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 traveling. 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 roller-coaster 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!