It’s always an exciting time when we get to recognize the facilities that have been top performers in their districts. This year, we awarded four District Distinction Awards, and A-1 Self Storage in Fountain Valley was one of the best!
We know it takes a lot more than just a friendly smile to win this award (although that helps), so we spoke with Professional Self Storage Manager Maricela Mendez. She gave us the rundown on all the pieces that came together to set the Fountain Valley team apart.
“I think we won mostly because we grew so much throughout the year,” she said. “Our Yelp reviews were really good too!”
Maricela is especially proud of the win, because her facility is one of the smallest in the district, with just 460 units. It was acquired by A-1 Self Storage in January of 2015, and sits conveniently on the border of Santa Ana and Fountain Valley, California.
The majority of customers at this facility are local area residents storing home items. However, Maricela said that being near a large number of businesses means she sees a fair amount of commercial clients whose self storage needs range from storing merchandise and inventory, to office supplies.
Each of the buildings has a second floor, which helps to reduce the footprint of the facility. The buildings are also equipped with a freight elevator that customers are welcome to use for transporting their belongings between floors. If you are looking for easy access, the facility has many drive-up units as well.
“Drive up access makes it easy for customers to move their stuff in and out. They’re mostly one car garage or larger, aside from a few smaller, oddball-shaped ones,” Maricela said "The layout here is pretty nice, because there’s a lot of space for everyone to move around. You can fit two vehicles or more in between the buildings.”
Another fantastic amenity is the 24-hour automated kiosk outside the office. This kiosk enables customers to make payments and rent a storage unit. It also enables self storage associates to give their clients the best service possible.
“Since this is a one-person store, a lot of times when I’m busy I let the customers know, ‘Hey, I’ll be with you in five minutes, but if you want to go out and take a look at the units on the kiosk while I help this customer, then you’ll have an idea of where you want to be or what you want to see, then I can show you them accordingly,’” Maricela said.
Of course, one of the most important things that is on everyone’s mind when it comes to self storage is security. This facility is like a fortress. All of the units are behind a closed gate with a keypad access system. Surveillance cameras line the perimeter of the property and access hours are from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day.
With all the cameras monitoring the premises, you might think it would be difficult to rewatch hours of footage to ensure that everything is truly secure after hours.
Not at Fountain Valley.
It turns out, the facility has a high-tech way of handling this issue according to Maricela, “It’s really easy to go back and look at everything so when I come in the mornings, I check the cameras to make sure that everyone left when they were supposed to, that nobody was here on site overnight. It’s also motion censored so if it picks up something overnight, then I know exactly where to go to and where to review. As opposed to looking at all the cameras for the entire night.”
Just when you think this facility couldn’t have any more perks, it throws a few more at you! Fountain Valley’s main office features a retail store that offers items including boxes, tape, and mattress bags.
Offering clean storage units is a point of pride at Fountain Valley. In addition to the 3 professional cleanings the facility receives each week, the team regularly walks the facility grounds cleaning as they go.
All in all, the pride the Fountain Valley team takes in their work was crucial to the success they experienced during the last year. When asked if there was any advice she could give other facilities aiming to win the award in the future, Maricela mentioned two things, “Do a really good job at calling all of your leads, because sometimes customers may have certain requirements they need that they don’t know about,” she said. “Listen, be patient, and follow up.”
Congratulations again to the Fountain Valley team for winning the District Distinction Award!