Contributing Editors

Mini-Storage Messenger Awards Outstanding Green Facility Award

by Holly Robinson April 6, 2010 4:09 PM
Safe & Secure Automated Self Storage, of Coconut Creek, Florida, has received another award for the green facility that it opened last April. Mini-Storage Messenger has selected Safe & Secure as its 2010 Outstanding Green Facility of the Year. Mini-Storage Messenger presents the Outstanding Green Facility Award each year, for a self storage facility with a high level of commitment to the environment and to its local community.

Safe & Secure is the first self storage facility worldwide to use Westfalia Technology's Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS) technology, a new, patent-pending storage automation system. As a result, Safe & Secure has received a lot of media attention nationally and internationally. To access self storage units at Safe & Secure, customers must enter a PIN code (both at the front gate, and at the desired loading door). Then the automated machinery retrieves the customer's storage module, presenting it to the customer at ground level. The building has 539 such modules. One hundred of the modules can store vehicles. [More]

Technicolor Donates Film Collection to George Eastman House

by John Stevens April 6, 2010 5:05 AM
Technicolor has announced that it has donated the older section of its film archive collection to the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, a museum in upstate New York. Eastman House was already housing the world’s largest collection of Technicolor camera negatives. The current donation from Technicolor includes cameras, printers, photos, drawings, and documents that show the creative process that went into the production of Technicolor movies produced between 1915 and 1974.

Until being donated to Eastman House, Technicolor’s archive was kept in its Los Angeles vaults. Technicolor was considering simply throwing the collection out until the George Eastman House agreed to take the archives, Eastman House curator Caroline Frick Page informed the Associated Press. Page called the collection “one of the most unique pieces of film history existing in archives for study today.” [More]

Early Signs of Economic Improvement

by Winnie Hsiu April 5, 2010 2:46 PM
This week brought in plenty of new data for economists and financial analysts. The Consumer Confidence Index statistics for March have come in, and the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index report is in for January. Consumer confidence and home prices are both rising, slowly.

A rising Consumer Confidence Index is good news for self storage operators, as well as for other businesses. Consumers who feel that the economy is good may also feel more confident taking on the responsibility of a month-to-month self storage unit lease. Improvements in housing markets, too, are worthy of cautious optimism. [More]

Small Business Loan Program Extended Through April 30

by Kim Kilpatrick April 5, 2010 2:32 PM
It is not too late for self storage owners or prospective self storage owners who need a small business loan to take advantage of the Small Business Administration’s Recovery Act funding, according to a statement released by the SBA last week. President Barack Obama has signed legislation earmarking another $40 million for the SBA to use to increase the level of its guarantees for small business loans classified as 7 (a), and making it possible for the SBA to pick up the borrower’s fees for loans classified as 7 (a) or as 504.

The original $730 million set aside by Congress for use by the Small Business Administration’s Recovery Act programs was used up by November 2009. Congress provided another $125 million in December, and that lasted until late February of this year. Another $60 million was provided in early March, but that is now gone. Now Congress has set aside another $40 million to extend the program until April 30. [More]

Nogales Commissioners Deny Permit for Border Self Storage Facility

by Holly Robinson April 5, 2010 1:48 PM
Members of the Nogales, Arizona Planning and Zoning Commission voted 3-1 this week to deny Nogales Properties the chance to build a self storage facility on the border. The facility, which would have been classified as a mini-storage, would have had 44 units and would have been placed on a strip of land that used to be home to several cross-border tunnels. Developers have been planning and preparing for the project for two years. [More]

Valparaiso String-a-Longers Display Quilts

by Holly Robinson April 2, 2010 4:17 PM
The Valparaiso, Indiana String-a-Long Quilters have been working with the Porter County Museum to clean and archive the museum’s collection of historic quilts for storage. This weekend, they put the collection on display, featuring, as well, 18 quilts made by String-a-Longer Pat Atwell.

The String-a-Long Quilters have about 75 members, ranging in age from 12 years old to 90, according to guild president Joan Crookston, who spoke at the beginning of the quilt show at the Porter County Expo Center (Bartholomew, Charles. “Quilting show continues today at Expo Center.” Post-Tribune. March 28, 2010). The guild was formed for the purpose of promoting the art of quilting and the preservation of antique quilts. Hundreds of quilt lovers turned out to see the more than 250 quilts displayed in the Expo Center on Saturday and Sunday. Some of the quilts were just finished last week, while others were more than 100 years old, including a quilt that had a souvenir ribbon from William Jennings Bryan’s 1909 Valparaiso speech stitched into it. (Bryan was nominated and ran for president three times.) [More]

Federal Funds Become Available for Cold Storage Loans

by Winnie Hsiu April 2, 2010 4:16 PM
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that its Farm Storage Facility Loan Program will now finance low-interest loans for farmers, to pay for the construction of cold storage facilities. The cold storage facilities must be used by farmers to store fresh fruit and vegetables. The cold storage loans are part of the USDA’s “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” program, a program promoted by the Obama administration to encourage Americans to eat food that has been grown locally. The money to finance the loans was authorized by Congress’ 2008 Farm Bill.

Although the statement released by the Department of Agriculture does not mention self storage, it does not specifically rule out the possibility that self storage facilities could be used to store the nation’s locally grown food. Facilities that apply for federal loans must, however, demonstrate a need for the storage provided by the facility, based on the average production from a particular acreage over three years and the borrower’s share of the production. It is probable that self storage facilities, if they were to apply, would have to enter a business relationship with a farmer whose acreage is in need of storage, and document that relationship for the USDA. However, self storage facilities seem like a natural choice for seasonal food storage, since they offer short term storage at reasonable prices, and can provide refrigerated and/or climate-controlled units. [More]

Google Targets Storage Industry in April Fool’s Day Hoax

by John Stevens April 2, 2010 1:10 PM
Google is famous for its yearly April Foolery. This year, Google targeted the storage industry, issuing a release in its Google Docs blog stating that in addition to its document storage, it would offer physical storage. Google claimed it would store anything. Google would charge $0.10 per kilogram for uploads and downloads. Then, it claimed, users could use “CTRL-F” to find objects around the house such as keys and remote controls. Furthermore, users could share their stored items – just as they can share Google Documents – with other users, anywhere in the world.

“Store your keys, remotes, rail passes, and other objects you commonly lose with Google Docs, and you’ll never have to worry about finding them again,” wrote Peter Harbison, a Google Product Marketing Manager, in the Google Docs Blog for April 1. “Having trouble moving your piano from New York to California? Change your mind and want to share it with your friend in England instead? No problem. With one click you can have your piano delivered to anyone you choose, anywhere in the world.” [More]

Westy Self Storage Announces Results of Haiti Donation Drive

by Kim Kilpatrick April 2, 2010 1:06 PM
In January, Westy Self Storage began a donation drive, in conjunction with Share International, to help victims of the Haitian earthquake. The earthquake killed more than 50,000 Haitians and left more than a million people homeless and destitute. Hundreds of thousands of earthquake survivors settled in camps outside Haiti’s capital city, Port-au-Prince, in the days after the earthquake. Westy collected donations from 16 self storage facilities in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, and moved all the donations to its Wilton, Connecticut location.

Since the beginning of March, volunteers have been sorting through Westy’s donations. Donors had sent clothing, linens, towels, personal hygiene products, and other items. Volunteers packed the donations into boxes, and labeled them to ease the process of going through customs. Then the boxes were loaded into a container and shipped to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. In all, 1200 boxes of donations were sent. [More]

Art Gallery Improves Storage with Rolling Art Racks

by Kim Kilpatrick April 1, 2010 4:33 PM
Comox Valley Art Gallery, a Courtenay, Canada art gallery, has decided to invest in specialized professional art storage racks to store its collection. The racks are on wheels, and can store works of art that are as big as six feet by eight feet. Comox is buying a total of six racks for $15,000. The racks will hold around 100 large paintings and other two-dimensional art works.

Storing art properly can extend its life and reduce wear and tear. But, ordinarily, art placed in archives must be packaged extensively to keep it safe from light and from physical damage. Opening the packaging can complicate and slow the process of choosing art to display for particular exhibits. Using a specialized art rack can make it easier for a museum to store an extensive collection in an organized way, enabling curators to quickly locate and choose art for new exhibits without having to unwrap cumbersome packaging. The racks will also make it easier for visiting art historians and scholars to access the museum’s collection for study and research purposes. [More]
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