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The front facade of A-1 Self Storage in National City, California.

Self Storage Milestone: Happy 5-Year Anniversary to Graciela!


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 Graciela who is celebrating her 5-year anniversary with A-1 Self Storage.

Graciela works at A-1 Self Storage in National City, California.

Shannon: Congratulations on your 5-year anniversary with A-1 Self Storage! Since you just started working at the new facility in National City, California, where were you previously?

Graciela: I was at Imperial Beach and prior to that Chula Vista.

Shannon: Nice! Where did you work before you started working at A-1 Self Storage?

Graciela: I was working in retail right before Staples went extinct.

Shannon: Did you find there to be many things that were similar or different between working in retail and self storage?

Graciela: In reality, the customer service is the same. We always want to make sure we provide our customers with the best customers service. But really, that’s pretty much the same anywhere. It was definitely a different atmosphere and different scenario, but since the main goal was customer service that made it easier. 

Shannon: Why did you decide to start working at A-1 Self Storage?

Graciela: When Staples was closing its facilities, obviously I needed to find a job, and I had posted my resume on and A-1 Self Storage gave me a call, so I went in for an interview. It seemed like a job I could do, so I thought I would give it a shot. I thought, “It is a family-owned business, and they have a lot of facilities opening,” so I figured I would have an opportunity to grow. Five years later, I feel like I have been able to take several opportunities. I feel like I made the right choice!

Shannon: Glad to hear it! What makes you want to continue working at A-1 Self Storage?

Graciela: First of all, everybody that I have worked with has been great, starting from the top. As a company, I feel like they really do care about their employees. Every time I’ve had a concern, it’s always been heard. Which has always made me feel good and like my work is valued. I see growth and improvement in myself as a person and in my career. That’s why I have stuck with it thus far.

Shannon: Has your position changed much since you started?

Graciela: I’ve been able to open two brand new facilities, so that’s been exciting. About a year and a half ago, I opened one and recently I opened up National City. To answer your question, I started as an Associate Manager and within three months I was promoted to Manager. 

Shannon: That’s pretty fast! Was it hard to switch roles that quickly?

Graciela: Honestly, not necessarily. There is more attention to maintaining the property and taking responsibility for anything that might go wrong. It was an easy transition.

“The first time I met Graciela, I knew she would be a great manager. Her enthusiasm & willingness to learn was apparent from the start. She learned the ropes quickly. I have heard great feedback about Graciela from other associates. She has opened 2 new stores in the last 2 years."

Darlene, A-1 Self Storage Manager at Hotel Circle South in San Diego, California

Shannon: Is there anything that really surprised you about the self storage industry?

Graciela: The most surprising thing was finding out the actual need for self storage. Obviously, I had heard about it before working here, but I didn’t have it. There are so many scenarios I’ve found out since working here for why someone might need self storage. It’s shocking! 

Shannon: For sure! On the customer side of things, has there been anyone in particular who has left an impression on you?

Graciela: There was a couple last year at Imperial Beach, they were a homeless couple. Of course, we helped them out just like anyone else. Long story short, the wife was battling cancer and the husband decided to move their items out of their unit. He came into our office and gave me a set of lotion before he left. He said, “I just want to thank you for treating us like human beings.” I didn’t even know what to say. I told my co-workers later about it and about how important it is to treat our customers with respect and dignity. I honestly wanted to cry. I will forever remember those customers, and after something like that, you are likely to pay more attention and give every customer attention and respect. 

Shannon: That is a really powerful story. Do you have any advice on how to be successful at A-1 Self Storage?

Graciela: Be honest, because other places that I’ve encountered are always trying to push their customers to rent more square feet and sell more than the customer needs. Here, we want to make sure to give them what they need, and not oversell just so we can meet our goals. At the end of the day, they are the ones bringing in the money. Honesty and respect. Sometimes people are having a difficult day so it’s best to be patient and respectful. You can’t take things personally here. 

Shannon: I really like that advice. Is there anyone that you would like to give a shout-out to who has been especially helpful to you during your time with the company?

Graciela: Yeah, Darlene! When I first started, she was the one who trained me. All throughout these five years, I’ve always been able to call her if I have any questions and she’s always happy to help. She’s always giving me positive advice and always has something nice to say! 

Shannon: Darlene is a sweet person, isn’t she? Let’s transition for a minute into talking about your life outside of work. Do you have any hobbies?

Graciela: My favorite thing to do in my free time is to go to concerts! That’s my hobby. 

Shannon: Very cool! What kind of concerts do you go to?

Graciela: I listen to all kinds of music. I’ve been to Coachella 5 years in a row. So festivals and concerts. The last concert I went to was Jay Z and Beyonce.

Shannon: I bet that does eat up a lot of your free time! 

Graciela: And money. It’s not cheap! 

Shannon: For sure! Do you have a favorite restaurant you prefer in the area?

Graciela: You can find me at least once a month at Blind Lady Ale House. It’s a brewery/restaurant. They have really good pizza there.