Meet The Self Storage Manager: Alma in Corona, CA
Self storage is a service used by people from all walks of life. For residents of Corona, California, self storage may mean moving to new opportunity, preparing for a growing family or assisting with one of life’s many transitions. US Storage Centers wants you to know that our professional self storage managers are here to help you in any situation. Below is an interview with Alma Neri, Property Manager for Corona Self Storage at Dos Lagos.
Peter: How did you get started with US Storage Centers?
Alma: You know what, I actually just applied. I had never worked for a self storage location. I’d never worked in storage whatsoever, so I had a different background. I had been working in insurance and at a travel agency. It was kind of like a mom and pop thing and I just applied for a location here and I ended up being hired as the assistant manager. This was almost 5 years ago. I was working at a few different locations here in Riverside County. I was working at different locations and they ended up needing a manager at the location where I had already been working for a year, the manager here was no longer with the company, so while they were looking for a manager, I really stepped up and asked if they would give me an opportunity to prove myself and become a property manager. That’s how it happened, how I became a property manager.
Peter: I love it. You’re so proactive. Such a go getter.
Alma: Haha, yeah a little bit.
Peter: That’s great. It sounds like US Storage Centers treats you really well and gives you a lot of independence and support.
Alma: Yeah, US Storage Centers basically helps you out a lot especially if you are looking to move up. When I first started, I wasn’t really looking to get into property management, because I didn’t have any experience in what it takes to become a property manager, so they actually trained me completely, because I was so new to storage and moved me up to become an assistant manager at that location. That made it possible for me to become a property manager at that location. They push you a little bit to help you learn and give you all the training you need in order to become a property manager if you decide you want to do that.
Peter: That’s awesome. Sounds like a pretty good place to work.
Alma: It’s actually a really good place to work.
Peter: I’ve heard that being a self storage property manager is a great job. Have you found this to be the case?
Alma: Yeah, I actually knew someone who was working in the industry and they talked to me about it and that’s actually how I applied. It’s a very good company to work for. They’re very fair.
Peter: Absolutely. Fairness is something that’s really important to me too. I want to go back and ask, so this is 5 years in the self storage industry for you?
Alma: Yes, in August it will be 5 years.
Peter: Congratulations. That kind of longevity is rare for any profession these days.
Alma: Yeah, it’s actually really good. Thank you.
Peter: You’ve probably got a lot of stories after 5 years. Any memorable moments or renters?
Alma: Most of my renters know me. We have a lot of nice people here. I have been able to develop some really great relationships with the renters and the employees around here.
Peter: I bet it gets crazy around the first of the month. You probably have the same people who come in at the same time and want to talk about life, their kids, whatever.
Alma: Yeah we do. We try to have a conversation with every customer about how everything is working for them, how’s everything been going. You know, a lot of times people walk in here and ask me how I’m doing, how my baby is doing, stuff like that.
Peter: A self storage facility is like a little community or little town. Everyone’s coming and going, everyone has lives. It’s a nice community feel.
Alma: Yeah and a lot of times people come in, even as new customers, and they open up to you because, usually when they’re coming in it’s not a good case. Maybe they’re getting divorced or maybe they lost their home or someone in the family unfortunately passed away and they’re dealing with all of this. Most of the time when people walk in there, they open up to you and they give you a story about what’s going on in their life and the reason why they’re needing storage at the moment.
Peter: It’s so important during those difficult transition times you were talking about, as a self storage professional, to approach those moments with compassion and a “treat others the way you want to be treated” kind of attitude.
Alma: Exactly. We don’t want them to walk in and tell you that they’re renting storage because their dad passed away and then respond with, “OK, so what size do you need?” That’s not something that we do. We try to understand the situation and walk them through the process to make it a little bit smoother, because of the situation they’re going through. We don’t want to just jump in and say, this is the size, this is the price. You know?
Peter: Yeah, because you are trying to figure out the best thing for them and their specific, unique situation.
Alma: Yes, because everyone has a different situation here. There are so many reasons why people need storage. Sometimes it’s bad, but most of the time we have people who are happy coming in renting for a good reason.
Peter: LIke their house is getting upsized or they’re renovating or something along those lines. Or maybe they keep their summer toys in storage or their RV or their lawn mower, something like that.
Alma: We also have people who need storage for their business. Where their business is doing very, very well and now they’re really getting big and they need more space. A lot of times it’s good.
Peter: That’s a good point. A self storage facility can really stimulate the local economy by providing an affordable alternative to office space for new or small entrepreneurs.
Alma: Yes, exactly.
Peter: That’s cool. I hadn’t thought about that.
Alma: Yeah, we have many different types of customers.
Peter: Seems like everybody needs storage. There isn’t anybody who doesn’t needs self storage. What’s the neighborhood around the facility like?
Alma: We’re right off the 15 Freeway. We’re next to the Dos Lagos Shops. It’s like a mall with a lot of little stores. That kind of thing. We’re so close to that, that’s why we’re called Corona Self Storage at Dos Lagos. A lot of people here, “Oh, you’re by the Dos Lagos, perfect.” And sometimes the Dos Lagos shops, the businesses there, need storage and we are so convenient that they end up using our location here.
Peter: That’s great. A built-in population right there.
Alma: We also have a lot of apartments around our area, so that has helped pick up the business here. We have a lot of apartments being built here. During maybe the last two years this area has grown so much that, even for us, we became more busy and a lot more of our business came from there. We’re also really, really close to a location called Town Forum. It’s actually a little place where you go in and they do a Saturday where they have live entertainment and they have little stores where you can buy little things and little restaurants. A lot of people are in this area.
Peter: That sounds like a fun, walkable community.
Alma: Yeah, I’m sure this is a really nice area to live in.
Peter: Is there anything special about your facility that sets you apart from the self storage facilities near you?
Alma: For our facility, I think one thing that really helps is that at our location most of the units are drive up storage and second floor. We have a small parking lot where we park RVs, so I think RVs have a really important role here. RVs in the area, you know, people have the ability to store them here. Most of our units are on the second level. We have elevators on the property that help customers a lot when they’re moving their items in and out of the property. We also have push carts and stuff like that.
Peter: Are the elevators the kind with the wide, roll-up door?
Alma: Yeah, they have roll up doors. These elevators are more considered like a lift. That’s what people call them.
Peter: I love that. It’s so good. Convenient self storage is great. Thank you so much for speaking with me about your self storage facility.
Alma: Haha, any time. Come down and see us. We are always here.
Corona Self Storage Units at Dos Lagos 21702 Temescal Canyon Road Corona, CA 92883 (951) 638-4499