By John Dunlap for the CSSA
Some people think the old ways are the best – those Andy Griffith episodes never get old. Some people live for the new – another Avengers spinoff? Great! But to find a person who can bring out the best of the old and the new at the same time, now that is a potent combination. So it is with Evaristo Arroyo, manager of the West L.A. Mini Storage. He understands that old school manners and kindness go a long way, but he also understands the value of modern-day Internet marketing.
Arroyo’s story is proof positive that self storage may be one of the most democratic industries in America – anyone can succeed. Many people like him come into the business with a minimal understanding of the industry but make great strides over a short period of time and take their facilities to new heights.
Evaristo Arroyo was self employed and had a booth at a local swap meet. He would attend auctions at Mini Storage to find more items to sell and had a brother who knew the manager of the facility. Arroyo was invited to apply for an assistant manager position. He was hired and eventually made his way to manager of the 643 unit facility.
His belief in old school values and treating people the way he would want to be treated manifested themselves from the get-go.
“My strongest skill is my customer service,” Arroyo says. “I think people can tell that I’m sincere in wanting to help and I continuously go out of my way to give each customer a personal experience when they visit. So they leave happy to spread the word about our facility. I’m really happy that so many people have left such great reviews about me and my facility.”
Rhonda Haley of Mini Storage adds, “He’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet and also one of the hardest working, most diligent managers we’ve ever had. We’ve had two large campaigns this year that required managers to put forth a focused effort in engaging with their tenants and Evaristo blew all the other managers out of the water both times, winning by large margins. There’s no secret why he’s up in revenue by 6% this year. It has a lot to do with Evaristo’s hard work and hustle.”
And it also helps that Arroyo has embraced the computer world and the Internet. When he was first hired he had no computer skills but gradually learned how to use a computer and gain new customers.
“West Los Angeles is a growing community and we wanted to take advantage of that by reaching people before they even move to the area,” Arroyo says. “The best way we reach prospective customers is through the Internet. So we combined Internet marketing with our great customer service to get over 100 reviews in the past year. Currently, we have a five-star rating on Google and Yelp and it’s such a feeling of accomplishment when someone comes in and they say ‘You’re Evaristo! We heard so many great things on Yelp!’”
West L.A. Mini Storage is active in supporting its local community, being members of the Culver City Chamber of Commerce. It also sponsors the LA Rugby Club. Its main event is its annual Art Walk event that is free for community members and artists to attend. At the Art Walk, West L.A. Storage provides food from a local vendor, music from a local DJ, and on top of displaying artwork from local artists, provides a number of children’s activities.
“We work with the South Bay Children’s Health Center (SBCHC), a non-profit organization that provides high-quality dental and mental health services to low income children and their families in the South Bay area,” adds Arroyo. “We hold a raffle at our Art Walk and all the proceeds are donated to SBCHC. They also host a marathon fundraising event called Champions for Children 5K, and we plan to get a team together to raise funds.”
When it comes to the California Self Storage Association, Arroyo is a big believer in the benefits of membership.
“I have attended some trainings that have been held by the CSSA which I found very helpful. It’s great to be able to see people in the storage industry like Carlos Kaslow come do a training sessions we can attend in our area about things like lien laws.”
A father if five, Arroyo also tends to three dogs and even breeds roosters. His time with his family is special to him.
In the end, his belief in making customers feel special emanates from who he is. And he also has a suggestion for other managers in self storage.
“Never be afraid of someone saying no, but be afraid of missing an opportunity. Make sure to always give each tenant a positive and personal experience when they visit your facility.”
Wise words from Evaristo Arroyo – a man who combines the best of the old with the best of the new.