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 team member Kathleen Almeida, who is celebrating her 4-year anniversary with A-1 Self Storage.
You can meet Kathleen at A-1 Self Storage in San Juan Capistrano.
Peter: Hi, Kathleen! You are at A-1 Self Storage in San Juan Capistrano. Is that correct?
Kathleen: That's correct. I have been here for four years.
Peter: Congratulations! Four years is a long time at any company nowadays.
Peter: Do you remember how you initially got involved with A-1 Self Storage?
Kathleen: I was working for another company and looking for something more permanent, and less part-time. I happened to see the ad on Craigslist and applied for it.
Peter: Nice, and did you have any experience with self storage management before then?
Kathleen: I have. I have actually been in the industry for almost 11 years. I started out as an associate, and at the place I worked at before this I was a property manager as well.
Peter: Oh wow, so you're basically a veteran then?
Kathleen: Ha, yeah! I guess I am.
Peter: That's awesome! So, you've had 11 years in the industry, 4 with A-1 Self Storage. That's a fairly long career. Do you think you've learned anything in self storage property management that you wouldn't have learned in another industry?
Kathleen: I have, I like to interact with lots of different types of people, and I do that here. You get to learn about what's going on in their lives, and you get to care about people more. You have a little more compassion.
Peter: For sure, because when using self storage, some people might be in a difficult transition or a vulnerable moment. Would you mind speaking about how you have learned to deal with those types of situations?
Kathleen: Sure. You know, I do get that a lot here, especially working in San Juan. People might lose their homes or their company had to downsize. So they come in and they are really stressed out. I find that listening, being compassionate, being understanding, and letting them talk it out, so they know that somebody cares really goes a long way.
It calms the customer down and seems to help them become more comfortable with the move. And at the same time, it allows us to not just sell them a unit, but kind of counsel them and let them know that they could come by and talk any time.
Peter: A high level of humanity or compassion really seems important for self storage.
Kathleen: Oh yeah, you definitely have to have a lot of understanding. Even if someone gets mad at you, for the most part, it's not even about you. And just being calm yourself can calm them, and make them less angry. I love all my customers in the end. I have got some good reviews from customers and I think it's because they know they can come not only check on their items but have a conversation with me.
Peter: Over the past four years, have you formed any regular relationships with customers and gotten to know them?
Kathleen: Definitely. I have customers that come in and see me all the time. I even get Christmas cards from some of my customers. When they are on the property, their first stop is to say, “Hey, how are you doing?” They talk about what's going on in their lives. I know one of my couples, their son just got married. They were so excited and showing me pictures. It's a big part of their lives that they wanted to share with me.
Peter: So cool. One question I like to ask is, “Do you have any go-to stories about the self storage industry that you might tell someone who asked about your job?”
Kathleen: I have a lot of stories. I have one of a lady who was downsizing and had been in her home for 35 years, and she was very sad. But the way that everything was handled with moving and storing her items, she was so happy. She would come and visit me every day and she was so sweet. She would share everything that was going on with her. She was able to actually get another house and move her stuff out, and it was just great that she transitioned so well and had such a great experience.
Peter: That's great. That is a sweet story.
Kathleen: Definitely. I mean, the only other story I have is, I have a couple of military people who rented with me before they deployed. And when they leave I usually say something like, “Don't worry, your items and I will be right here when you get back.” And I love that every single one of my military clients have come back. When they come and see me, even though they are moving out and I am losing the occupancy, I am so happy they came back whole, happy, and healthy.
Peter: Do you have any hobbies that you like to practice when you are not working?
Kathleen: I love to read. I watch movies. I spend a lot of time with my family. We go for walks, we go to the beach. I spend time with my daughter now. She is just learning how to drive. For me, any time out of the office is mostly going to be family time.
Peter: What are some of your favorite places around San Juan Capistrano that you like to go for a walk?
Peter: Do you know the names of your favorite parks in Anaheim?
Peter: Do you have any favorite local businesses that you like to go to?
Kathleen: There's one restaurant that's great for anyone who likes Thai food called You and I Thai. It’s the best Thai ever and they deliver.
Peter: That sounds great! Is there anything else that you want people to know about you?
Kathleen: I would say, with my years of experience, when you come to me you are going to get personalized service. I treat every customer as a very special customer.
Peter: Is there anyone at A-1 Self Storage that you would like to give a shout out to, maybe someone that has helped you out in the past?
Kathleen: My associate Teresa is really great. She helps me out in a lot of different ways, and I couldn't imagine working without her. And one of the floaters, Jasmine. She is just awesome. She is great to work with and a really fun person!