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 Justin Villarreal who is celebrating his 1-year anniversary with Lockaway Storage this week. All interviews are performed by Peter Soto.
Peter: It’s been a year ago now. How did you get started working in self storage?
Justin: My intention was to get out of a call center. That’s actually where I was at, Wells Fargo. I was looking for a leasing position in the apartment industry. Well, when I was searching on Craigslist, that’s how I found the job. I came across an ad for “Assistant Manager” in self storage. I applied and low and behold I got the job. Apartments definitely weren’t something I was looking forward to, but something I’m glad I didn’t go into, because, apartments, from what I hear, can be little more, how can you say, tedious.than working in the self storage industry.
Peter: It sounds like you’re saying that the self storage industry is more exciting than the apartment industry. Can you elaborate on that?
Justin: Oh, yeah. You encounter all different kinds of things. Not necessarily problems. Just different people from different backgrounds going through the home buying process, we go through it too. When they get it, when they move out and actually move into their house. It’s definitely rewarding to hear how good of a self storage facility we are and the quality of customer service we provide.
Peter: It sounds like you see a lot of different people during the week from a lot of different backgrounds and walks of life.
Justin: From the military to people who are exchange students. I have teachers. I have small businesses. The list goes on.
Peter: Do you have any favorite stories about anything you either heard or experienced yourself during your time at Lockaway Storage?
Justin: Absolutely. I had this one that actually resulted in a Google review for our Evans Road location. During the purchase of the property, I guess information didn’t transfer over to our software, so this Lady came up and she’s trying to figure out where her stuff was. She hadn’t been here in a couple years and she had been storing some very prized possessions and sentimental items that were passed down from generation to generation. We ended up going to the unit that we that was hers and her stuff wasn’t in there, so she starts going.crazy. She’s just going really, really crazy about how we lost her stuff or somebody stole her stuff. The cops were even called out that day. Long story short, she mis-remembered which unit was hers and we found her stuff. It ended up working out for the better. It was just one of those one offs that you didn’t know that you could encounter in the industry. It’s not one of those everyday things. I felt really good coming out of it, because at the end of the day she was relieved and she continues to store here.
Peter: It’s because you guys gave her really good customer service, right?
Justin: Yeah, overall, her experience, she told me that I handled it very well. I was just trying to figure out what she was talking about and where she was actually at, because a lot of people coming to this property, they would be told to just go pick a unit out back and tell me what number it is and we’ll move you in and do it like that. There was no customer service with the previous manager. Now the people who come in are like, “Somebody’s always here. I like that.” You know, somebody’s always here during the hours of operation.. We’re just readily available and that’s just and that’s just something that they’re taking away from Lockaway storage as opposed to the previous ownership. .
Peter: I’ve heard Lockaway does that “Change Management” thing and when people who were previously storing come in they always comment on how things are so much cleaner, safer, more secure. Would you say that’s what happened here?
Justin: Absolutely. How we take care of security, our customers have to have keypads in and out. It’s not like when you’re exiting you pull up and the gate automatically opens, no. You have to put in a code and that gives them peace of mind and makes them feel secure as well. Of course the cameras and all the other added features. We also have neighbors and being that we’re so remote, even though somebody’s not here outside of the hours of operation the guy next door is always looking out on the property. Not to mention, he has units here as well and he’s always on the property. The property is starting to build up.
Peter: It sounds like you’re doing a great job out there at your facility. When you’re not at work, do you have any hobbies?
Justin: I play recreational volleyball and basketball for the local San Antonio parks and recreation.
Peter: What position did you play normally in basketball?
Justin: Point guard.
Peter: Nice are you just lighting it up or are you trying to dish out some assists too?
Justin: Definitely assists. I’ve always played shooting guard, so going in and playing point guard is like playing goalie to a hockey team or to a soccer team. You’re kind of depended on and looked to for guidance as far as plays and stuff like that. Playing different positions you definitely have to adapt, especially when you go from playing volley ball to basketball and I also play baseball occasionally, but that’s not something I do year round.
Peter: Dang. You are a very active person.
Justin: Yeah, I try to be. Being that I am trying to go back to school and trying to manage time, I try to find some extracurriculars and other things to do during that time to fill that void.
Peter: It’s good that you have a job that allows you to enjoy your social life after work. Do you live in the San Antonio area?
Peter: If I was going there for the first time and I wanted the real local experience, what should I do?
Justin: Go to the Alamo. It’s a place I take my nieces and nephews when I do have time off just to teach them something cultural. It’s something they can see in the city itself. A lot of that is education, so education is already part of it, like at the IMAX they have “The Alamo: The Price of Freedom. Then you can walk down the street and there’s the Alamo. It’s really fun.
Peter: Any favorite restaurants in San Antonio?
Justin: Yes, it’s called Crystal’s Cafe. They have the best breakfast tacos in San Antonio.
Peter: Wait, breakfast tacos? I’ve heard that before about San Antonio. Is that one of those food you have to eat if you live here?
Justin: Yes, it’s a real traditional Mexican type of thing, I guess. The culture down here is, of course, Mexican-American, I guess you could say. For instance, the food itself they’re real big on enchiladas here, tortillas, tacos, just all of the menudo, posole, just all of that stuff.
Peter: Those were basically all of my questions. Do you want to give any shout outs to anyone at Lockaway or the Strat Prop home office?
Justin: Sure. I’d like to give a shout out to Amy Medrano. Through her effective coaching and her immediate availability, I feel she is truly a dedicated leader by example and a great asset to this company. Thanks for being awesome. .