10 Years in, Her Love for Self Storage Continues to Grow
Monday, June 9, 2014
Posted by: Brenda Lafontaine
10 Years in, Her Love for Self
Storage Continues to Grow
started out as a bookkeeper with little or no knowledge of the self storage
industry. She met a person who also was a newcomer to the industry but wanted
to give self storage a try and asked her to manager his first facility. And
now, 10 years later, Cathy Soria has come to enjoy the self storage business
the same way that visitors to San Francisco come to love her city. And Arco’s
Self Storage has taken off, acquiring five properties in the last year alone.
an outsider to the self storage industry, Soria not only had to learn the ins
and outs of running a self storage facility, but also the psychological aspects
of dealing with customers and their needs. It was a major lifestyle shift from 20
years as a bookkeeper.
meeting Emilio Arco before he opened his first store and getting to know him
and hearing about his new business of self storage, I was quite intrigued,”
says Soria. "He, too, was changing industries after 20 years and he asked me
come on board and manage the still-to-be-built property in South San
Francisco. It was quite a change from just crunching numbers all day
since I had never been in a retail/customer service position. I had
always lived behind the scenes of companies, just me and my calculator.”
started with 200 units and a dream has grown, thanks tohard work and many
long days, into a self storage business that has continued to grow and expand on
a yearly basis. When discussing some of the keys to success for Arco’s Self
Storage, Soria actually feels her time working outside of self storage has
helped both she and Emilio empathize with the customer.
pride ourselves on our customer service and never forgetting what it was like
to be on the other side of the counter,” Soria says. "Too many times I think
that people start a business and they forget the little things that really make
a difference to your customers. Besides our properties being secure,
extremely clean and competitively priced, we always make sure that our
restrooms are clean, we write Thank You cards to all new tenants, we have hot
coffee and cold water in the office, and we even send out birthday cards!”
what sort of customer stories does she have to tell?
there are many happy stories of marriage, babies and travels.There are
always the sad stories of divorce and death, too.I receive lovely gifts
from customers when they return from their travels around the world.It
always touches my heart that they think of me so far from home.I’ve seen
kids grow up, wine collections grow, and people come back and rent years later
and I love to see their smile when they walk in the door especially when I
remember their name!”
might imagine, learning the ropes about self storage involved finding the right
places and times to ask questions and network. And that is where her
association with the CSSA has proved helpful.
CSSA is invaluable for any storage facility, owner and manager,” adds Soria. "They
are always the first place to start when you need something or have a
question. Erin always makes herself available and the CSSA offers many
classes and networking gatherings.They are always worth attending.”
might imagine, Soria has a special place in her heart for good causes and
Arco’s Self Storage works with many local and national charities, including the
local fire department for the Toys for Tots Program, Rebuild Together and The
American Cancer Society.
her philosophy for being a successful self storage business also reflects the
fact that she came into the industry as an outsider.
think of your customers and what would make them happy!”
goes to show that even a bookkeeper of 20 years can find happiness in self