Each month the U-Haul Self-Storage Affiliate Network welcomes the newest locations in the network. This July, we are excited to welcome many new self-storage facilities. Each new location, like East Longmeadow Self Storage in East Longmeadow, MA, to Cactus Self Storage in Glendale, AZ, to Entreposage JCS Trois-Rivieres in Trois-Rivieres, QC, welcome! For July 2014 we’d like to spotlight new affiliate Jon Pokorny with Mr. Storage and his five locations in Concord, Kannapolis, Harrisburg, Midland, and Central, North Carolina.
Question: Please tell us a little bit about your facilities.
Jon Pokorny: I started off with a 100 unit, older facility in 2008 that was in poor shape and not managed well. Simply changing the management strategy, implementing new marketing, and cleaning it up made it full in 3 weeks. I expanded in 2009 and 2011 and again in 2014. I added a facility in Harrisburg, NC, and Kannapolis, NC with a huge expansion breaking ground this week in Harrisburg. I also just closed on another facility in Midland, NC. All are single story facilities with all drive-up access within a 10-mile radius of Concord, NC. In total, I have 812 units and have thus far been able to manage and maintain all facilities on my own.
I pride myself on my facilities and their appearance. I have just recently added U-Haul and the WebSelfStorage Business Platform to replace my aging QuickBooks system. The name MR. Storage was originally MR, using the initials for my parents’ first names, Marcia and Richard. As time went on it morphed into Mr. Storage.
Do not take on more than you can handle and expand slowly. Manage your time wisely. I leave my office at 4PM so I can get home to be with my family. Never take on so much that it negatively effects your family, keep a good work-life balance. -John Pokorny
Question: What’s one thing you’d like other affiliates in the network to know about your facilities?
Jon Pokorny: I try to always be transparent with my tenants and treat them all the same. Upon move-in, being clear and straightforward is crucial. It is extremely important in order to resolve any potential issues down the road. I outline every fee, liability, and scenario that could come up while they are tenants with me. This way they have no surprises if something happens.
Question: What is one thing that you think is essential to running a successful self-storage facility?
Jon Pokorny: Know your tenants. My tenants know that when they call me, they get me. When they call, I will remember them, and ask them about their day and how their kids are, etc. That personal touch will cause people to stay with you and recommend you to their friends. Yes, this is a business, but we are dealing with the public, and the public likes to be remembered.
Question: You were using a stand alone program before, what are you most looking forward to about the WebSelfStorage Business Platform, a web-based program?
Jon Pokorny: Not having to create hundreds of invoices manually and having dozens of post-it notes around my computer screen.
Question: You operate multiple locations, any advice for those looking to grow their business?
Jon Pokorny: Do not take on more than you can handle and expand slowly. Manage your time wisely. I leave my office at 4 PM so I can get home to be with my family. Never take on so much that it negatively affects your family, keep a good work-life balance.
Mr. Storage – North Carolina
Location: Mr. Storage
Located in: Concord, Kannapolis, and Midland, NC
Owner: John Pokorny
Units: Approximately 810