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November 1st, 2013

Memo From Frank & Dave

We had some empty units in some of our facilities, so we put up some additional signage on our frontage and a Craigslist ad, and we were at 100% occupancy in no time. How is it possible that the demand for self-storage is so strong? We think that two factors are at play. First, the insatiable demand by Americans to buy material possessions. We’re all guilty of that excess, from Christmas ornaments to cars and boats. The other factor is the changes that occurring as a result of the aging of the baby boomers. This group, defined as those born between 1946 and 1964, are retiring at the rate of 10,000 per day and many are changing their housing and storing their excess goods while they downsize. I recently met a couple who retired, bought an RV, sold their house, and had left their entire household items in storage for the past 15 years. This trend will only continue to accelerate going forward, and is excellent for the self-storage industry.

A Halloween Self Storage Story; How To Deal With The Media

Back in August, a body was discovered in a functioning freezer at a Self-Storage facility in California. While that is awful enough to begin with, the manager dug himself into a hole after stating, “I can’t look at every freezer that comes into the property.” So in the slim chance that you have media show up at your facility how should you or your managers handle it? Follow these 5 tips and save yourself from a media nightmare.

Tip 1

Be prepared! Make sure all of your employees are aware of protocols and how they should handle a reporter arriving at the facility. Go over these rules at least once a year and inform new employees when they start.

Tip 2

Have a designated spokesperson, either yourself or a trusted employee. Make sure they have a full understanding of the situation and can answer questions. If they are unsure make yourself available to the media.

Tip 3

Do not get defensive. Reporters are not usually your friends and are not there to cast your business in a good light. Be prepared for hard questions and don’t get offended by the. Things happen and it is better to let it roll off your back than ranting on Live T.V.

Tip 4

Never say “No Comment”. If an employee is not allowed to talk to a reporter make sure they say something like, “We are working directly with law enforcement to resolve the issue, or I’m not authorized to say but I can direct you to the owner and they will be able to give you a statement.”

Tip 5

Reporters are not legally allowed to be on your property. Customers are the only ones with right of access. Even with their credentials you don’t have to allow them in.

Besides handling just the media, be prepared to face existing tenants and potential customer questions. You can bet if it made the news then just about every customer will have seen it. Make sure you have a serious and reassuring answer. Now is not the time to be flippant.

Even if you think it will never happen at your facility it’s better to be over prepared then under. Always be ready to present your business in best possible light in the aftermath of a criminal investigation.

“Why Gatsby, Don’t Tell Me You Own Self-Storage Facilities!”

Self Storage Gatsby

Few people realize that Tamara Gustavson is the 157th richest person in the U.S., with a net worth of over $3.2 billion – and that her wealth is from her 11% ownership in Public Storage, which was founded by her father in 1972 with a single storage facility. Now that may not make her “old money”, but it certainly makes her “big money”. Public Storage now owns over 2,200 facilities in the U.S., and is the largest owner of self-storage in the world. Of course, the Great Gatsby could not have owned self-storage in the 1920’s (as it was not invented then) but if he had, he might have captured Daisy’s affections – or at least her husband’s storage business.

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