Get to know on-site self storage manager, Jake Price, at our newest location on 2626 Harry Wurzbach Road. Jake’s family has been in the San Antonio area for more than 30 years, so he knows a lot about the Alamo City! Come by this homey, friendly facility and talk to Jake about not just the history of the area, but about what size self storage unit is best for you! And remember, if you’re a member of the military, we have a discount for you!
Peter: How did you get started with Lockaway Storage?:
Jake: Basically I’ve got 20-25 years of experience working in all levels of public schools and then 4-5 years of adult health education. During that time I ran my own properties and my family’s properties, so we had up to 7 residential. Then my grandfather, who was a Texas Ranger up in the Waco Texas Ranger museum, he had 10,000 acres of large ranches in Colorado and the Texas panhandle and, so, that’s where I got to learn about facilities, proper planning prevents poor performance, you know, from electric to plumbing to landscaping to metal. You do all kinds of things living on ranches and farms with metal, so cutting a lock or grinding or replacing a door or even building them from the ground up I think I can do that.
Peter: You’ve got a ton of experience. What drew you to Lockaway Storage?
Jake: My sister is the head of the Boerne, TX economic development foundation and she told me about some of the stores there and they had a part-time position available out in Boerne, so I talked with Jason Steitle, who is an ex-educator, and I said, “You know, I loved working with kids, but I’m tired. I want to do something different. I need something fresh. I’ve run schools with 34 million dollar budgets, thousands of acre ranches, 7 houses.”
Peter: Jeeze, yeah, you just want to relax.
Jake: Yeah, absolutely. I was talking with him and my sister and it was the integrity of the company. I knew I could more than likely make a significant amount more money, but if they’re not about integrity, you’re not treated well, then you’re going to look for another job, because you’re developing an ulcer.
Peter: Quality of life is so important.
Jake: Absolutely, so she told me so much about the background of the company, just the good positive things she had heard about it. As soon as I saw a position open, I went ahead and just applied for it, talked to Jason and he hired me for a part-time job. One thing led to another and I thought I could use some more hours and, so I got to travel to about 5-6 locations for about a month, month and a half before this position came open, so I said, “Heck yeah, I’ll take it.”
Peter: Did I hear you say earlier that you’re going to be the on-site manager here, that you’re going to move in?
Jake: I’ve already moved in a good deal of stuff. By next week, I should be there full time. I’ve got to get shower curtains up and make sure I’ve got coffee filters and things like that.
Peter: Then decorate it a little bit and make it feel homey?
Jake: Yeah, yeah. Make it look a little bit like the holiday season. This is a wonderful facility, because with my dad being in the military for 24 years, living all over the world: 8 years in Germany, Dad was over in Korea. Sister was born in a helicopter in Germany. I just love this facility, because it’s a perfect match for me personally, because right down the road is Ft. Sam Houston. I would guesstimate that probably 70-75% of our residents, if not more, are directly related to the military. Then that next 20-30% are indirectly related to the military.
Peter: So that military discount is getting a workout here.
Jake: Haha, absolutely! We give the military discount and we connect with people, because they’re storing more than their stuff. Like, for instance, we have an elderly woman who is 104 years old and lives in the USAA towers, so you can envision that her husband was in World War I or World War II, and we’ve got her stuff in one of the units that could be from back at the turn of the century. This is more than storing stuff, it’s about connecting with people.
Peter: Absolutely, absolutely.
Jake: Yeah, because this is people’s lives, not just their stuff.
Peter: Yeah, people don’t really think about it that way. Self storage is one of those things where you don’t necessarily go out looking for it every time, you get it because you need to have it.
Jake: Yeah, it’s good things like that. One thing I wanted to say too is that this facility is unique in the sense that it’s small and very quaint. You get to know only two staff members, but we have several people who have been here since the early 1990’s when it first opened up.
Peter: Really? Dang!
Jake: Yeah, so that’s a testament to the quality facilities, hopefully great management, and just taking care of them. They know that their stuff is safe. If you’ve been here since the beginning, there’s a reason. One guy’s got his little MG car in a unit from 1972 that he had in college.
Peter: Dang, that’s an endorsement right here.
Jake: It is, it is.
Peter: Tell me a little bit more about the facility. What are some of the distinct characteristics of the Harry Wurzbach facility.
Jake: It was built in the earlier 1990’s and what makes it unique is that it’s all drive up, very, very wide lanes with easily accessible outside units. Then, additionally, it’s preformed concrete, the other metal ones and cinder blocks are great, but this particular structure is preformed concrete, so it’s basically fireproof with the heavy duty metals and rain guttering and everything. So, easy accessibility, extremely durable, and then it’s got a lot of history. If you’ve got people who have been here since the beginning, that speaks volumes.
Peter: I see you guys have got the gated entry with the keypad for secure access.
Jake: We sure do.
Peter: You’ve got the security cameras up there and you on-site as well.
Jake: Yeah, then additionally several contractors have come out and they’re going to add more cameras. Right now, we’ve got 4-5 and they’re going to bring the total up to around 20. What’s neat about that is they’re going to be high definition cameras. The whole facility will be covered and I’ll also be able to watch it on my TV, so if you’re a bad person and you’re reading this, don’t come around here!
Jake: Because I’m watching you! And to the customers, your stuff is safe!
Peter: Right on, right on. What’s occupancy looking like right now?
Jake: We’re at about 65-70 percent.
Peter: Come on down and rent some units, guys!
Jake: Absolutely, yeah, I’m very confident that even with Lockaway Storage Rittiman, the mega store, being right around the corner, with the uniqueness of this facility, that we can get up to well over into the 80’s. It’s just going to take some time doing things that haven’t been done: advertising, reviews, some critical updates on the facility. Going through all the doors and making sure everything works correctly. It’s been painted and it really looks good. With all the flags out there, it’s got great curb appeal, so I think it has a lot of potential.
Peter: Tell me about the area. You said there’s a lot of military around, but what’s the feel of the neighborhood?
Jake: The feel of the neighborhood is pretty cool, because what you have is Austin Highway right here that intersects with Harry Wurzbach. Austin Highway, a lot of people don’t know, but my Grandfather was here in the early 1970’s, so we’ve seen it grow a lot, but basically Austin Highway was the predominant highway that they used as the main road in the 1950’s. When this was going full blown during World War II, then the Korean War came and that’s when they really started to expand the city. You’ve got one of the oldest housing development right there in Alamo Heights, so we’ve just got a lot of heritage. Not just with the facility being here since 1992, but with this being one of the original premier areas from the 1950’s. Then it kind of went down a little bit like a lot of places do, but in the 1990’s and early 2000’s it was rediscovered. Right now, the last 10-15-20 years, Alamo Heights has really stood up. They’ve completely renovated the stores around here on Austin Highway and Harry Wurzbach. I just learned that in 2019-2020 they’re going to be doing a major intersection right here, so it’s seamless from Harry Wurzbach to Austin Highway.
Peter: That’s going to be convenient.
Jake: Oh, yeah. So convenient.
Peter: That’s great. Is there anything I haven’t asked about you or the facility that you think people ought to know?
Jake: This place is the best pound-for-pound if you’re looking to store your valuables. If I had things to store, I’d come here, because of the Mom and Pop feel. As you can see from the office, we sit down and talk, “Hey, tell me about your kids before you sign the contract.” “Ok, what are you putting inside there? Be careful, no hazardous materials. Don’t do anything that would bring animals or rodents in.” Not only are we helping them out, but if you like that personal, Mom and Pop feel like I do, this is the place you’ve got to come.
Peter: That’s great! Before I let you go, at the end of these I like to ask if there’s anyone on the team that you think deserves a shoutout. I know you just started, but is there anyone on the team who’s helped you out and deserves a shoutout?
Jake: This is one of the reasons I know that I’ve ended up at the right place. Anybody and everybody to Don Dodge over at Lockaway Storage Airport, just everybody has been approachable and that’s a rare notion for me. Working in public schools and even working in the health industry, I’ve never had that before. Two people in particular would be Jason Seitel. I connected with him instantly, because he is a fellow educator. He gave me this opportunity and he’s just a very, very nice person. Very honest, open and straightforward. He just tells you things during the training that aren’t necessarily in the book that you might learn the hard way, but he tells you and then you put it in the long-term memory bank, so, Jason, you rock! Thank you, brother, for the opportunity! Then the second person I would say that was very, very vicariously involved was Phil Brown at the Lockaway Storage Hwy 46 store. That was the very first store I went to and he would sit with me for 2 or 3 hours and tell me about the industry, about what to say, because it’s not so much about sales as it is about connecting with people. He’s retired military and we instantly connected. Those two people directly and indirectly were just awesome! Let me put it this way, now they’re not telling me to say this and I’m not getting a bonus, but if you’re looking for a job, you want to work with this family!