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 team member Chris Pruitt, who is celebrating his 4-year anniversary with Lockaway Storage.
Shannon: Which year anniversary is this?
Chris: This is my fourth year at Lockaway.
Shannon: Oh nice, congratulations! I guess we’ll just jump right in then: How did you first get started with Lockaway Storage?
Chris: I got started because my wife and I were engaged at the time, and we were looking for a job that was going to be near where we were going to be living. She was searching on Craigslist and found the posting for me. So I applied, got hired on, and it’s been memories ever since then!
Shannon: Very cool, that’s awesome. So is being in self storage what you thought it would be?
Chris: I didn’t expect the stories that I would gather, the memories I would make, the friendships that would be created, and the interesting people that I would encounter.
Shannon: Do you have any positive memories you would like to recount?
Chris: My favorite story is actually just the interactions I’ve had with tenants as a whole, the appreciation they show for our services. People have offered me six-packs of beer. They’ve offered to leave me tips. They’ve made me hand-made tamales. They’ve brought me gifts and invited my family to the lake. They’ve invited my family over for dinner. So it’s just the appreciation that my tenants showed for me, that’s one of my favorite parts of the job.
Shannon: Wow, that’s awesome! It would be mine too if I were you! That’s amazing. Do you have any advice for anyone who’s thinking about working in self storage?
Chris: Just getting to know your tenants can go a long way. Because if you get to know them, you might have an experience similar to mine, like people offering these things, appreciating you. If you see a customer wearing a Dallas Cowboys hat, use that to talk about the Cowboys! Just find things to build trust between y’all, which helps the tenant feel safe and secure while their storing at your facility.
Shannon: Yeah, I think that building that sense of security and trust is important. What is your overall experience been like working with Lockaway Storage?
Chris: It’s overall been an amazing experience so far. Just the people I get to work with in terms of team members. Most of them are just all very friendly and outgoing. Tenants as well. To hear their stories and whatnot. There’s never a dull moment, so I enjoy that.
Shannon: I’m glad to hear that! Switching gears a little, is there any advice you would give to potential customers interested in renting their first storage unit?
Chris: I would mention to them to consider the location. Is it close to their home? What are you going to be storing as far as whether you’ll be needing climate control or non-climate control? Check out the crime rate in the area and make sure you ask questions to the manager as far as security of the facility. Ask if the manager lives on site. Lockaway does an amazing job as far as security and customer service. Compared to our competitors, Lockaway’s customer service goes above and beyond.
Shannon: Do you have an example of a time where you went above and beyond for a customer?
Chris: Well, I mean it happens day-to-day. I had a customer whose car battery died outside the office, so I went outside and offered to use my jumper cables and my car to help jumpstart their car so they could get back on the road and not have to call somebody to get towed. Someone had a flat tire before, so I went out there and helped them change their flat tire. Things like that are examples of going above and beyond as managers at Lockaway.
Shannon: Why do you think it’s important for you and your team to step up like that?
Chris: It just helps. One of our “Strat Values” is strengthen our community. So it helps strengthen our community, and it helps build a stronger relationship with tenants. They know that we’re looking out for them and we’re not just sitting in the office just wanting to make a transaction and take their money. We really want to build a relationship with them and get to know them more.
“A great thing about Chris is that he keeps his store very organized. Because of that, he’s been able to take on extra tasks that have really benefited the company. We really work with our past-due customers to avoid auctioning any of our units, but it sometimes is an unfortunate necessity. Chris recently helped Lockaway transition our storage auction process from in-person auctions to the online auction site StorageTreasures.com. He researched how the site worked and even wrote a step-by-step guide for our managers to use. Chris really stepped up and did a great job on this project.”
-Jason Steitle, Education and Training Manager for Lockaway Storage
Shannon: That’s fantastic. So we were talking about the importance of looking at a facility’s security features and knowing what the area is like around the facility. Can you describe what the area or neighborhood is like around the FM 471 facility?
Chris: Right now, I am pretty much surrounded by fields.
Shannon: Haha, oh!
Chris: Yeah, there’s not too much around me. But there are neighborhoods popping up left and right though, so it’s just a matter of time before I’m surrounded by neighborhoods. But as of right now, I have fields to the left of me…
Shannon: Fields to the right…
Chris: Haha, yeah exactly!
Shannon: But hey, that’s not a bad thing though! It’s probably easier to hear people coming in and out of the facility, and to keep an eye on things without a bunch of distractions.
Chris: That is true. For security reasons it’s nicer. I think it’s nicer just because there’s no houses where people can jump fence. The field is overgrown and there are cattle and deer.
Shannon: You would have to deal with the cows if you were on the run!
Chris: Right, haha. So that makes it less desirable for people to try to break in. I’ve never had any issues here thankfully.
Shannon: Sure that makes sense. So assuming you’re not always at work, and hanging out with cattle across the street or things like that, what do you like to do when you’re not working?
Chris: I am a big family person, so I really enjoy spending time with my wife and daughter. Whether that be hanging out at home or going to see our parents, or exploring San Antonio and going on adventures. I also enjoy going fishing. I find that very relaxing and peaceful.
Shannon: Do you have a favorite fishing spot?
Chris: I actually don’t go fishing much here in San Antonio. I usually go to Austin, so I haven’t really gone fishing down here.
Shannon: Right on. So I was just curious, how old is your daughter?
Chris: My daughter is two and a half, and she is a “Daddy’s Girl”.
Shannon: Haha how so?
Chris: I am her best friend. And, really it sounds corny, but she is my best friend too.
Shannon: That is so sweet! Do you guys have any daddy-daughter spots you like to go to?
Chris: We will go to Red Robin and eat there together; kick it in the booth. She’ll eat her food, I’ll eat mine, and she’ll steal my food, haha! I am wrapped around her finger. When she asks me to do something it’s hard to tell her no. Of course if it’s something dangerous I’ll say no, haha! Even watching T.V. she’ll make sure she’s snuggled up close to me, lie her head on my shoulder while we watch T.V. together. So yeah, I love the bond that we share together.
Shannon: That’s really great. I guess once you have kids, that’s really your world.
Chris: For sure.
Shannon: So back on track with Lockaway questions, do you have anyone you would like to give a shout out to in the company?
Chris: Sure. I have to give a shout out to Jason Steitle. He used to be my DM. When he was my DM, he was helpful in encouraging me to “run it like I own it” and just be the best possible manager that I could be. And I’ve also got to give a shout out to Thomas Nannen, who is my current DM, for continuing to encourage me to “run it like I own it” and not micromanage me or breathe down my neck. I really enjoy the way they manage their facilities and me. I can’t leave out Don Clauson and Tristina. The way they treat their team members and represent the Strat values is admirable. Then I guess I have a shout out for Travis, even though he likes the Yankees. Last but not least, the people I get to talk to and work with every week. They make working so much more fun and enjoyable.
Shannon: Great! Man, you are just full of love for everybody!
Chris: Yes! Most people here have been a blessing to work with.
“Chris Pruitt is a pleasure to work with, because he takes initiative at his store and success has followed. His store’s occupancy is quickly climbing and has gone from 69% in March to over 76% in May with over 1,500 net rented square feet this month! Chris is also a team player and is excelling in his role of Senior Team Member. In this role, he has been a great help to team members in need. Chris is very hands-on with issues at his facility, including recently wrangling a 4ft long snake that was attempting to stay rent-free!”
-Thomas Nannen, District Manager at Lockaway Storage