Contributing Editors

Worldwide ERC Plans 2010 National and Global Relocation Conferences

by Tony Gonzalez December 31, 2009 5:52 AM
Worldwide ERC, the Workforce Mobility Association, is planning its annual national conference, to take place May 19 - 21, at Walt Disney World Dolphin in Orlando, Florida. The meeting is an opportunity for business leaders who work in fields related to relocation to network with each other, and share ideas and solutions. It is also an opportunity for suppliers, such as self-storage facilities, to provide exhibits that can introduce business leaders to the self-storage resources that are available to relocating employees, and to present the idea that self-storage can be a viable solution for employees who are relocating to cities with a higher cost of living.

The National Relocation Conference will include several optional programs, including one on the fundamentals of U.S. domestic relocation, for newcomers to the relocation profession and for other professionals who would like to have a more comprehensive understanding of the relocation process. [More]

Alaskans May Store Vehicles to Protect Them From Volcanic Ash Fallout

by Holly Robinson December 31, 2009 3:38 AM
One of Alaska's volcanoes, Mt. Redoubt, is beginning to rumble again. Volcanologists at the Alaska Volcano Observatory have put Redoubt on a code yellow state of alert. Code yellow means that Redoubt is showing signs of unrest, beyond its normal background level. Volcanologists use a four-tiered color coding system: green means activity levels are normal and that scientists do not expect an imminent eruption, yellow means that there are signs of unrest, orange means that there has been increasing unrest with a strong potential for eruption, and red means that the volcano is currently erupting.

Most Alaskans are not worried about having to evacuate from their homes -- most live too far from Mt. Redoubt for their lives to be in any danger from an eruption -- but Alaskans do worry about the possibility of an ashfall. It is not unusual for clouds of ash to spew from Alaska's volcanoes as they become more active. To protect machinery and sensitive equipment from ash contamination, it is wise to cover and store them during any periods of ashfall. [More]

Florida Self-Storage Association Hosts Free Education Session

by John Stevens December 30, 2009 12:32 PM
It's not too late to register for the Florida Self-Storage Association's next free education session. The session will be held next Thursday, January 7, from 9 am to noon and from 1 pm to 4 pm. It will be held at the Miami Lakes Marriott Courtyard, at 15700 NW 77th Court.

The education session will feature three guest speakers. Matt Van Horn, from Cutting Edge Self Storage, will speak about how to turn your phone calls into rentals. Jack Ballentine, from Hammer Down Auction Services, will give a lecture entitled "Assuring Unit Foreclosure Compliance." And Rick Yonis, the owner of Sentry Self Storage, will moderate a free-wheeling open forum conversation on operating within the current economic conditions. [More]

Tide Turning in Real Estate Markets; Self-Storage to Outperform the Rest

by Winnie Hsiu December 30, 2009 7:32 AM
The Wall Street Journal this morning predicted a much more stable real estate market for 2010 than the wild ride the market took investors for in 2009.... the WSJ reports that the Dow Jones Equity All REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) Total Return Index is up 31% this year, which means that it has improved over its 2008 performance, when it was down 38%. In 2009, the real estate market showed its strongest performance since 2006. It even outdid the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index, which posted a 25% return. "It's been very much a roller coaster ride this year," noted Goldfarb. "And we're about to end this year on a high note."
....Lucas told the WSJ that he expected self-storage to be one of three types of REITS that will outperform the rest of the market (the other two are industrial and student-housing REITs). Self-storage can be expected to do well because it does not depend on the creation of new jobs. The recession has been less damaging to the self-storage industry, in general, than it has been for other real estate businesses. According to Inside Self Storage, this is partly because self-storage owners use 30-day leases, and therefore have the flexibility to change their rates immediately in response to changes in the market and to changes in demand. ISS also attributes the stability of self-storage companies to the fact that self-storage business owners, unlike the REITs Kirby refers to, tend not to over-leverage their businesses -- they are more likely to keep their leverage within responsible limits. As a result, they are less vulnerable to sudden shifts in the market.... [More]

New British Fire Trucks Sit in Storage Because Phones and Radios Don't Work

by Holly Robinson December 29, 2009 7:53 AM
Self-storage facility owners are always happy to provide storage for vehicles, if they have the space. But it is a shame to see fire trucks sitting in storage when they are needed in service.

England is installing new Firelink radios in its Fire and Rescue Service vehicles. The new radios will allow fire trucks to communicate directly, via a secure digital link, with the centers that receive emergency calls. The new fire trucks, which the British government refers to as Enhanced Command Support vehicles, also are equipped with satellite phones and mobile phone networks. The new system was described by the British government as "ET phone home communications."

Unfortunately, the new technology, which cost £1.5 million, does not work, and nine of the new fire engines have been put into temporary storage as a result. [More]

ISS Announces 2010 Expo Will Focus on Self-Storage Legal Issues

by Tony Gonzalez December 29, 2009 6:43 AM
Inside Self Storage has announced that its 2010 World Expo, which will be held in Las Vegas from March 1-3, will focus on legal issues affecting self-storage owners. On the second day of the Expo, Ohio attorney Jeffrey Greenberger will present a four-hour workshop on legal issues, called "Legal Learning Live." Greenberger is a partner at Katz, Greenberger & Norton in Cincinnati, and runs a website dedicated to legal issues affecting the self-storage industry,"Legal Learning Live" will focus on the legal issues that most concern the self-storage industry: lien sales, protecting tenant privacy, vehicle storage, and abandonment of goods and documents. [More]

Collections in Storage May End Up Becoming Treasure Trove for Academics

by John Stevens December 28, 2009 9:36 AM
Some people may wonder why anyone would think it was worth it to keep a large collection of books (or stamps, doll houses, antique toys, or any other kind of collection) in self-storage. Collecting thousands of items related to one topic might seem like an endless, thankless task. But one reason to persist with a collecting hobby is that books, documents, antiques, and artwork may someday be in demand by academic institutions or museums. For example, today anyone looking for a repository of Sherlock Holmes memorabilia need look no farther than the University of Minnesota, thanks in large part to generous donations from private collectors.

The collection at the University of Minnesota began in 1974, when the university bought private collector James C. Iraldi's 160 volumes of Holmes first editions and periodicals featuring stories about Holmes. Then, in 1978, the widow of Mayo Clinic doctor Philip S. Hench, who was a huge Sherlock Holmes fan, donated his rather extensive Holmes collection. Later, Los Angeles lawyer Les Klinger, the author of The Annotated Sherlock Holmes series, who also provided guidance for Sherlock Holmes, the movie, donated his papers to the library. [More]

Band that Started in Self-Storage Unit Releases New Album

by Kim Kilpatrick December 28, 2009 5:48 AM
Sick Sense, a punk band that formed in Riverside, California, in 1993 and got its start meeting and rehearsing in a self-storage unit, released its new album, "Welcome to the Sick Side," this December.

The band had intended to release the album earlier in 2009, but decided to hold off because of the recession. Thinking that the economy has improved somewhat, Sick Sense decided to release the new album at an early December concert in Canyon Crest, California. "We feel like it's the time to do it," said singer Mando Ochoa. The band gave away CDs of the album to the first 50 people to arrive at the concert. Ochoa took pride in noting that the band's fans span many age groups. "I think the people who just love punk rock music love it until they're 80 to 90 years old," Ochoa commented. "There's no age limit to punk rock." [More]

Car Collection of Utah Ponzi Schemer Seized and Auctioned

by Holly Robinson December 24, 2009 1:00 PM
Federal investigators have seized the car collection of former Utah investment banker Jeffrey Mowen....

Mowen used more than $6 million of the money from his scheme to buy luxury and antique cars and motorbikes. He was storing almost 300 cars, trucks, and motorbikes in storage facilities scattered around Utah. Mowen's cars, which included several replicas (he had replicas of a 1967 Porsche Speedster, a 1931 Ford, a 1925 Ford Woody, a 1937 Ford Opera Limo, and a 2000 Lamborghini, among others), and here an there an odd classic, such as a 1969 Charger, a 1992 Acura NSX and a 1970 GTO Judge. Mowen was also storing a replica of the Harley Davidson motorcycle that Peter Fonda drove in the movie Easy Rider....Although Mowen bought his cars with money from an illegal Ponzi scheme, car collecting is not an unusual hobby. Most people, however, do not have space to store more than one or two cars at their home. There are quite a few storage facilities to choose from in Utah, including Extra Space's own branches. It is best to store cars in a drive-up garage space or drive-up interior space, which would offer protection from the elements and the weather. Extra Space recommends that car owners consider putting a cover over cars in storage. Most Extra Space facilities have car covers available. [More]

Charleston Man's Christmas Village Collection Makes Its Annual Trip Out of Storage

by John Stevens December 24, 2009 9:10 AM
When Danny Beckner, of Charleston, West Virginia, decorates for Christmas, he doesn't just put up a few strings of lights. He goes into storage and pulls out his collection of more than 80 miniature houses and businesses. Beckner's Christmas village collection includes people, pets, horses, a train, and many other accessories. The collection, which once fit in Beckner's living room, now has grown to be so big that it takes up an entire house....

Many people have miniature Christmas village collections, but not everyone knows how to pack and store miniatures to avoid damage. Miniatures need to be stored in a climate-controlled space. To pack a collection, you should gather tissue paper, styrofoam peanuts, packing tape, masking tape, foam, a permanent marker, and two sturdy boxes for each miniature. One box will hold the miniature in its original packaging, and the other is a box to pack the miniature in. Fill all the openings in the miniature with packing materials, such as tissue or shredded styrofoam peanuts. If your miniatures have pieces that come out, such as Beckner's tiny people, wrap each one separately. Place tissue under the dresses of dolls to support the fabric and keep it from being crushed. You can group tiny items in individual bubble wrap envelopes. Make bubble wrap envelopes by taping sections of bubble wrap into envelope pockets that are sized to fit the miniature. Tape the pockets shut when you are done. [More]
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