The first Inside Self-Storage World Expo Bill Fox ever attended was in 2001. Fox, a builder by trade, was seeking information about the industry and looking for potential vendors who could help him build his first self-storage facility. Armed with new contacts and a wealth of information, Fox returned to his home in Pomona, Calif., and built Route 66 Self Storage.
A decade later, Fox remains an ISS expo devotee. “The show helps us stay sharp,” Fox said of the Inside Self-Storage World Expo, which took place in Las Vegas this week. This year, Fox even brought along his assistant manager to attend the education seminars and workshops. “It’s always interesting to see new trends and see what other facilities are doing,” he said.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Inside Self-Storage World Expo drew hundreds of self-storage owners, operators, investors, builders and vendors from around the country—and dozens from around the world. The three-day event included education, exhibits, workshops and more.
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The atmosphere at the 2011 expo truly reflected the event’s theme: Write Your Next Chapter. Like Fox, operators recognize there’s increased competition for every rental dollar, so they’re seeking education and tools to ensure their facility is the best in their markets.
“Operators are focusing on the core elements of their business,” said Troy Bix, publisher of Inside Self-Storage magazine. “They’re seeking training for themselves and their employees, and they’re looking at new marketing and technology tools. The expo is a dynamic event where they can learn from other storage professionals, attend seminars and meet with suppliers in the industry.”
Education, Events & Exhibits
The wide range of seminars offered at this year’s show, March 14-16 at the Paris Hotel & Resort, included financing, development and construction, facility management, marketing, and more. One particular topic of interest at this year’s show was lien sales. Not only have many operators seen an increase in defaulted rental contracts, but the popularity of the A&E hit TV series “Storage Wars” is shining a light on the self-storage industry and driving treasure seekers to auctions. R. J. Knox, an owner of two facilities in New York and one in Florida, said the seminar on bankruptcy was exactly the kind of information he was seeking. “That hour went by way too fast,” he said.
Another avenue many operators explored was technology. In addition to several seminars, the Expo also hosted a Technology Marketplace during the second day of the show. Attendees were invited to talk to technology vendors and experts about what’s new in self-storage software, online marketing, security and more. “Technology is really changing how operators market their facilities,” said Robert Chiti, president of OpenTech Alliance Inc., makers of the INSOMNIAC line of kiosks. “It can help them be more efficient and save money.”
In addition to two days of education, expo attendees enjoyed a lively Q&A session with industry experts Mel Holsinger of Professional Self Storage Management LLC and Jim Chiswell of Chiswell & Associates LLC. The interactive Q&A enabled operators, investors, builders and other industry professionals to discuss the issues they face today. The show also featured five add-on workshops, a Buyers & Sellers Meeting and roundtable discussions.
The exhibit hall opened on March 15 with more than 150 exhibitors displaying self-storage products and services, including a dozen first-time exhibitors. Companies included developers and builders, online marketing consultants, brokers, financiers, insurance experts, door manufacturers, security and software vendors and many others.