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The Math Behind Self-Storage Success: ISS Expo Adds Up to One Powerhouse of a Show

What do you get when you combine three education tracks, 27seminars, five networking events, four add-on intensive workshops, 30-plus speakers and more than 70 product/service exhibits? You get the Inside Self-Storage World Expo in Washington, D.C., a four-day conference and tradeshow that provides the industry’s best education and value. Hosted at the beautiful Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, Oct. 5-8, the ISS Expo will help you “figure out” how to improve your operation’s service and revenue, even in a down economy. 

Three Education Tracks, 27 Seminars

The expo education program is designed to address the unique needs of facility managers, owners, builders and investors. Participants who purchase an Education Package can choose from 27 seminars as part of three comprehensive tracks:

  • Facility Marketing and Promotion: Online and traditional methods, including websites, tracking, search-engine optimization, e-mail campaigns and more
  • Day-to-Day Operation and Management: Sales, customer service, legal issues, collections, lien sales, facility maintenance, rental agreements and more
  • Construction, Development, Real Estate and Finance: Building components, green building, site selection, valuation, zoning, lending options and more

Five Networking Events

Attendees can mingle with and learn from industry experts as well as colleagues during the show’s diverse networking events:

  • Self-Storage Q&A
  • Roundtable Discussions
  • Buyers & Sellers Meeting
  • Security & Software Marketplace
  • Evening Cocktail Reception

Four Add-On Intensive Workshops

Add-on intensive workshops will include popular favorites as well as exciting new offerings covering critical facets of the self-storage business:

  • Marketing and Sales Boot Camp, presented by Tom Litton: This high-energy, fast-paced seminar focuses on powerful techniques that can be implemented at any facility quickly and inexpensively.
  • Legal Learning Live, presented by Jeffrey Greenberger: In this concentrated five-hour session., you’ll learn about important legal issues every owner/operator should know including lien sales, facility rules and regulations, abandonment and more.
  • Developers Seminar, presented by RK Kliebenstein: This half-day event is tailored to those interested in developing a new self-storage project or learning more about the industry, as well as small operators who want to grow their business. The seminar touches on all the most critical aspects of developing and building self-storage.
  • Management Workshop, presented by Joe Niemczyk: Whether you’re new to the industry or looking to hone your management skills, this session is for you. Explore the ins and outs of daily facility operation and what you need to run a successful self-storage business.

30-Plus Speakers

The experts presenting as part of the ISS Expo education program hail from all sectors of the industry. Attendees will benefit from the knowledge and experience of business leaders such as Jim Chiswell, Brad North, Mel Holsinger, Charles Ray Wilson, Derek Naylor, Linnea Appleby, Neal Gussis, Terry Campbell, Bob Copper, Jim Stevens, Randy Tipton and many others.

More Than 70 Product/Service Exhibits

The ISS exhibit hall is absolutely the best place to meet industry vendors, ask questions, gather information and demo products. Whether shopping for software, buildings, management services or another product or service, attendees will establish confidence and contacts for immediate and future purchases. Exhibiting vendors represent all facets of the storage business, and many are unveiling new products or offering special show-only deals.

Whatever your particular self-storage business need, you can fulfill it at the ISS Expo in D.C. It’s not too late to register! For details, visit

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ISS Blog

Self-Storage in the News: Let's Show Our Good Side!

Yet again, the rare and dastardly things that can transpire within the walls of a self-storage unit have hit the national airwaves. As those of us in the industry know, the types of heinous crimes committed in our sites are the rarity, but they do make for terrific news-teaser sound bites. 

With the attention grabbing headlines of the Michael Jackson and Jaycee Lee Dugard cases, we all seem to be captivated. As we watched the morning news Tuesday the reporter panned over to a random self-storage facility in Reno, Nev., and said, "Phillip Garrido kidnapped and raped a woman in a self-storage facility similar to this one 38 years ago...” Note the word "similar," not this facility, but don’t think that can’t have ramifications for the unnamed site locals would be able to recognize. 

Two things struck me about this story: the horror of the cases, of course, but in correlation with our industry the facility shown could have been mine or yours. The media just wanted a camera shot.

The second thing that struck me was: Why are we as an industry always dragged into the muck, but never part of the feel-good, slow newsday filler stories? Does the blame lie with the media or does it fall upon our own shoulders?
Many of you reading this blog have had the experience or two that made you love your job, the one shining example of how you and your facility were there to help someone truly in need and you’re graciously proud of it. If we don’t share these shining examples of the positive side of our business, if we keep it to ourselves, can we continue to blame the media for portraying us collectively as dens of ill-repute or havens of drugs, thievery and mayhem?

The time has come for us all to keep in mind that we are the target audience of the media outlets. As consumers, we can control what we consume. If you’re tired of the negativity directed toward our industry, don’t just sit on your buns and complain to your colleagues. Be pro-active, do something.

The next time a charity is overwhelmed by your generosity and helpfulness, ASK them to write a letter for you detailing what the donated unit helped their group accomplish. When the unusual circumstance lands on your doorstep and turns into a positive experience is it fair to keep it to yourself and a few friends? Heck no! Share it, tell the world and let’s bombard all the feeds with the positive side of our industry. If we don’t tell the story, no one else will. 

Get started by sharing your story at Self-Storage Talk, the self-storage industry's biggest and best online forum.   

Determining How Long to Keep Tenant Files and Abandoned Records in Self-Storage

An important question being asked by self-storage operators these days is: How long do I keep the private information of former tenants who move out voluntarily, or business records left in abandoned or auctioned units?

Unfortunately, this article doesn’t contain a hard and fast answer because state laws vary. However, it covers factors to consider when making this critical decision.

It’s imperative that you establish a policy about how long to keep former-tenant records. (For the purpose of this article, former tenants are those who moved out voluntarily, abandoned a unit, or had a unit sold at auction.) Once you have a policy in place, adhere to it in all cases. Sporadic disposal of records when you have a formal policy will be questioned if you’re ever sued.
Statute of Limitations

The first factor to consider is how long a lawsuit can be brought against you in your state, known as a “statute of limitations.” The statute of limitations will vary for different types of actions. For example, the statute of limitations on a medical-malpractice claim may be longer or shorter than the one for a personal-injury claim.

You need to be familiar with your state’s statute of limitations for breach of a written contract. This is the most common type of lawsuit a self-storage facility faces because most operators have written contracts with their tenants. There can also be other claims, such a wrongful conversion.

However, the breach-of-contract statute of limitations tends to be one of the longer ones and serves as a good guide for the time you may need to keep records. In most states, this statute ranges from five to 15 years. Thus, one solution would be to keep records until the statute of limitations for breach of contract runs out, which would be a set amount of years after move-out, sale or abandonment.

The Internal Revenue Service can audit a tax return for up to seven years after a filing. If a tenant moves out in January 2009, for example, the seven-year audit statute of limitations is the tax return filing date for that year, generally April 15 of the following year. If you file for an extension or fail to file on time, the calculation doesn’t begin until the filing occurs. Keeping records for seven years after the tax filing date of the year after move-out (eight years, really) could be your policy.

For various personal reasons, a self-storage operator may need to refer to former-tenant records. More than likely, you’ll need them to resolve a problem or deal with an audit. In any case, the value of older records to your operation needs to be factored into your time limit. Some of this requires institutional memory, which your facility might not have; but it’s worth considering how long you may want records for these purposes.

Sometimes you’re left with property from an abandoned unit, or goods that were not sold at auction because they were inappropriate to include in the sale, such as photos and business records. In these cases, you should not dispose of the underlying paperwork sooner then you dispose of the property you’re still holding.
Ultimately Determining a Limit

In the end, you should keep former-tenant records for at least the length of time you may need them for your own internal or tax-audit purposes, or approximately eight years after a move-out, abandonment or sale. Consider this the minimum. The maximum would be the longest of all the scenarios addressed above, usually the statute of limitations for breach of written contract in your state.

With that time span in mind, discuss with your attorney if there is an advantage in disposing of records sooner than the maximum hold date or the statute of limitations date.

There’s a defense to certain lawsuits called “Laches,” which is similar to a statute of limitations. It essentially says that you’re unable to defend yourself because of a change in conditions. For example, someone waited so long to make their claim against you that you no longer have adequate information or records to defend yourself. This is not a perfect defense and should not be relied on, but do address it with your attorney.

Many attorneys will advise clients to dispose of records before the end of the written breach-of-contract period because it’s unlikely a claim will be raised more than seven or eight years after a move-out. In a worst-case scenario, you should dispose of records after the last of the appropriate statute of limitations run outs, regardless of how long that is.

Consult with your attorney to ensure your records-disposal plan complies with the laws of your state, and then set up a system so you comply with your policy consistently. Finally, avoid further trouble by properly disposing of documents when you’re done with them.
This column is for the purpose of providing general legal insight into the self-storage field and should not be substituted for the advice of your own attorney.
Jeffrey J. Greenberger is a partner with the law firm of Katz, Greenberger & Norton LLP in Cincinnati, and is licensed to practice in Kentucky and Ohio. Mr. Greenberger primarily represents the owners and operators of commercial real estate, including self-storage owners and operators. To reach him, call 513.721.5151; visit

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LeClaire and Mele Broker Sale of U-Store-It Tampa Facility

Charles “Chico” LeClaire and Michael Mele of the Marcus & Millichap National Self Storage Group brokered the sale of a U-Store-It facility in Tampa, Fla., for $2.8 million. Built in 1985, the self-storage facility received nine purchase offers during its marketing period. It includes 56,197 square feet, 474 units and five income-producing parking spaces. The buyer was a Florida private investment company.

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Centershift Software Available for Mexican Self-Storage

Centershift Inc., the provider of STORE Web-based management software for the self-storage industry, has made its application compatible for use with U-Storage de México S.A. de C.V. U-Storage CEO Diego Ysita Portilla said he is grateful to Centershift for making its product available in Mexico. His company, formed in 2003, operates seven Mexican self-storage facilities with more 300,000 rentable square feet.
Based in Salt Lake City, Centershift provides software to two self-storage real estate investment trusts as well as many other self-storage owners and third-party management companies. Its STORE Enterpise and Advantage applications were designed for integration with websites, call centers, corporate offices and other business systems.

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Green Storage Facility Opens in Gila River Indian Community

Next week, the Gila River Indian Community in Arizona will see the opening of Pecos Storage, a 28-acre self-storage complex that incorporates many “green” features. In addition to providing space for residential, commercial, vehicle and RV storage, the site makes use of eco-asphalt―recycled asphalt mixed with pitch―and recycled, fire-rated shipping containers that were retrofitted with doors. The 10-foot perimeter wall was made of waste concrete that was poured into 3,800-pound “bricks.”
Located at 32nd Street and Pecos Road, the facility is the five-year brainchild of Rande Leonard, who said he is the first to build a business in this community. The Ahwatukee Foothills resident worked with the families who control the land to arrange 60-year leases, and with the city of Phoenix to expand the traffic signals at the intersection.
Leonard said he’s willing to work with anyone who has special storage needs. A U-Haul truck-rental service will also be added to the site.
Source: Ahwatukee Foothills News, ‘Green' storage facility opens

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