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 Paul, who is celebrating his 4-year anniversary with A-1 Self Storage.
Paul works at A-1 Self Storage in Torrance, California.
Shannon: Hey, Paul! I’m glad we could chat about your anniversary with A-1 Self Storage. How many years has it been?
Paul: I believe it’s four years.
Shannon: Four years is a decent amount of time. What were you doing for work before working in self storage?
Paul: I was working for a family business. My older brother is a contractor. We did a lot of city contracting.
Shannon: What position did you have while you were there? What did your average day look like?
Paul: I was the Field Manager. We had a staff of 50 people depending on the site that we were at. I would take pictures, make sure everybody’s good, and make sure everything is running the way it is supposed to, whether they needed supplies or anything else they needed.
Shannon: Why did you decide to start working in self storage?
Paul: Working for family sometimes has its positives, and sometimes has its negatives. I was like, “Thank you very much, but I kind of want to go my own way.” I also did property management work prior to working for my brother’s company, and I used to work on the apartment side prior to storage. I specialized in luxury, regular, and subsidized housing for years. After property management, I went into the automotive industry. I was working the wholesale side where I was selling automotive industry parts. I had my first child, and at that time I needed more time with my kid.
Shannon: The self storage industry is great for folks with families, so that makes sense! Is working in self storage similar or different from your previous property management experience?
Paul: I wouldn’t say it’s much different. The business ethics are pretty much the same. As long as you have good customer service, and treat everybody right, I think the industry is everybody wants to be treated right.
Shannon: Was there anything that surprised you about the self storage industry once you started working in it?
Paul: There was one thing… Do you know that “Storage Wars” TV show?
Shannon: Yeah, that’s a fun show!
Paul: Well, it’s nothing like that. That’s not how it goes. That’s not how happens. Auctions and all those kind of things do not happen like that. There's a whole process behind it. I didn’t know that. We actually don’t even do live auctions anymore. I believe, when I first started, we only did them 7 months in. We went from live auctions to online auctions.
Shannon: Wow, I did not know that until now! That will probably be surprising to a lot of people. Has your position changed at all during the past four years?
Paul: Yes, I came in as a regular Storage Associate and now I’m a Store Manager.
Shannon: Excellent! Was that much of a change for you?
Paul: We all have the same jobs we need to do, maybe with a little more responsibility. I think a Storage Associate has those things they need to do, and a Store Manager not only has responsibility for those things, but for the property itself.
Shannon: Do you have any advice for someone who wants to go from being a Storage Associate to being the Store Manager?
Paul: I mean, not really. We pretty much do the same thing we do as Associates that we do as Managers. Becoming a Manager is just taking that extra responsibility. Other than that, it's the same detail. Myself, as a Store Manager, when I have any staff that works under me, I want to make sure I’m doing the exact same job that they’re doing. As a Manager, you’re going to have your Associates do certain things and, depending on how your property is run, you should do those same things yourself. I was working under another Manager who works in Anaheim. I have such high-level respect for that Manager. From the way she manages the facility, and the Manager herself. I would work for her any day. A lot of my interactions with Associates, I learned from her. She’s very, very good. The only thing is anything you ask of your team, make sure you’re willing to do it yourself.
Shannon: That is important wisdom. On a similar note, what is the most important thing you’ve learned during the four years you have worked at A-1 Self Storage?
Paul: The most important thing I’ve learned from the time I became a Manager to now is customer service. When I give it my all, and treat everyone with respect, I get a lot more positive vibes from that.
Shannon: A-1 Self Storage is truly a different beast in the self storage industry when it comes to customer service. They really encourage you guys to go above and beyond, which is great! How do you like working for a company like that?
Paul: Working at A-1 Self Storage, for the Caster family, is incredible. The four years I have been here, I have done nothing but progress. I started as a Storage Associate, I worked under a few different Store Managers, and have come to look at it like working with a family I am with almost every day. Working for this company has been so good. I have grown. Not only have I grown as an individual, and matured as a father by being able to provide more for my kid, they have given me the opportunities, and resources. I am grateful to work with the Caster family any day. I actually drive two and a half hours to work every day. I enjoy doing my job and working for the Caster family. They have been great to me. That is my number one reason, other than my kids and my family, why I enjoy working so much for A-1 Self Storage.
Shannon: I’m glad to hear that! Let’s dive into your life outside of work. Do you have any hobbies or family you like to hang with?
Paul: I spend a lot of time with my kids. Most of the time when I’m not at work, I’m spending time with my kids. I have my son, he’s eight years old. And my daughter, she’s three years old.
Shannon: How sweet! What kind of things do you enjoy doing with them?
Paul: We go to the arcade, the beach, eating pizza all day long. Yep, that’s pretty much what we do. We have fun.
Shannon: Do you and the kids have an arcade that you prefer in the area?
Paul: Round1 in Moreno Valley. and they just recently switched from the coins to the digital cards now. It’s done by hours instead of with little coins, so it’s more affordable.
Shannon: Nice! Do you have any pets?
Paul: Personally, I don’t. But, where I live they do. They have 4 dogs. Personally, I want to get a dog, but they have chihuahuas, and they bark too much. I don’t want to get a dog into that habit.
Shannon: I hear what you’re saying. What was the last big trip you went on?
Paul: The last big trip I took was to the Bahamas.
Shannon: Lucky! Where would you like to go next if you could go anywhere?
Paul: Rosarito Beach Hotel. Every time I go there, they know me so well, and I enjoy the atmosphere, culture, and food. Everything about it! When I go there, I have a really good time.