NC self storage firm looks for acquisition opportunities

A Raleigh, N.C.-based firm has launched a fund that looks to acquire self storage facilities in the Southeast, and convert them to fully automated operations.

10 Federal said in a news release that it has begun fundraising for a $10 million fund that will target “Mom and Pop” facilities throughout the Southeast, particularly in North Carolina.

The company said it has acquired a self storage property called South Point, in Belmont, N.C., which is the first conversion acquisition for the new fund.

“South Point represented an ideal acquisition for the Fund,” Director of Acquisitions Kris Bennett said in the news release. “It was a ‘Mom & Pop’ operated facility with no website, no online advertising, a large property manager salary and rents that trailed the market.”

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Self-storage exec talks millennial marketing

Be there. Be real. Be efficient.

That was the millennial marketing strategy highlighted at the Tennessee Self Storage Association’s quarterly meeting last week.

The event’s keynote speaker was Daniel Ruble, vice president of marketing at CubeSmart and a University of Tennessee-Knoxville alum. Ruble said that by 2025, 50 percent of U.S. income will be from millennials, defined as the generation born between 1982 and 2000.

While they’re sometimes viewed negatively by older generations, Ruble said millennials’ most significant distinction is simple — their lives have been defined by the technology revolution. The average millennial, he said, has eight connected devices, compared to five for the average Baby Boomer.

What does that mean for marketing to those customers? First, a digital presence — including a well-designed website with pricing information — is crucial. “This is really the cost of entry,” Ruble said. “Millennials expect it.”

Second, it’s crucial to have a strong presence in search engine results. “You have to be presented as a viable option when that customer is in ‘hunt mode,'” Ruble said. He advised attendees to verify their Google Business page, and to consider buying paid search results.

The marketing guru emphasized the importance of authenticity, and said it’s crucial to pay attention to online reviews. When a negative review is posted, he said it’s important to respond quickly.

He also said self storage owners should ask for positive reviews, including handing out cards that explain how customers can leave a review, and following up with an email.

Finally, he said, owners should be efficient, possibly even discouraging some customers from renting. As an example, he said owners might want to avoid marketing to college students if their facilities are mostly full. Instead, they should focus on attracting customers who will be more likely to rent for a long term.

And even as millennials see the world differently, some things never change — like many customers, Ruble said, they love a good deal. “(They) tend to gravitate more toward the units that have some sort of free rent tied to it,” he added.

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Self storage facility opens in Hardin Valley

By Josh Flory

A new self storage facility opened for business this weekend in one of Knoxville’s fastest-growing communities.

Climate Storage is a three-story, climate-controlled facility at the corner of Hardin Valley Road and the Pellissippi Parkway. It’s owned by four partners, and also includes more than 200 drive-up storage units.

Ed Campbell, one of the partners, said he feels the Hardin Valley community is at the epicenter of Knoxville’s growth, and is a great location because it would be difficult for competitors to find a better spot.

“That’s what you worry about in this business, somebody making one good project into two crappy projects by throwing one up near you,” he said. “That’s probably unlikely, based on what we have and where we have it.”

Campbell said another group had planned a storage facility across the street, but instead the two sides joined forces to develop Climate Storage. Campbell and his partner, Ed Drummond, then took a stake in a different storage project that the other group was developing, on Middlebrook Pike.

Chris Bailey, a manager for Climate Storage, said the facility will feature Wi-Fi throughout the property, approximately 90 security cameras and, eventually, a website that allows customers to rent and access a unit at any time.

The third story of the building has not yet been divided into individual units, and the owners will wait to see what the demand is for various sizes. Campbell explained that “you kind of want to use it to scratch where people are itching. You won’t know that until people get there.”

The climate-controlled portion of the facility is visible from the Pellissippi Parkway, while the roll-up units are laid out to the east. When it comes to deciding the percentage of climate- versus non-climate units on a project, Campbell said that it’s “kind of an art and science, it’s not for the faint of heart to figure all that out.”

“When I first thought about doing storage I thought, ‘Well, this will be as easy as falling off a log,’ and I found out it’s not,” he said. “I’m so glad I’ve got a partner who’s done them.”

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Report: Nashville self storage site sells for $4M an acre

The Tennessean reports that a 0.7-acre site near Charlotte Avenue, in Nashville, has been sold for $2.8 million, in preparation for a self storage and retail facility.

In February, Nashville’s Metro Council approved a zoning change to allow a four-story facility on the site, which is located at 4305 and 4307 Alabama Avenue. The Tennessean reports that a Florida developer has submitted a final site plan for the project, which is currently being reviewed by Metro officials.

A preliminary site plan is available at this link. For more details, see the Tennessean story here.

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Manager of the Year talks delinquencies, marketing and difficult customers

Last month, Allen Baxter of A+ Storage of Tennessee, property manager for the Nolensville, Tenn., location, was named 2016 Manager of the Year by the Tennessee Self Storage Association.

Baxter has been a property manager with A+ Storage for over 5 years and has received several awards including the A+ Storage Manager of the Year twice. In a Q-and-A with Josh Flory, of NAI Koella Moore, Baxter talked about his success at reducing delinquencies, new strategies for marketing and his most challenging customer interaction.

How did you get into the storage business?
I was looking for a job in the management area and found the ad on Craigslist. I grew up in Nolensville so I thought, ‘Hey, it’s perfect. A job in the town I grew up in.’ I had no clue about the storage business but I’ve learned a lot over the last five years and continued to grow and love the industry.

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Middle Tennessee self storage facility moving forward

The Nashville Post reports that a $10 million self storage project in Germantown will go before Metro planners in April.

Nashville-based Mark Tarver, president of Tarver Properties, is teaming with Jewell Hale and Bobby Kirby on the project. The six-story mixed-use building will offer 90,000 square feet of self-storage and 6,500 square feet of retail and have an address of 1232 Third Ave. North.

For more details, read the full story here.

Maynardville self-storage facility sold

A 120-unit self-storage property in Maynardville, Tenn., has been sold for $505,000.

County Line Storage is a 120-unit facility at 211 Maynardville Highway. New owner Jay Gulledge, of Knoxville, said the deal also included a 1,500-square-foot office-warehouse that is leased to the former owner for a separate business.

“They were planning to vacate, but one of my biggest concerns was being able to lease out that building,” Gulledge said. “I got them to agree to a one-year lease to get the cap rate up.”

The self-storage units are currently 80 percent occupied, but Gulledge is hoping to boost the occupancy over the coming months.

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TNSSA panelists discuss the ins-and-outs of self-storage marketing

Allen Baxter, Grace Anderson and Alan Washburn listen as TNSSA director Melissa Roberts introduces the panel discussion.

From guerrilla tactics to Google AdWords, marketing was the topic du jour at Tuesday’s 1st Quarter luncheon of the Tennessee Self Storage Association.

During a panel discussion at The Chattanoogan, attendees heard from Allen Baxter, a manager with A Plus Storage in Nolensville; Grace Anderson, of Absolute Storage Management; and Alan Washburn, who owns four storage properties in Tennessee.

While many self storage owners focus on customers who are going through life changes, Washburn pointed out that it’s also helpful to focus marketing efforts on the service providers who are involved in those changes. Among other things, his company places ads in the offices of divorce attorneys and builds relationships with homeowners associations.

“Most people don’t like HOA’s, but we love them because they don’t let (residents) store stuff,” he said.

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Two self-storage projects taking shape in Lenoir City

By Josh Flory

A veteran operator and a newcomer to the industry have targeted the same stretch of Highway 321, in Lenoir City, for new storage facilities.

Volunteer Storage, which has six properties in East Tennessee, is converting the former Great Wakes boat dealership into climate-controlled storage units and outdoor storage spaces.

Buddy Brackfield of Brackfield and Associates, which owns Volunteer Storage, said the project will include 80 inside storage units, more than 100 outside spaces for campers, boats and RVs, plus 3,200 square feet of inside storage for boats and vehicles. The facility, which is nearing completion, will also include an indoor wash bay and more than a dozen security cameras, and will be accessible to customers 24 hours a day.

Brackfield said his team tore out approximately 9,000 square feet of finished space in the building, converting offices and kitchen space to storage cubicles, but said they didn’t disturb any of the property’s firewalls.

He said the facility will not only serve the Loudon County market but is also convenient to Farragut and West Knoxville. “Obviously the growth for Lenoir City is northbound,” he added, “and we’re on the northbound side of (I-40). We’ve got easy access across 321, and so it makes good sense … where we are for this location.” Continue reading