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The entrance of the front office at A-1 Self Storage in Belmont, California.

From Customer to Team Member: Happy 4-Year Anniversary to Antonio!

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Here at A-1 Self Storage, we know our success is due to our wonderful team. The care they give our customers is unparalleled and we want to highlight their milestones along the way. Below is an interview with Antonio, who is celebrating his 4-year anniversary with A-1 Self Storage.

Antonio works at A-1 Self Storage in Belmont, California.

Antonio is a Sales Associate at A-1 Self Storage in Belmont, California.

Jodie: What has it been like working for one company for 4 years?

Antonio: It’s been quite interesting actually. Prior to here, I worked in retail management for 22 years and I thought I’d seen it all, but it’s been quite an interesting 4 years! I’ve learned a lot and I believe I’ve grown a lot both on a professional and personal level. 

Jodie: Tell me how you have grown professionally during these 4 years. 

Antonio: I believe I’ve learned a little bit due to my prior experience. Like I said, I was in retail management for 22 years and mostly in customer service, so it’s quite hectic and busy, and this has been different because it hasn’t been as demanding. There are a lot of people that come to need storage for a variety of reasons. You know there are always different circumstances, different time limits, timeframes, there are always challenges to work with for every customer.

Jodie: What is your position?  

Antonio: I’m a sales associate. 

Jodie: Is this the only facility you have worked at for A-1 Self Storage? 

Antonio: Actually no, there was a time where I worked at the Old Oakland store in San Jose.  

Jodie: Do you still have aspirations to go into management?

Antonio: I most certainly do. I always want to help expand my knowledge to help the company and expand professionally.

Jodie: How have you grown personally? 

Antonio: This work has taught me to slow things down and have patience. I didn’t realize it, but in my 22 years in retail, it got to be quite hectic. I’m good about organizing and being quick on my feet, but I think when I came here, and the transition I made here, it made me realize I needed to finetune my personal touch with individuals and their specific needs, listen more, and be more attentive to detail to benefit those around me, whether they are customers or co-workers. 

Jodie: Are there any customers in particular who have left a positive impression on you over the years? 

Antonio: Wow, that is tough because there have been so many. I came across this drawing (going through my locker here at work) that a young man made for me. There were these two customers I was helping, they were getting ready to move to Europe and they lived here for many years. They were having a difficult time with the international movers, and they had a lot on their mind, and their youngest son, I think he was 5 years old, he was with them, and they were having to coordinate a lot of things. As I’m sure you are well aware, kids are very energetic, and they (the parents) were wanting to get some information. So I remembered we had some crayons in the office, and I asked him to draw something for me, and the parents were very grateful and overjoyed. After a little while, he showed me what he was drawing and he made a drawing of himself at the storage facility with his dog, and off to the side was a stick-figure man painted in blue and he had an orange thing around his shoulders. Apparently, I made an impression on him, because he told me that was me! There are a lot of memories, but this one really sticks in my head. 

This crayon drawing on copy paper was made by a happy 5-year-old while his family moved their things into a storage unit.

Jodie: I bet! Do you feel like there is anyone at A-1 Self Storage that has been a mentor to you? 

Antonio: A-1 is a really good team as far as training and teaching each other and supporting each other. I would have to say JP, John, the Facility Manager. He’s actually the one who mentioned originally that there was a job opening here when I applied. In the 4 years that I’ve been here, he’s really taken to make sure I learn proper procedures and training and learn how this facility is run. 

Jodie: How did you know John previous to A-1 Self Storage?

Antonio: Well actually, my ex and I were moving and we needed some storage… and so we were shopping around the area because we lived fairly close to here and when we came up here, we had just rented a unit elsewhere… and we weren’t happy with it. There were just some things that didn’t seem right. When we drove by I saw it. And I’m really a clean freak, security is very important to me, and cleanliness… I thought the facility was new when we drove by! I said, “We should go in there!” and that is where John and James were. They gave us a tour and showed us upstairs, and, long story short, we ended up renting here and canceling our other unit just because they were so friendly and warm!  It just felt right. I know some people would say it’s just storage, but I think the feeling of security and knowing a place is clean is very, very important. Security and cleanliness! More often than I realize, moving can be frustrating.

Jodie: That’s great that you were once a customer. Do you ever use that experience now with customers, like “I was a customer, I understand”?

AntonioYou know what, that has probably happened more often than not, more than I probably realize, and I think it helps me from the perspective that moving can be frustrating. Storage and the different scenarios you come across, sometimes you have to deal with movers, you know, all kinds of different things. I honestly feel it really has given me perspective on how to help customers. 

Jodie: That’s great! While we’re talking about more personal things, do you have any hobbies that you enjoy outside of work?  

Antonio: I do, my life has kind of changed over the last 8-10 years. I was going through some personal things back then and as far as hobbies, I’d have to say, self-betterment. I know it sounds unusual, but my health is really important to me, my mental and physical health, and education. Let’s put it this way, when I first started here I weighed 350 lbs and I’ve actually gotten myself to 140 lbs. 

Jodie: Congrats! 

Antonio: Thank you! You know, it really is my hobby. I love reading anything to do with psychology, I’ve taken a keen liking to psychology. Like most, I enjoy hanging out with friends or family and spending quality time, so that is very precious to me.