Storage Spotlight: A Storage Inns

a storage inns logoTwo notes: first, in the interest of full disclosure, the subject of the following article, Howard Price, is my father-in-law. Second, a note on wording. The storage company that Howard runs is called “A Storage Inns,” the plural form. Each individual facility is called, “A Storage Inn,” the singular form. It gets a little confusing, and sometimes it looks like I got confused. So, each facility is A Storage Inn, and all of them combined are A Storage Inns. Ok. Moving along!

A few months ago, I had an opportunity to tour several storage facilities with the President of A Storage Inns, Howard Price. A Storage Inns is a storage management company based in St. Louis, with facilities on both sides of the bi-state area, plus one in Florida. Howard has been in the storage industry for sixteen years, and has been with A Storage Inns for fifteen of those years. He has earned a reputation for profitably and ethically running his facilities.

The first thing that you should notice when you pull into A Storage Inn facility is the big orange facade. Enter into the office to meet with one of his professional managers, and you’ll find a clean and modern business office / storefront. This office is the nerve center of the operation.

The operation, by the way, is state of the art by storage standards. The facilities are secured using functional, always-on security cameras that can be monitored from the office. In addition, access to the units is controlled through a number pad, where each tenant has their own PIN. When a tenant moves out, they no longer have access. Simple.

Additionally, managers have computer systems that help them keep track of tenants, payments, units, and much, much more. And this leads us to one thing that sets A Storage Inns apart from the competition: the managers.

Howard believes in hiring experienced managers, giving them ongoing training and support, then allowing them freedom in the operation of the facilities. His managers tend to be storage veterans hired away from the big players in the business. As often as not, the managers come to A Storage Inns because they know that they will be trusted to do what they do best: give their tenants the best possible storage experience.

Every employee of the company – from ownership to Howard to the facility and office managers to the full-time maintenance staff – is empowered to help the company provide the best storage value possible for tenants. When I spoke to the managers, they were all well-versed in the advantages and disadvantages of various locks, had numerous tips for efficiently packing storage units, and understood clearly what it takes to keep consumers happy.

And Howard gives his managers a chance to wheel and deal. Now, his managers can’t give units away, but they do have the ability to work with potential renters to meet their needs. Furthermore, they are not a cold-hearted corporation. Storage auctions are not viewed as a chance to earn some easy money, but instead as an opportunity lost to help a customer during a difficult time. They always want to know the same thing: why didn’t the customer call? A customer losing a unit filled with furniture is sad, but losing family pictures is tragic. Howard and his managers know that what they help protect is not just stuff. What they help people store is part of their life.

The Wrap

A Storage Inns is a high-quality, modern storage management company that runs ten facilities in Missouri, Illinois, and Florida. The facilities are secure and up-to-date. And, perhaps most importantly, they care about their customers.

7 Free Things to Do in St. Louis

The Arch in St. Louis

I don’t mention the Arch in the article, so I figured that I should include it here. It’s only fair.

You can find free in St. Louie!

I love free. And really, who doesn’t? Americans love things that are free, and I’m American, so… Well, I’m sure that you follow the logic.

Finding free, though, is not always so easy. Which is why we sat down to come up with this list of great free stuff to do in St. Louis.

Sledding at Art Hill

Obviously this is only good during certain times. However, if you’ve never climbed to the top of the hill with the complete cross section of St. Louis residents, then flown down at what I can only assume is approximately 140 miles per hour, then you are missing out. This is walking distance from Washington University, so no excuses!

The Zoo

St. Louis has one of the best zoos in the country. You would expect to pay top dollar to visit. You would be wrong. Instead, you find a beautifully maintained, regularly updated gem that costs zero dollars and zero cents. If you park on the street, that brings your total cost up to nothing.

The Loop

No, you can’t eat for free or see a show for free, but you can definitely enjoy the atmosphere for free. Pick a nice evening and walk up and down Delmar. Stop by Vintage Vinyl or one of the many little shops. You can get an education in world music and culture just by keeping your ears open as you pass the bars and restaurants.

Watch the game at Shannons or Paddy O’s

Like the Loop, you can’t eat or drink for free, but you can sure as hell enjoy the game there. The porch at Shannon’s and all of Paddy O’s are basically shrines for St. Louis sports in general and the Cardinals in particular.

Watch the game from the top of the garage

Seriously. You don’t have great seats, but if the game is sold out, head up to the top of the Stadium East garage. I watched the last game of 2006 World Series there and it’s one of my greatest memories. You don’t see the whole field, but you get to see the game in person for free. And, if you don’t park in the garage, you can do it for free. If you’re at SLU, it’s a bit of a walk, and I do not recommend the walk alone or at night, but it’s a great way to see a game on the cheap.

The Science Center

Interactive science museum sound too immature for you? Are you too old for fun? I think not. I was born during Reagan’s first term and I’ve always had a great time there. The parking isn’t free, but the museum itself is excellent. Build an arch, run radar on cars traveling down 40 (or I-64 for out-of-towners), and check out the amazing planetarium. Want to see what the world will be like in the year 2000, according to the 1950s? They have that, too.

Forest Park, Tower Grove Park, Creve Coeur Park, and more

St. Louis seems to have a huge number of great public parks. Forest Park is the largest municipal park in the country. Tower Grove Park is tucked away in South City and is home to dozens of kickball teams. Creve Coeur Park is in the ‘burbs in Maryland Heights and contains the largest lake in the area, with public access, plus paved and maintained trails filled with walkers, runners, and bikers of all ages.

The Wrap

If you’re looking to relocate to St. Louis, or if you’re already there and you’re looking for something to do, check out these seven free activities in town. We think you’ll agree – you’ll be getting a whole lot of fun for not a whole lot of dough.

The State of Storage: OSSD Style

ChecklistI was recently given a spreadsheet with lots and lots and lots of information on it. Normally, this type of thing would frighten a History/English teacher who moonlights as a writer.

And this time was no different.

Regardless, though, I dug in.

After numerous Google searches and frantic Facebook status posts asking friends to help me remember all the great spreadsheet tricks that I’d either forgotten or that I’d neglected to learn over the years, I am able to present to you an overview of the storage world, as it appears from this particular corner of that world.

Also, this is just data from a couple of months, so it’s just a little taste. A small spoonful, if you will.

But enough jibber-jabber. Time to list things:

Bookings by State

Which states book the most storage units? I don’t think that the answer will surprise you much:

Texas: 9.6%

Florida: 9.5%

California: 7.5%

New York: 6.3%

New Jersey: 5.8%

I feel like I’m supposed to make some sort of bridge scandal joke here, but I’m not sure that I have it in me. Instead, let’s analyze this in an incredibly simplistic way. These are five of the largest states in the country (the 2nd, 4th, 1st, 3rd, and 11th, to be exact), and they have the most bookings. Ok then. A special commendation to New Jersey for storing way above its weight here. Nice job there, for sure.

Just as interesting to me, though, is the opposite. Which states used OSSD the least in recent months?

Wyoming: 0%

Montana: 0%

South Dakota: 0%

North Dakota: 0%

Hawaii: 0.1%

Alaska: 0.1%

DC: 0.1%

What’s going on in the Mountain West? What did we ever do to you guys? You got beat out by Washington DC? On one hand, it’s possible that there’s just so much space out there that they don’t have much need for storage. On the other hand, no state has more empty space than Alaska. I got nothing.

Bookings by Population

This is where things start to get more interesting. I decided to sort the lists by the population of each state, then determine how many people there were in each state per unit booked. Then I divided the numbers to make them easier to deal with. I’m still a writer and not an accountant, after all:

New Jersey: 54.3

Vermont: 62.6

Massachusetts: 64.2

Delaware: 66.9

Florida: 71.5

Now that’s a more interesting spread. It looks like the East Coast loves us!

How’re things on the other end?

Alaska: 1593.3

Arkansas: 729

Hawaii: 453.4

Kentucky: 434

New Mexico: 343.2

Alaska… whatever happened to us? I thought we had a good thing going, you know? We paid a pretty penny for you in 1867… You made Seward’s Folly look pretty damn smart. And we love that about you. It’s not just oil, earthquakes, and ice. It’s natural beauty, and it’s… come on, Alaska… I guess it helps when you never have to store your winter clothes…

The Cities

States are so big, though… so impersonal. Even little Rhode Island seems mammoth compared to Providence. So, let’s break it down a little bit further. Which cities are the most OSSD friendly?

Houston, Texas: 1.4%

San Antonio, Texas: 0.98%

Tampa, Florida: 0.94%

Phoenix, Arizona: 0.86%

Orlando, Florida: 0.79%

Austin, Texas: 0.67%

Los Angeles, California: 0.67%

Tallahassee, Florida: 0.67%

Remember that this only includes the city itself, without any suburbs. So, Lynbrook, Hollis, Yonkers, Jamaica, and the Bronx are all highly ranked, but they’re all separate, not collected under New York City. Similarly, Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas will be separate. Plus, keep in mind that we had bookings in thousands of cities nationwide, so making up 1% or more is actually pretty impressive. No system covers all eventualities, especially if it’s a mathematical system that I come up with. On thing is sure, though: the system that we have, though, says that the South is king when it comes to booking with OSSD.

The Wrap

So, what have we learned? If I had to guess, the answer would be “not a whole lot.” Must everything have a valuable lesson attached? Do we always have to learn something that is striking and new and deep? I think not.

In this case, we learned that states with more people use storage more, and that they are led by cities with more people. We also learned that when you control for population, the answers change.

As Jeremy Clarkson would say, “and on that bombshell… good night!”

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Storage for Gamecocks

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UO Ducks Win at Their Sports and Needing to Find Storage!

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Preserving Your Stuff with Newark Self-Storage Units

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