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 Chris, who is celebrating his 3-year anniversary with A-1 Self Storage.
Chris works at A-1 Self Storage in San Jose, CA on Senter Road.
Shannon: Hi, Chris! We’re excited to help you celebrate your work anniversary, and want to learn a little about your time working with A-1 Self Storage. How many years are we celebrating?
Chris: We are celebrating my third year with the company.
Shannon: That’s great to hear. What were you up to before you started at A-1 Self Storage?
Chris: I was working for a company called Pet Food Express. I was an assistant manager. I mostly did basic retail work, and then some basic management work there.
Shannon: What is your current position?
Chris: I'm a Store Manager at A-1 Self Storage.
Shannon: Nice! Did you find there to be many similarities, or differences, between working in retail versus self storage?
Chris: There are similarities in that there is a high emphasis on good customer service. Differences are that the schedule is more stable, and you're not having to go through the grind of receiving shipments, breaking down shipments, getting them displayed, and doing all the work that goes along with being in retail.
Shannon: That’s a good point. Why did you switch from retail to self storage?
Chris: I was looking for another position where I could have a consistent schedule. My wife at the time was pregnant, and I just needed a job that would provide a good work-life balance, and self storage has done that.
Shannon: Working for a company that provides a good work-life balance seems to be a priority these days. Could you tell me more about the work-life balance at A-1 Self Storage?
Chris: You pretty much go through your morning routine, then you get to work. You work a good solid eight to nine-hour day, and you don't really take your work home with you which is really nice. Then, back home, you are able to devote the majority of your energy to the important things.
Shannon: That’s really great to hear. Is there anything that surprised you about the self storage industry?
Chris: I would say that I’m pretty surprised how similar it is to the hospitality industry. Which is something that I primarily worked in when I was in school. There's a lot of overlap with hotel work, and I found it very similar to that. Granted, you aren't dealing with the volumes of people that you would be in hotel work, but you're still renting out empty spaces for people to occupy.
Shannon: That is true! Do you have any advice for someone interested in working in self storage?
Chris: I think the most important thing is to develop a routine and stick to it. I think that's probably the largest key to my success while I've been here.
Shannon: Has your position changed since you started?
Chris: I was hired as a Sales Associate and then I became a Store Manager about 9 months in.
Shannon: Do you have anyone that you would like to give a shout out to who has been especially helpful during your time with A-1 Self Storage?
Chris: There are so many. At the corporate office, Erik has been pretty instrumental in my success here. He has been a great help. He works in revenue management at the corporate office. Also, Isaac who works at the corporate office as well. He oversees the procurement of supplies and ordering. He's just been incredible.
Shannon: Fantastic! Is there anything you wish you would have known before starting your career here at A-1 Self Storage?
Chris: I wish I had known how incredibly busy you can get! That goes back to creating a good routine and sticking to it, because sometimes this job involves large periods of inactivity mixed with peaks of an insane amount of activity. I would like to have told myself, “You know, you're going to be busy at this job. Even busier than you would think.”
Shannon: Do you have any customers that have left a lasting impression on you?
Chris: There were so many. I have a tenant named Nancy, and when she found out that I was expecting, she donated lots of awesome early childhood educational toys to my family. It came out of nowhere. She just started dropping off the toys here and there. Of course, she always said that I was doing her a favor by helping her reduce the number of items she was keeping. It just struck me. You really don't get gifts from tenants, and this is a largely thankless job. It was nice to have somebody who remembered a detail about your life, and decided to express gratitude. That stuck out to me and I've always been appreciative of that.
Shannon: Sounds like that customer was an angel!
Chris: She really was. She brought anything from painting and craft kits, to Bingo and word searches. Honestly, these are all things that I do with my daughter after work, so I’m definitely playing with those donated items with my daughter.
Shannon: How sweet. Going a little more into your home life, do you have any hobbies outside of work?
Chris: I play trombone. Though, not as much as I like. I also train dogs, and those are probably my two primary hobbies. When it comes to my family, I have a wife and a two-and-a-half-year-old. They truly occupy my time the most.
Shannon: That’s really great though! On the topic of dog training, that’s a pretty specific hobby. How did you get into that?
Chris: I have an AKC certification, it's something that I did through Pet Food Express, in addition to working a normal job for them. It's just something that I've grown up with. My aunt and uncle are breeders, so living with dogs is something I've always done. Interestingly enough, I went to school and majored in psychology. However, I had a professor who really, really, really loved dog training. I got the bug to do it in a little bit more official capacity through interacting with that professor at school.