We interviewed Jon Gardner our Regional Director to find out a bit more about his storage journey so far and share with you the highlights:
1. Why did you first get into self-storage?
“After 15 years working in Call Centre based roles I was made redundant and decided to take the opportunity to look for something outside my comfort zone; something less repetitive and predictable, where I would find new challenges and find new ways to develop myself. I found the ad for my first role in self-storage in a newspaper and have been on quite the journey ever since.”
2. What has been the biggest change in the industry since you started?
“The development of the facilities themselves has been rapid and exciting, and I’m delighted to say that SureStore have been at the forefront of that. Almost gone are the days of upscaled mills being kitted out into storage facilities. We have been part of a movement to disrupt the industry with modern, ultra-secure, purpose built facilities which defy our customer’s expectations. Myself and many of my colleagues across the industry will remember much less comfortable, colder, less desirable environments being where we had to come to work every day, but all of our SureStore facilities are gorgeous, clean, modern & comfortable places to work and enjoy what we do. That all rubs off on the customers’ experience of course. Many of our customers are coming to us in their hour of need so to speak, so to be able to put them so utterly at ease by just showing them around is a huge deal for them and for us. Luckily this drive to build modern and cutting edge facilities meant that we were in a position to continue taking great care of our customers when the Covid crisis came around too.”
3. What do you like most about the self-storage industry?
“As I said previously our customers are almost always in a “situation” looking for a solution to help make their lives less stressful when we first meet them. Storage is not typically a frivolous indulgence, which means we are in a position to truly make people’s lives easier, every single day. You never know what situation is going to walk through the door and it’s honestly a privilege to be in that position and be able to help.”
4. What do you like least about the self-storage industry?
“I live and breathe this industry and it came to me at a time in my life when I really needed it to help me develop and grow into a new chapter in my career, so I don’t have many negative things to say about it to be honest. That said, I really wish I had gotten into the industry earlier! 15 years wasted under fluorescent lights and Hawaiian shirt Fridays!”
5. What is your favourite book or movie?
“Aliens is hands-down the greatest movie ever made. I must have watched it hundreds of times. My favourite book is The Adventures of Kavalier & Klay by Michael Chabon.”
6. If you had a time machine where would you go?
“Either a couple of hundred years into the future to see if we ever got our act together, or to 1950’s USA for the fantastic quiffs and the cars.”
7. Right now I would rather be …
“On a little boat, pootling around Paxos, one of the Greek Ionian islands. It’s my favourite place on earth and if they had decent telly channels I’d live there all year round.”
8. What life advice would you give a younger version of yourself?
“Always be true to yourself, be unafraid, you’re just as ready as everyone else. Spend more time with your sister.”
9. I’d really like to have dinner with…
“Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth.”
10. What do you think is going to be the biggest change and challenge in the self-storage industry in the next 5 years?
“We will continue to push the more modern, secure and attractive facilities to the forefront of the industry and finally be rid of the older misconceptions about self-storage, which is exciting and well underway. The challenge is to maintain the connections we all enjoy having with our customers as we inevitably head into a more contactless, automated process. Fortunately, having chocolates in the reception usually makes sure people pop their head in when they visit!”
Want to meet the other Members of the SureStore team? Read our newest spotlight on Alison Hooley!