(The cast of Storage Wars, one of many popular storage auction television shows.)
If you have ever been channel surfing while watching television, it is hard to deny that storage auction programs have become incredibly popular. While the craze may have been started by the hit series Storage Wars in 2010, it has sparked an entire phenomenon surrounding storage auctions. This is great for the self-storage industry, as it has provided a platform for average Americans to familiarize themselves a bit with the world of self-storage.
The premise of these shows is based on the concept of legal storage auctions. Storage auctions occur as the result of tenants failing to pay rent for a given period of time. If rent is not received by the facility owner within this time period, it is within the facility’s right to auction off the contents of the unit in order to re-coup the rent owed to them by the former tenant as well as clear out their unit for new occupancy.
These shows capture my interest for a variety of reasons. Here are the major aspects of the shows that pique my interest:
You never know what you’re going to find inside of a self-storage unit. There are frequently all kinds of interesting stuff that people put away into storage and forget about. Many people write this idea off, believing that if something has been left away in storage for a long period of time, than it is probably worthless. That is not true! If someone was originally willing to invest the time and money involved in putting something away in self-storage, chances are there is something of value in whatever was stored. Whether it’s monetary or sentimental value, there is usually something uniquely interesting about the items that are found. Everyone has old tchotchke type items that are fun to uncover regardless of how much money they may end up being worth.
Competition makes entertainment. American viewers are always looking to distinguish a clear winner from a group of contestants. This idea is the same in many other successful forms of television entertainment including sports, American idol, and even coverage of political elections. These shows keep track of how much each auction hunter spends on the units they purchase as well as how much money they make selling the items inside. The winner is the team that turns the greatest profit off their units. The competition aspect of the show is a huge part of its entertainment value. Many people choose their favorite team and root for them to succeed. This makes the self storage industry, which is not as “exciting” for most as sports and entertainment, more fun and interesting for the average American viewer.
(Picture from Storage Auctions mobile app game.)
In my experience with watching storage auction shows, I have found that I am often inspired by some of the ideas that the bidders have for the items found within the units. It is truly amazing what some of the participants on storage auction shows are able to do with the items they uncover. There is a real art in finding someone else’s damaged possessions or junk and turning them into something of value. It also promotes the resourceful reuse of old items and junk. The ability to take something that may no longer be useful to someone and make it something new is a valuable one in this world, and a large part of why watching storage auction shows can be amazing.
If you have never seen any of these television shows, I highly recommend you give them a chance. I don’t want to play favorite with any particular program, so I recommend that you see what is out there and give a couple of them viewing opportunities. It is a great way to generally familiarize yourself with what the self-storage world looks like. There is also a tremendous amount of entertainment value to take advantage of. Just don’t get hooked, it can be easy to end up watching all day!
(A mix of fright and humor in this Halloween display. Photo credit: Halloween Sayings)
1. The Classic Witch-Broom-Crash Decoration
This is my personal favorite Halloween decoration that I see in yards every Halloween. The witch crashing her broom decoration is easily the best Halloween decoration, as it does not even try to use witches as a scare factor. Instead, this decoration is living proof that witches are no longer scary, they’re funny! I love seeing these witch decorations everywhere, so I encourage you to go get yours out of storage and put it up ASAP!
2. Your Hanging Skeletons
Skeletons are a classic part of any Halloween decoration display. They look scary, and the idea of a reanimated skeleton zombie is downright frightening. Make sure you get your skeleton decorations out of storage and hang them up for your display. You could even set them up to be dancing skeletons; just make sure you hang the skeletons from your storage unit and not the skeletons buried in your closet!
3. Scary (or Funny) Fake Gravestones
There is no scarier decoration for your display than a fake graveyard. Graveyards are the iconic site of all Halloween related horror. They also pose the threat of attack from lurking, flesh-eating zombies. Get your fake gravestone decorations from your storage unit, and put them up in your yard. One clever idea is to put names on the gravestones in order to enhance their effect. For example, I have seen tombstones for people like Jack the Ripper in order to make them scarier. In contrast, you could add an element of humor by making the gravestones for a pet named “Fluffy” or for something that no longer gets used like “Typewriters”.
4. Gigantic Inflatable Decorations
Ah yes, the inflatable lawn decorations that seem to exist in every shape, size, and holiday theme imaginable. How about your giant vampire display? Or your 8-foot tall jack-o-lantern? Pull those bad boys out of storage and get them set up on your lawn. The bigger the decoration, the scarier. Come on, everyone knows that.
5. Your Black Cat
Every good Halloween decoration display needs a black cat. Black cats are the ultimate symbol of the spooky atmosphere that makes Halloween what it is. Nothing sends a chill down young trick-or-treaters’ spines like an ominous black cat in their path. Talk about bad luck! However, I feel the need to include a disclaimer on this suggestion. When you put your black cat decoration back into storage, be sure it’s not your own cat!
(Soccer fans in Atlanta enjoying a game. Photo credit: PRWeb)
I am going to start this blog with a disclaimer: I am a major football fan. You will always find me somewhere on Sundays in the early fall, draped in a Cincinnati Bengals jersey and loudly broadcasting my opinion of the officiating. Watching both NCAA and NFL football are things that I look forward to doing all week. However, I have realized this weekend that there is a new trend developing for socializing and watching morning sports on the weekend. It’s the other “football”: Soccer.
I am a big fan of soccer and follow many of the international leagues around the world. From the Premier League to La Liga, I have always found soccer to be an incredibly fascinating sport. However, I had always assumed that I was alone in this regard, as I have grown up my whole life hearing dissenters with their usual complaints of, “This is boring.” and “Why don’t they score more goals?” Many Americans refuse to give soccer a chance. While I understand and can sympathize with many of these critiques, I had my mind instantly changed this weekend and I believe that even those who are sour on the sport would enjoy if they’d give it a chance.
I made my way with a few friends to a local pub at 9:00 am PDT on Saturday (aka, 2 hours before NCAA kickoff) to watch two of the more popular European teams, Barcelona and Real Madrid. Our usual local spot, we expected the pub to be a relaxing atmosphere to watch the game before getting ready to go wild over football. Instead, we found ourselves in a crowd standing shoulder to shoulder, chanting and singing in support of their teams. It was amazing to see so many passionate fans about soccer.
I ended up having a blast watching the game. What I also learned is that soccer in no way has to replace football on the weekend in order for me to take advantage of this awesome environment. The soccer fans are just like every other sports fanatic, knowledgeable and always enthusiastic about discussing how they feel about any game, player, or event. Everyone else at the pub was equally as excited for college football to get underway after the game as they were about the soccer match itself.
If you think you don’t like soccer, I urge you to give it a chance. It is a great way to just increase the amount of awesome sports action available on the weekend. Take a chance, and go down to a local spot for a game.
I continued my SSA conference tour last week at the Tri-State Conference in Laughlin, Nevada organized by the California, Nevada, and Arizona Self Storage Associations. Self-storage operators and vendors from the three states came together at the Golden Nugget Casino for a series of talks and networking events. I hopped in the car on Thursday morning with some coffee and a Game of Thrones book on tape to tackle the drive across the desert from Los Angeles.
Personally, it was my first trip to Laughlin and I was excited to check out a city that I had heard a lot about but had never seen for myself. I travelled down the Needles Freeway and was welcomed to Laughlin by the many billboards that advertised shows for country music stars Toby Keith and Tim McGraw. I can’t say I listen to much country music, but the billboards were the first among what would be many charming characteristics of the town. The spirit of the Southwest can be found all throughout Laughlin. The wide brimmed hats and cowboy boots were a distinct change from the apparel that I normally see people wearing on the streets of LA. I enjoyed it all greatly, as seeing new places and cultural trends is one of my favorite parts about travelling. Combining that with my love of the self-storage industry made the trip a dream come true.
This was the first edition of the tri-state get together and I was pleasantly surprised by the turnout. I recognized many faces from other SSA events and was able to connect with many of them again. One truly fun part about repeatedly attending SSA events is that I become better friends with others in the industry at each event I go to. I also got a chance to listen to a variety of informative lectures ranging in topic from investment in self-storage to the organization of UPREITs.
There was also some time for recreation on the trip. The networking cocktail receptions put on for the event were a great time. The atmosphere was energetic and inviting, which made getting to know new people and having conversations seamless. It was also a great way to talk about business in a more casual, relaxed setting. If you’re new or unfamiliar with the people in self-storage, I find that they are generally outgoing, down-to-earth people who are happy to meet people. This was really an enjoyable way to engage in the conference. After the Friday reception, I got a chance to have some personal fun playing blackjack as well. Or at least, it was fun while I was making money (If only I had hit on that 16…) After a rollercoaster of emotions, I ended up making it out without losing too much money and had a fantastic time before heading back home.
All in all, the conference was a big success. It was a great opportunity to learn, meet people, and it provided exposure for both Storitz and myself personally. Hopefully the first Tri-State Conference isn’t the last one, and we can make it back to Laughlin next year. Can’t wait to see everybody there!
(Festival goers enjoying a delicious bier.)
October is one of my favorite months of the year. Aside from the start of the NBA season (the holiest of days), the month brings a special holiday that is near and dear to heart. Many might guess that it is Halloween. While I have nothing against Halloween, I am referring to holiday in which men and women wear much better costumes. I am talking, of course, about Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest is a festival that originated in Munich, Germany. It is held annually at the end of September and beginning of October. The festival is highlighted by parades, carnival attractions, and a delicious food market. Traditional Bavarian clothing, such as lederhosen and dirndls, are worn by many festival goers as a celebration of the region’s heritage. There is also live music and dance floors where people can go to have a good time in the way of the old country. However, there is one aspect of Oktoberfest that gives the holiday its legendary reputation around the world.
Beer. Or as the Germans call it…Bier. Oktoberfest beer is some of the finest crafted beer in the world. For the Munich Oktoberfest, only beer that is brewed according to traditional Munich beer standards is permitted to be served at the festival. Furthermore, all beer must be brewed within the city limits of Munich. The result is an amazing selection of some of the finest quality beer in the world.
(Löwenbräu is famous for its Oktoberfestbier, which is among my favorites.)
Many cities today have their own Oktoberfest celebrations. I recently attended the Oktoberfest celebration in Montrose, a suburban neighborhood in northern Los Angeles. The spirit of Munich was alive and well, despite it being a hot southern California day. The festival atmosphere was infectious. I met people from all around the area who were as enthusiastic as I was about the prospect of music, games, and social drinking. The only hard part was getting up the next morning.
Though Oktoberfest has passed us by, I highly recommend anyone who hasn’t experienced the holiday to mark it on the calendar for next year. Find a celebration in your area, grab yourself a nice pair of lederhosen, and get ready to have a blast. Or, if you can’t wait for next year, get out there now and bring some late Oktoberfest spirit to the world.
6:45 am – Wake up. Ugh. Who schedules a trade show to start at 8 am?
7:15 am – Showered and dressed. Must go find coffee.
7:30 am – Coffee. Suddenly feeling like a human being and excited for the trade show.
7:45 am – Arrive at the Storitz booth, ready to rock and roll.
8:00 am – Attendees are invited to enter the tradeshow.
8:35 am – Attendees actually enter the tradeshow. From my conversation, seems I wasn’t the only one moving slow this morning.
9:00 am – Event presentations begin. The presentation hall shares a room with the trade show and stole all the foot traffic. Feeling lonely.
11:00 am – Back to presenting the booth to attendees. Lots of people come by the exhibit, interested in Storitz.
11:30 am – Too many people to handle at once. It beats being lonely. People definitely want to hear about Storitz.
12:30 pm – Lunch break. Delicious roast beef wrap sandwiches. Mmm, roast beef.
1:30 pm – Sit-in on presentation about most common legal mistakes a person can make in self storage. It was an informative lecture.
2:45 pm – Exhibits are opened up again. Traffic is much slower than in the morning. Take some time to meet exhibitors from the booths around me.
4:30 pm – The last of the attendee traffic dies down, and most other exhibits begin to be taken down early. The Storitz booth is seeing if it can be the last exhibit standing.
4:45 pm – Self Storage Association representatives will not allow me to leave the booth up any longer.
5:30 pm – Booth is packed up. Trade show is over for the day. Time for dinner and a big bet on red.
(Apple customers in line for the iPhone 6. Picture from Canada.com)
As was widely anticipated, the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus created quite a bit of excitement over this past week. And why wouldn’t it? It’s the new iPhone. Everyone must have it, and they must have it NOW.
When I say everyone, you can be sure I am including myself. I was among the hordes of people that felt it was necessary to go out and stand in line to get the new iPhone within the first week of its release. I could not have been more ready to trade in my old phone, a refurbished iPhone 4 that acted up more than an infant on a crowded airliner. Seriously, the only thing that dropped faster than the calls I tried to make on that phone was the battery life. Anytime I tried to use it, I constantly reminded myself of the words of Rodney Ruxin from the popular FX television show The League, “The app I want for my phone, is Phone.” With the release of the 6, I saw an opportunity to escape the title of “Obsolete” that so many of my friends and co-workers had bestowed upon me, and finally be a member of the “elite” cutting-edge technology crowd.
Reports in the news from today are recounting stories of thefts, fights, and riots at Apple stores all over the country that are resulting from the release of the iPhone 6 (From Business Insider: http://www.businessinsider.com/fights-at-apple-stores-over-iphone-6-2014-9). I can’t say I saw anything exciting like this happen on my visit to the Pasadena Apple store. However, there were definitely a ton of people there who had the same idea that I did. Perhaps the controlled atmosphere was due to the fact that, rather than leaving it up to chance, two police officers had been posted at the entrance to the store starting the night before the release.
It is pretty incredible how wildly popular Apple’s products are. People are willing to go to outstanding lengths just to be among the first proud owners of a particular device. I understand waiting in line to get it. It was a fun, albeit tedious, experience that felt rewarding and ended with me finally feeling comfortable with my cell phone. However, I can’t imagine ever doing something like fighting someone over it. But it seems as though there are many people out there who are willing to that and more. I have not heard of anything like it since the stories of similar behavior surrounding the release of new Air Jordan brand sneakers (see picture below).
(From Instagram: Customers at a Foot Locker riot at an Air Jordan sneaker release)
Whatever it is about Apple’s products, they are certainly doing something right if they command this level of popularity. The weekend release was the largest phone release in history, with 10 million phones sales excluding the massive market in China where the phone will likely be released next year (From Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/briansolomon/2014/09/22/iphone-6-breaks-record-with-10-million-sold-even-without-china).
When all is said and done though, I understand why both demand and sales are so high. I love my new iPhone 6, and it seems like many people around the world feel the same about the phone. What do you think about the popularity of products like Apple’s? Are they TOO popular?
If your experience at the SSA conference in Las Vegas recently was anything like mine, you probably did more networking and collected more information than you even know what to do with. That’s great, as both are signs that you had a successful conference. However, it is important to be sure that you follow through on your efforts in order to advantage of what you learned. Here are a few things you should be sure to do in order to wrap-up your conference experience:
-Collect and organize the business cards you collected. It is important to stay in touch with the members of the self-storage industry that you established connections with.
-Upload your contacts into your CRM system. If you don’t use CRM software, create a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to place them in for easy electronic access. You will need these in order to…
-Follow-up with interested contacts. The contacts you established at the conference are useless unless you take the initiative to re-connect with them. Don’t let your 1 am bonding moment at the hotel bar be a wasted networking opportunity.
-Do research on the people and businesses that you discovered at the conference. Perhaps there was an exhibit you remember discovering and finding interesting, but did not get a chance to look at in depth. Contact them and mention the conference, you were both there and could offer each other insight.
-Develop new business strategies based on what you learned. Utilize the feedback you received from others at the conference. Taking into account the suggestions of operators and vendors is a great way to improve your business.
-Share your Vegas experience on social media. Show off pictures of your booth and of your conference team. Maybe leave out some of the pictures from the cocktail after-party. We included a picture of our booth here!
-Do research on additional self-storage conferences you can attend in the future. Your successful exposure does not have to be limited to Las Vegas. SSA has conferences all over the country, and they are all terrific opportunities to network.
-Explain your Las Vegas hotel bill to your boss. Those $10 mini-bar M&M’s looked so good at the time…
Each of these steps seems easy, but they are essential in order to fully take advantage of the prospects presented by the conference. Follow these steps and do not squander the opportunity for yourself and your business. Otherwise, you will find yourself having to wait for the next Las Vegas SSA Conference in order to get another chance.
Hey everyone, Kevin here, the newest member of the Storitz team. Recently, we attended the Self Storage Association’s Las Vegas Conference. As the newbie here at Storitz, I was not sure what to expect from the experience. Here are the top 5 most surprising observations I made at the conference.
1) The world of self-storage is huge! I was amazed by just how large the conference was. The trade-show hall at Caesar’s Palace was packed with all kinds of booths, exhibits, and tables. As soon as the conference began, there were hundreds of people filling the hall. This was good news for the Storitz booth, as I could not even keep track of all the people coming by to visit.
2) There were people from all over the country, and the world! I met self-storage enthusiasts from coast to coast across the United States. It was interesting to hear many of the similarities and differences in the self-storage that exist from place to place. I even met business owners from outside the United States. I got chance to meet several business owners from Canada and even one from Japan!
3) There are so many different aspects of the self-storage industry! From operating a facility to developing storage software, there are a million ways to get involved in the self-storage industry. I was able to learn so much by discussing the industry with other attendees. The SSA conference gives you access to all the experts, making there no better place to learn everything about self-storage.
4) The food was great! To be honest, I did not expect this to be among the highlights of the conference before we got there. However, I could not have been more wrong. From the delicious roast beef sandwiches at lunch to the chicken tikka satay at the reception, I found myself going back for more delicious food at every opportunity.
5) Las Vegas was a great conference location! I had always imagined Las Vegas as a place where everything got done, except for work. However, the bright lights and social environment really had a positive effect on the conference. The SSA sponsored cocktail events utilized the Vegas atmosphere to create a fun setting in which to mingle with others in the self-storage industry.
Can’t wait until next year’s conference. Stay tuned.
Los Angeles, CA –With football season rapidly approaching, Storitz wants to remind you to visit your self-storage facility to pick-up everything you need to be prepared to cheer your team on to victory. Here are 5 important things we thought of:
1. Your Fantasy Football Draft Board – The members of your Fantasy Football League have been waiting all offseason for the legendary, annual event that promises eternal honor and glory: Draft Night. Upon your league’s Fantasy Draft Board will be written the rosters which will determine who amongst your friends is a champion, and who will be considered (and constantly reminded) that they are a terrible Fantasy Football owner. Don’t forget to pickup your Fantasy Football Draft Board and any other draft supplies you may have had in storage since last February. We still have a lost Draft Board from 2010 with number 1 overall pick Tim Tebow. Ouch.
2. Your Autographed Picture of your Favorite Player – Remember that time you got to meet him? He was the greatest defensive player of his generation, “much tougher” than the young guns of today. It was years ago, but you can still remember it like it was yesterday. Where did that picture go? You could never find a place for it, and you stored it with the rest of your stuff. Head down to your storage facility and grab that picture and start teaching the modern fan about how the game used to be.
3. Your Barbecuing Equipment – Nothing says football season like a barbecue with…anyone really. No matter who you are or where you are from, football and barbecues are a blast. It’s been so long since you and your friends from school got together or maybe it’s just an excuse to see everyone from the neighborhood. Don’t let your barbecuing equipment sit in storage when you could be enjoying burgers, beers, and great game.
4. Your Team Gear – Any fan can simply show up to support their team. However, you do it in style. You have the best fan costume of any of your friends. You put it away in storage for the offseason, but it’s that time of year again. Don’t forget to grab your face-paint. You would look pretty ridiculous in public in your elaborate costume if you didn’t wear any face-paint.
5. Your Lucky Couch – You remember the year you bought that couch. Your team had won the Super Bowl that season and you had watched every minute, sunken into the cushions of your favorite spot, while all the while you wept on the couch in pure joy. Now it seems like years since you watched your team hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy in triumph, and your significant other has forced you to replace it. It’s not too late. Go get that Lucky Couch from storage, grab a beer, and sit your team to victory.