Here at Lockaway Storage, we know our success is due to our wonderful team. The care they give our renters is unparalleled and we want to highlight their milestones along the way. Below is an interview with San Antonio team member Geno Anderson, who is celebrating his 1-year anniversary with Lockaway Storage this week.
Peter: First off, congratulations. Please help me remember, is this your one year anniversary with Lockaway Storage?
Geno: This is my first year with the company.
Peter: Right on, right on. How did you get involved with Lockaway?
Geno: Well, Teddy was working here first. He’d come home talking about the job and it sounded very interesting and I’m glad I took a chance at it.
Peter: That’s awesome. During a year, you’ve probably seen a lot of different things at the facility on North 281, met a lot of different people. Do you have any stories that stand out?
Geno: Well, something happened today that was really sad in actuality. A customer came in and he wanted to see a unit with a particular sizing. He said that his place was hit by Harvey and his son’s place was hit by Harvey. He actually pulled out his phone and started showing me pictures. It didn’t really hit me, it didn’t hit me until he went to leave and I kept saying to him, “Whatever you need, let us know. We’re here for you.” and I gave him the promotion we have for those who’ve been affected by Harvey. He looked back at me and you could see the tears start falling down and as soon as that happened, I walked out, crossed the threshold and tears started falling from me… to not be there, you don’t understand how it affects people until you see a person come to your front door who can’t help but tear up, because someone is reaching out to them. And I’m not reaching out to you to try to get something from you. I’m reaching out to let you know that we’re here for you, so don’t ever feel like you’re alone. I feel like it made a big statement for sure, but how it affected me to watch him cry, a grown man break down like that…
Peter: Dang, that is brutal.
Geno: It’s the one part of the job I don’t like.
Peter: I did not expect that. Did you have a lot of people come in because of the hurricane?
Geno: Well, not really. As far as anybody who’s been affected personally by Harvey, he was the first one that I’ve actually had. Everyone was concerned when it first happened, concerned that we were going to be flooded, that we were going to be affected. But the good thing about this particular location is that we have that runoff down below. Water just runs off the property. Nobody had anything to worry about here. That was a good thing.
Peter: I love the design of that facility. That is one of the more interesting Lockaway storage facilities.
Geno: You should see it now. It doesn’t look anything like it used to. We’ve put flowers. We have ponds out here, benches where people can sit down. It’s starting to look like a botanical garden. It feels like home. It makes it feel like home for me and for Teddy and the customers feel the same way. They’re feeling it. You can see that they feel it.
Peter: I remember walking through there and I remember seeing cactuses, I think, and some hanging plants.
Geno: It’s better now. Haha.
Peter: Oh, man. I’m excited to see it again. Your facility on North 281 is one we plan to come back and see.
Geno: Absolutely. You’ll see the difference.
Peter: How did you get started with all of the gardening and landscaping?
Geno: Well, the thing is, first getting here, when Thomas first gave me permission to do whatever I wanted to start doing, it’s almost like he saw that I had an eye for it. You saw how, in the beginning, things looked normal, he said, “Just go ahead and do whatever you want to.” The plants were sitting around anyway. We were trying to find a good location for them anyway. Now we’re able to take some of them out of the pot. And make them a permanent part of the landscaping and it fit. Everything is growing right into where it’s supposed to be. I’d like to see this place 2-3 years from now, because we’ve planted bushes and plants that are just going to blow the property up. It’s just going to be so beautiful here. Thomas and I have already talked about it and I told him I want to call it the Botanical Garden or the Lockaway Garden. It’s just a great opportunity, because it gives me a chance to do what I love to do while I am doing the job I do everyday. It goes hand in hand.
Peter: That’s so cool. I love that.
Geno: It’s awesome.
Peter: One thing I keep hearing over and over again is about the independence and support that everybody in the company provides for each other. Is that good way to sum up your experience?
Geno: Hahahaha, it’s awesome. It’s absolutely awesome and I know that it’s rubbing off, because when Thomas and I talk now, he’s always looking for a plan that fits in his place. It’s really is rubbing off now that people are seeing it. That makes me feel pretty good. Once you see the property, you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s different now. It looks very, very different. The plants have taken hold. It looks totally different from what you remember. It’s incredible, just incredible.
Peter: Really, really cool.
Geno: Just taking advantage of the opportunities.
Peter: And being proactive. Looking at it, assessing the situation and doing it. That’s great. Do you live on site?
Geno: I do and you know, Peter, that is one of the unique selling points that people seem to like more than anything else. They go to different facilities and the reviews are impressing people quite a bit, but when they come here and I tell them that I am the manager who lives on site, a person who is worried about their belongings no longer feels like they need to be worried about their belongings. They know someone is right here. They know what it’s like to check the doors all the time. They catch me walking around the property anyway making sure everything’s ok. That lends a certain need to worry less and customers seem to like that. It helps a lot.
Peter: I know that I would feel at ease if I know there was someone who was actually living there, because it’s such a personal thing taking care of people’s stuff.
Peter: It’s almost like you have a big, old closet that everybody has a little cut of.
Peter: That’s cool.
Geno: I like making sure that the customers feel exactly that. I want them to feel like it’s an extension of my closet. I’m not just here to collect money from you. I want you to feel that when you put your stuff here that it’s here and you’re just coming home to your friend who’s going to open the gate for you and let you in to get your stuff again.
Geno: I think they’re getting that impression.
Peter: I imagine the community is pretty vibrant. Probably a lot of people you see regularly.
Geno: I do. I actually have a few customers who are no longer tenants here who still bring plants here and drop plants off every now and then as just a way of saying thank you to me, since I’ve been taking care of them. It’s been plants. One particular customer brought a swing set. It’s an all wood swing set. They’re always dropping off different things, because we take care of them and they take care of us. I can’t even tell you how many plants we’ve gotten from customers that we have taken and they’re not permanent parts of the property. Whatever they get me, I put it out on the property. I don’t keep them for myself. They’re for the property.
Peter: We definitely want as many pictures as you can shoot our way. I love that you take advantage of that opportunity.
Geno: Absolutely. It makes me sleep well at night. It worked out well.
Peter: So you get to get away from the facility every now and then. Do you have any hobbies outside of the things we’ve talked about?
Geno: Oh, I don’t know. I’m an artist. I draw when I get the opportunity. I sit on the property and I draw, because there is just so much beauty out here. It inspires my poetry. I’ve been writing poetry for years and now when I look out the window and see a beautiful day outside, you know? The wind rustling through the grass, there’s just so much out here. For a creative imagination like me, it’s like heaven. It’s a great opportunity. I don’t think Thomas understands how much I appreciate this. I don’t think he knows how a person like me, with my mentality, when working in a place like this, it’s rewarding. It’s the most rewarding job on this planet and it makes me feel like the pay cut that I took to leave the company that I left, it was well worth it, because I would rather sit here in an office and take a lesser pay, but be able to look outside and see the beauty I get to see everyday, as opposed to sitting in an office making all of that money, but also making all of those headaches that go along with it. This is just so much more rewarding.
Peter: It’s a quality of life increase.
Geno: Yes! It makes me breathe a lot easier and the customers can feel that it’s just not about the money. They can feel that. I’ll keep saying that, because I want to get that point across, haha!
Peter: It sounds like you have a really great relationship with the people who store at your facility.
Geno: Yeah, we do. We have a mutual understanding. I think them every opportunity I get for just entrusting me with their belongings, because they could take them anywhere. They could have them stacked up in their own garage, but they’re keeping them here under my care and they are trusting me to take care of them.
Peter: Help me remember where you are. You’re right off the highway, right?
Geno: That is correct.
Peter: That is such a great location. That is such a convenient location. I really like that one. Here’s a weird question, do you have many commercial clients in that facility?
Geno: I do, I do. Chick-Fil-A is here. We have landscapers here who come through all the time. We have a gentleman who makes those signs you see on the side of the road. He makes those here all the time. He and I have a great relationship as well. And a couple of others. I have one guy who is working for Gatorade and he has a locker that is full of products. We have tons and tons of people who are running their businesses through here.
Peter: I love when self storage contributes to the local economy.
Geno: Yeah, it’s awesome.
Peter: Are there any restaurants in the area that you like?
Geno: Yes, Freebirds. Freebirds is around here. I’m not sure if you know who they are, but, oh, my God, burritos. Their burritos are humongous.
Peter: Whoa! Really?
Geno: Yeah and they are so delicious. Especially in the restaurant.
Peter: Nice. For your information, I have had nothing but coffee today, so you are making me hungry.
Geno: Haha, well, I just learned a few days ago that it’s in San Antonio. I’m keeping the lights on at that place in actuality.
Peter: Hahaha. That’s hilarious. Well, that’s basically it. At the end of these, I’ve been asking everyone if there’s anybody at the company who deserves a shoutout. Has there been anyone who has helped you out in the past that you want to give some props to?
Geno: Yes, there is one person. This person is not on the team. It’s Teddy’s mother. And I’ll tell you why. Teddy’s mother did something for a woman that was a total stranger years ago, years ago, like when Teddy was 3 or 4 years of age and because of what she did for her, taking care of a total stranger, more than 30 years later, this woman is now taking care of Teddy and Teddy’s getting benefits from this woman that just happens to be in the field that can help Teddy and she did something this passed weekend that was just impossible, but his mother proved that when you do something right for people it does come back. It always comes back. Years ago when Teddy’s mom did what she did, she didn’t think anything of what she was doing, just being the type of person she is and for her to do something like that and for it come back today, in my lifetime, and for me to see how it benefited Teddy, my shoutout is absolutely to her. She is a remarkable person and if flows through him. That’s what you have in Teddy.