By Nick Malagisi, SIOR, Managing Director/National Director Self-Storage of SVN
Hardy Good, one of the pioneers in our industry, is one of the first people I met in thisbusiness years ago; in fact, it was 1983, at my first self-storage conference at the original Opryland Hotel in Nashville. I was very new to the industry and was working for the “Big Orange”, as Public Storage was called back in those days. Hardy helped open a few doors for me by inviting me to dine in his presence at the conference. I have always valued that warm welcome from him. Recently, at the SSA Conference in Las Vegas, I again enjoyed having dinner with Hardy and seeing many of my other vendor friends in the self-storage “community”. It is good to take a breath from the constant travel of client meetings and state/national conferences where, so often, we are speakers and/or exhibitors on the go.
This “Last Word” of mine is intended to be positive about the changes that are occurring, theinformation services that are emerging to serve our industry, while providing better products/services to the customer. Our niche industry is thriving, and there are many new participants who are looking to the “seasoned veterans” to help establish themselves and their companies. The new participants soon understand that self-storage is not just another real estate deal but an operating business where economies of scale are important. However, providing the best products and customer service to your customers is what really matters.
Our SVN Commercial Real Estate Advisors team had a great conference and met many new potential clients and vendors by making the time and effort to attend the conference, seminars, Economic Summit, and exhibit in the trade show hall. I was personally able to attend three of the sessions on the last day of the conference, including the closing general session where a representative of Google spoke on “Consumer and Advertising Trends” specifically for the self-storage sector. It is interesting to see our industry embrace the information, services, and technology which has taken our industry from the “build it and they will come” mentality of the 2004 to 2008 time period to now, where we potentially have the ability to target market to baby boomers, Gen Xers, millennials, and potential customers who don’t know that they are going to be renters in the future. That’s really how far we have come, so far, and we are eager to learn how we can get better at what we do best.
So, make the most of the conferences by hearing firsthand what many of the speakers have to say and value the relationships of fellow vendors within the self-storage community as I have enjoyed over the years with introductions to great people like Hardy Good who made themselves accessible to newcomers like myself.