A-1 Self Storage has a great team of professional storage experts who give our customers the best service in the industry. As they grow personally and professionally, we want to show our appreciation by highlighting their milestones. Join us in celebrating Stephanie Gonzalez’s 7th year as part of the A-1 team!
You can meet Stephanie at A-1 Self Storage in Anaheim, California.
Colby: I have on the calendar here that you were hired in 2011, so this would be your year 7 anniversary?
Stephanie: Technically yes, but there was a 6 month gap from that hire date that I moved to Oregon for a little bit. So technically my anniversary is about 7 years now, but I have about five more under my belt.
Colby: So did you do self storage up in Oregon or was it a different industry entirely?
Stephanie: Well it was a little bit different still working with the public. A group of friends and I invested into opening up a hookah bar up there.
Colby: Oh, right on. I love hookah bars actually, that's awesome. So as far as self storage goes, what's the most important thing you've learned since you've been working in it?
Stephanie: Well, I have to say that I have a lot of friends that do public service and they work with nonprofits and help the homeless. And they run into almost the exact same issues that we do regarding different types of people, different types of stories. Why they are in the situation that they are in, because nine times out of ten when people come to get storage it's not because they have extra stuff lying around, but because they are going through a situation. They got kicked out of their apartment, maybe they’re homeless again, maybe a divorce. We don't always see everybody at their best, be we kind of handle and talk to these people with compassion. I didn't realize that going into it, but it's been more of a revelation over time that this is a real service and not just for superfluous items.
Colby: What's your favorite story of a time that you really helped somebody maybe in a tough spot where you felt like you really made a difference?
Stephanie: There isn't a real particular story, more like a collection of small ones. Whether it's just sitting and talking to somebody for 15 or 20 minutes and letting them vent. Sometimes it's a little easier to vent to a stranger compared to someone that you are really close with, and sometimes it's just the simple things, you know? There was this one customer when I was working over at Paramount with Patrica you did an interview recently with her right?
Colby: Yeah, that’s correct.
Stephanie: We had a customer that was elderly and had moved out of state, and she had some things to store, but they were just things that she didn't want, and it was a simple as offering to sell the items to charity for her, and that gave her a lot of relief and meant the world to her. She sent us a thank you card and that was really nice. Getting a sincere thank you card for something that seemed so small and simple, that was really nice.
Colby: You said you had opened up a hookah bar at one point. Would you say that hookah is kind of a hobby is there a particular spot you like to frequent?
Stephanie: At the beginning, there were a couple places, but I invest in my own hookah now, it's just a lot more cost effective that way. There used to be this one place called Facali, but that was a long time ago. That was when I was like 19. That was my first hookah bar experience, but it's not there anymore. Now it's a dentist place.
Colby: What is your favorite thing to do in Anaheim?
Stephanie: Well, you know, I don't usually hang out that much in Anaheim. I usually go to Corona now with friends that live out there or Long Beach with people who live out there. I go to the bars and the museums and stuff in Long Beach. But mostly you're going to find me out on the tennis court, that's where I spend most of my time.
Colby: Oh nice. What is your favorite place to grab a bite during lunch hour?
Stephanie: There used to be a place called Wings. And it was on Imperial Highway in a little shopping center and they had the best Cantonese food ever. But they’re not there anymore and it's really sad, so if you find anyone who knows the recipe for their egg foo young let me know. That was my favorite spot, but there's this sushi place called Samurai in Fullerton and it went out of business. So those were my two favorite places and they're not there anymore. So I'm actually in the market for a new favorite spot.
Colby: OH NO. That’s horrible. Would you like to give a shout out to anybody in celebration of reaching this new milestone?
Stephanie: The person that has really stuck with me the longest and have always been in communication with is Dania over at Fullerton, I believe she's the training manager now. We started together at that location as just Associates. We've always confided in each other about store changes, or job changes with her being a training manager, and I honestly don't think I could have done it without her. Patrica, Sarah, Gilbert from the place I just left.
Colby: I have spoke with a lot of different people at A-1 now and it seems like it's very common for people to thank employees at different stores. Is that one of the big appeals of A-1? It seems like there's a real team dynamic there over the different locations.
Stephanie: Yeah. And I think we should also thank Brian Darmas. He's the one that gave me my first management opportunity in the LA county area, and he's just pushed me to become better at it and better at it as time goes on.