Self Storage Industry

My dozen-plus years of writing for the Self Storage Association (SSA) have given me a front-row seat to a once-obscure industry that has not only grown into a leading real estate sector, but also a must-have service for many consumers. Here are links to selected articles I wrote for the Association's SSA Globe member magazine.

Heaven Can Wait: Orlando's Rosen Shingle Creek resort gives you and your family a true taste of paradise. As you fly into Orlando International Airport, you can look out your plane window onto a land that has been redefined over and over by pioneers. More than 12,000 years ago, Paleo-Indians roamed and hunted now-extinct mastodons and wooly mammoths here. The 1800s brought settlers who laid the foundation for the area's modern communities, building homes with roofs made of shingles cut from cypress trees lining what came to be called Shingle Creek. » Read more

Inside Job: Storage companies tend to look within the industry for mid-level executives. As the clock ticked its way into 2018, no one without a crystal ball could predict exactly what the year might hold for the industry. But it's a sure bet that some up-and-coming self storage pros around the U.S. started the new year by resolving to kick their career up a notch or two. » Read more

Deciphering Data: The latest SSA 'Self Storage Demand Study' brings the market into sharper focus. As Sherlock Holmes said in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet, “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.” In that spirit, the Self Storage Association does some serious sleuthing every few years to gather and analyze industry data, distilling it into an easy-to-understand publication: SSA's Self Storage Demand Study. » Read more

Reducing Renters' Risk: Facilities have options for making sure tenants cover their stored belongings. In the mid 1990s, the renters of a storage unit at Martin Lorch's Arizona facilities had given notice that they would be leaving. At the last minute, however, they had to delay their move for several days. They paid prorated rent for that week, but decided to not extend the insurance on their stored contents. After all, the tenants figured, they just had a few days left before emptying their very full unit. What could possibly go wrong? » Read more

Face Time: Mastering the art of conversation and networking gives you an edge at conferences. You take a deep breath. You hold your head high. You feel the high-energy buzz of the crowd building to a low roar. You put on your A-game smile as you walk onto the field. » Read more

Smoldering in Asia: A scorched building in Hong Kong continues to teach difficult lessons. At about 11 a.m. on Tuesday, June 21, 2016, a short circuit occurred in an air conditioner on the third floor of the Amoycan Industrial Centre located in Hong Kong's Ngau Tau Kok neighborhood. The resulting sparks ignited an inferno that took 108 hours to control, claimed the lives of two firemen, and put Hong Kong's entire self storage industry in the crosshairs of government regulators. » Read more

Intelligent Design: Storage architects aim to provide facilities with new looks and increased value. What if Steve Jobs had gone into self storage instead of technology? Would today's facilities look or function differently? » Read more

What's App'ning with Your Customer Experience? Mobile marketing can help remind your customers why they chose you. It’s kind of a secret weapon. Maybe even a super power. Customers of West Chocolate Avenue Self Storage in Hershey, Pennsylvania, enjoy a unique customer experience that happens to go with the territory. » Read more

What's Your Story? Does your 2017 marketing plan help your prospective customers find the freedom they love? What does Walt Whitman’s 1856 poem “Song of the Open Road” have to do with 21st century marketing? The answer: Everything. Just ask Volvo. » Read more

Securing Business: Security is important to female customers, but operators need to be savvy about marketing to them. All heck broke loose last year for male-centric movie marketers and tie-in toy makers who foolishly left Star Wars heroine Rey out of their lineup when promoting “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” With unforgettable power, female moviegoers and toy lovers put Yoda’s old line to new use: “Feel the Force!” » Read more

Blown Away: Storage facilities need the right insurance when wind and hail strikes. The largest recorded hailstone in the U.S. resembled a chunk of kryptonite from Superman's home planet, except for its bright white color. » Read more

The Connected Conference: SSA’s free mobile app offers upgraded features and convenience. Six reasons to love the app: it's easy, convenient, integrated, lean, social and free. » Read more

The Sky's the Limit: Roofs today can do more than just cover your storage facility. When you look at your self storage facility, what do you see? Your distinctive branding? Your unit mix? Your office space? Sure, all that and more. But what do you see when you raise your gaze a little higher? If you say “blue sky” or “clouds,” look again. You might be overlooking one of your most important assets: your roof. » Read more (PDF)