At Storage King our goal is to make self storage simple for business and residential customers alike.
Our store managers are a vital part of Storage King’s service, responsible for leading the teams who help our customers with their storage conundrums on a daily basis. The "A Day In The Life" series tells the story of the men and women who help students, businesses and the general public with their self storage requirements. This week we hear from Simon Elworthy, Manager at Storage King in Oxford.
My commute to Storage King Oxford takes up to an hour depending on traffic, meaning that upon arrival the first thing I do at the office is switch the kettle on for coffee – and we always have a good supply of biscuits. As work is a place where we spend most of our time, I encourage good rest facilities and a clean kitchen (I’m not admitting to being a little OCD).
Storage King Oxford is a demanding store and we all work extremely hard following daily routines including managing sales enquiries, debtors, emails and marketing. The team has a great teamwork ethic.
Everybody who uses self storage has a story which makes our job so enjoyable. Every day is different as we deal with a variety of customers with various self storage requirements. These generally include families who are moving homes, businesses and charities who have run out of space as well as students who are in and out of Oxford throughout the year.
At times we do get odd requests. We currently have an actual aeroplane stored on site, while previous customers have stored giant sized furniture for an art display. One of our wackier requests was for a UK retailer who wanted to store dried mushrooms. We declined this politely, explaining that one broken packet in a dark warehouse environment could turn our clean storage facility into a mushroom farm!
The self storage industry was recommended to me by a friend who told me it was a growth sector and one which is really interesting – you certainly never get bored.
I love being active and having a challenge, and when I relocated to Oxford in 2013 to run a large 66 000 sq ft store I never looked back. It took over a year to learn the ins and outs of the store and all the required processes and procedures we work towards, so that our customers receive the same level of service and continuity no matter which store they visit. Even today, there’s changes to keep up with the times, such as new direct debit systems and data protection requirements. Thankfully I’ve had a great teacher in my area manager, who’s been in the sector much longer than I have.
What’s important in managing this store is knowing what to do when things don’t go as planned. My team has always been good at fixing issues as they arise, such as when the lift stops working, a lorry in the yard reversing and hitting the gate or a van miscalculating and driving into a roller shutter door - all such events require prompt action to ensure that the site is safe for both the public and staff.
The team and I are proud of this facility. Since I’ve been here the growth in occupancy has been fantastic, starting out at 472 units in 2013 to over 900 units now, as well as five offices to manage. Now, I’m not saying we are a competitive team, but watch this space Storage King Cambridge! My ambition is to be the highest yielding store in UK portfolio, both in occupancy and revenue, and I won’t slow down until this happens.
We strive to achieve the targets and budgets while working to head office procedures when it comes to the day-to-day administration, health & safety, security and good old-fashioned customer service. That’s what makes the days enjoyable and meaningful - helping people manage their lives, be it personal or business.
Managing a store for me is about coaching your colleagues well, while having a little fun too.
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