Storage Solutions name. The transaction brings BPG/UDC’s total number of Storage Solutions stores to 19, serving Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Santa Barbara counties.
 
BPG was founded more than 25 years ago to specialize in the development and acquisition of institutional-grade office, retail and residential projects in select U.S. cities.
 
UDC has been developing real estate in southern California for more than 100 years.  The firm holds more than 1.7 million square feet of property in its portfolio, including retail shopping centers, industrial parks, self-storage facilities and boat/RV-storage facilities.

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Public Storage Launches New TV Ad Campaign

Siltanen & Partners Advertising of El Segundo, Calif., has just created a new ad campaign for Public Storage Inc. The “Solutions” campaign, which features a new tagline for the brand, “Problem Solved,” launched nationwide on Aug. 24. It includes three 30-second commercial spots titled "Bride," "Downsizing" and "Accumulator." To see the work, visit www.siltanenpartners.com/publicstorage.
 
Public Storage is one of the nation’s largest self-storage operators, with more than 2,000 facilities in 38 states.

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ISS Blog

Getting Involved With Your Community

It hardly seems possible, but in the blink of an eye the holiday season will be upon us once again. With the economic woes of this past year, high unemployment and cost of living, the upcoming season will possibly bring with it a higher demand on our local charities and their programs.

Being involved for most of my life in non-profit endeavors in one fashion or another, I’d like to bring to your attention that now is the time to get involved. Everyone seems to want to jump on the bandwagon when the spirit of the holidays hits them, but by then it's usually too late for you to have any significant impact.

Now is the time to determine where your passions lay, what project or cause you can vest yourself in, and how you can make a difference in your community.
 
Many people in our industry say, “Collect Toys For Tots; get the PR out of being a drop-off location." While that is all well and fine, doing it for PR value is such an empty thing to do. Everyone wants to be a drop-off location for everything from canned goods and toys, to back-to-school supplies, but they don’t seem to think of what happens behind the collection barrels.

Who delivers them? Who collects the barrels and what happens to the contents collected? How do they get distributed and how can you help? This is where you can make a huge difference in your community while doing a good thing and earning truly generous of spirit publicity value for your site.
 
As a good manager you know the demographics of your community and you know where the need is greatest, and it may not be the cause of the day. In many instances what is needed may be the least advertised and little is known about it. In this case, you can make a significant impact, bring attention to a worthwhile cause and promote your facility at the same time without appearing to be just another one in the crowd.
 
I’ll leave this topic at this point and let you mull the idea over for a bit. In a couple of weeks, I will share more ideas on how you can truly give back to the community that has supported your business, while gaining pure-hearted publicity value that will equate to more rentals and an improved perception of your business.

One caveat, whatever you determine best suits your community, your passions and that of ownership is something you need to be prepared to support year-round.

In the meantime, read these ISS news items about self-storage facilities that have supported various community organizations.

San Diego Self Storage Supports Nativity Prep Academy

Self-Storage Owner Champions San Rafael Clean Campaign

Texas Self-Storage Facility Hosts School-Uniform Swap

 

Ontario Storage Developer Frustrated by City Fees

A developer who wants to build a $600,000, 80-unit self-storage facility in Richmond, Ontario, Canada, is frustrated by the fact that his estimated project costs for engineering, consultant and city fees are an additional $150,000. Darren Green appealed to the Richmond Village Community Design Plan steering committee on July 29, saying the fees should be no more than 5 percent of the project cost. He received some sympathy but no support.  
 
Richmond currently has no self-storage. Green proposes to build his first 80 units as the first phase and add more if the demand warrants it. He also wants to establish a landscaping-materials business at the site. He said he cannot move forward with the project at these prices.
 
Green could save money on development fees is the committee changed the zoning of the land to industrial, but local planners say the parcel is being viewed as a potential employment area, and self-storage does not provide very many jobs. In addition, provision would need to be made for access to the land behind the parcel.
 
Source: Stittsville News, Developer frustrated

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Janus International Appoints Sales Manager, Portable Container Division

Janus International appointed Linnea Johnson as sales manager of its Portable Container Division. Based in the company’s Temple, Ga., headquarters, she will be responsible for growing the company’s suite of portable, relocatable and foldable storage containers.
 
Johnson has more than 23 years of experience in sales and the self-storage industry, having held prior positions with Porvene Doors, DBCI and Janus. She spent the last three years spearheading a consulting company, Self Storage Innovations.

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