Getting involved in the community is beneficial to a self-storage business on many levels. Not only does it help local causes get the support they deserve, it also helps build relationships with the local community, which could lead to free publicity, boosts brand awareness and improves employee job satisfaction. Community engagement can include anything from sponsoring a local charity or helping a sporting event, to volunteering or hosting your own community event.
We’ve experienced this firsthand at my company, Attic Self Storage, which operates two facilities in Greater London. We’re championing community involvement by partnering with local causes. We work hard to engage with the local community in many ways, and have developed long-standing relationships with many worthwhile causes near our sites in Bow and King’s Cross, England.
We want to be recognized for being solid advocates for our local communities, wherever our self-storage units are located. That means getting involved in the local community, helping worthwhile local causes and championing what’s great about the local area.
Over the years, we’ve been involved in a number of initiatives for a range of organizations. Our Bow site, which offers storage in East London, has a strong relationship with Hackney Rugby Football Club, sponsoring the organization that provides rugby coaching in schools in deprived areas. The facility also engages with local arts charities, sponsoring the Theatre Royal Stratford East. We’ve also supported FoodCycle Hackney, which provides meals to those at risk of food poverty.
The King’s Cross facility, which serves central London, has focused on supporting the local art scene. Last year, we collaborated with Artbox London, an arts charity that assists people with learning difficulties, to host an art exhibit. The show’s success inspired us to keep the paintings and drawings on display permanently in our reception area.
This facility supports the arts in another manner as well. Last year, we partnered with two local art schools to launch Market Road Gallery, the first bookable open-air street art gallery in Europe. A back wall of the property has been designated as a “canvas,” giving local artists a platform to express themselves. The art also draws attention to our property, which could lead to new rentals.
As part of our ongoing commitment to community engagement, this year the Attic team wondered what could be done to highlight the significant changes that have occurred over the past decade around King’s Cross. The local area has undergone such a transformation following the regeneration of the area, I found myself wondering what there is to do nearby, and what attractions or events there might be.
The changes inspired us to launch an interactive guide to King’s Cross. It provides an immediate way for us to connect with the local community, and follows naturally from the Market Road Gallery and involvement with Artbox London. The guide is a unique way for us to give something back to the community, emphasize our brand, and create awareness of self-storage as a product.
Community involvement on any level is beneficial to every self-storage organization. If you’re looking for new ways to connect with your community, consider finding a charity or organization that needs support. This could be monetary, providing free or discounted rent on a unit for a short period, or volunteering for an event.
We’ll continue to champion community engagement at our existing locations. We’ll also look for new ways to support and interact with our communities as we open new sites across London in the coming years.
Frederic de Ryckman established Attic Self Storage in London in 2008. He has served as chairman of the Self Storage Association of the United Kingdom and vice president of the Federation of European Self Storage Associations. Attic has won multiple awards and is recognized for its customer service, business innovations and its work with local charitable initiatives. For more information, visit www.atticstorage.co.uk.