Compassion, integrity, honesty, enthusiasm. Do these traits describe a great self-storage manager? Aimie Litchfield thought so, which is why she was excited to tweet us with her nomination for October’s Manager of the Month: Robert Brasch, of AAA Camano Heated Storage in Seattle, WA.
AAA Camano Heated Storage is located on the far side of Camano Island in Seattle, but Robert and his staff make sure their self-storage facility is always on the radar.
“We’ve become kind of a fixture on the island,” Robert said.
They offer a daily spread of concessions and refreshments for anyone who stops by to visit off the busy road passing their facility. Under his people-oriented management, the facility is always abuzz with happy tenants, busy employees and friendly visitors.
Outside, it’s clear why passers-by are drawn to the facility. The building is decked out with eye-catching decorations, often relating to events around the community. Currently decorated for winter, their new sign sports a snow goose inviting potential tenants to store with them. The goose is adorned with sunglasses, a duffel bag, and a sign that reads, “Snow birds store here,” in reference to the community’s elderly population lovingly known for their annual winter migration to the Southwest and warmer climes.
When it comes to helping people book a storage unit, Robert believes the key factor is listening. Instead of dictating their needs to streamline a contract, “listen to their intentions for storage. From that, you should be able to come up with a good, firm recommendation,” he suggested.
By focusing on the individual rather than the dollar signs, Robert ensures a lasting, profitable, and often friendly relationship with his tenants. Robert was eager to extol the virtues of their online marketing efforts, headed by his assistant Aimie, whom he credits with dramatically improving business through social media and other channels.
Visiting the AAA Camano Heated Storage Facebook and Twitter pages, one can follow the adventures of Chandler, a three-foot metal pig. Originally a gift from some happy clients, he’s now painted in company colors and carted along as their mascot for various community events.
Helping out in the community is a major tenet of Robert’s management style, going further than offering excellent self-storage amenities. He and his staff turned one of last winter’s harshest snowstorms into an opportunity to make an impression. With the main road closed, those stranded on the island were invited into the main lobby of AAA Camano Heated Storage for cookies, hot chocolate and a warm place to wait out the storm.
“By the time I left,” Robert chuckled, “I had kids making snow angels in the parking lot.”
The result was a multitude of new friends and prospective tenants. People even came back days later to offer thanks and trays of their own cookies.
Robert knows his facility’s dedication to service is rooted in a well-trained and enthusiastic staff. Along with the two-week training program required in all West Coast Self-Storage locations, Robert said he frequently makes time for one-on-one discussion, making sure everyone is up to speed and prepared for the tasks at hand. His personable nature and respect for coworkers and customers alike naturally stem from Robert’s inherent passion for his work in self-storage.
“I honestly believe it’s the most rewarding work I’ve done in my entire life,” he said.
If you’re in the Camano Island area, look out for Robert, who plans to enter his AAA Camano Heated Hog Wild Chili (named for their porky mascot) into the Camano Chili Chowder Cook-off on November 12.
Do you know someone in self-storage who exemplifies the managerial mold? Let us know by tweeting us like Aimie did @SelfStorageInc.