Americans love stuff. But where do you store those RVs, boats and boxes of things you just can’t throw out? Lew Pollack has the answer
If 10 years ago you had asked successful businessman and entrepreneur, Lew Pollack, what type of business he may run in the future, self storage would not have been on his list. Yet as it turned out, stumbling into the renting of storage units of all sizes has proven to be a very fortuitous thing. Pollack sounds proud when he describes how he built StoreSmart into a thriving business, thanks to a twist of fate.
“I was in the process of moving to Santa Fe, and my friend and I could not find a storage facility anywhere in the region,” says Pollack. “So, we decided to build one.” The idea started as a part-time business, but blossomed into an entire system of stateof-the-art, self-storage facilities that now covers seven states. In Florida StoreSmart has locations in Fort Myers, Naples, Tampa and the Cape Canaveral area. “We have ownership and management operations involving about 1.5 million square feet of space in 26 properties, with a total of 15,000 units,” says Pollack. “And we’re proud of what we’ve built.” Pollack’s pride stems from following a business model based on being a cut above the typical selfstorage facility and providing a distinctly customer-focused service experience.
His StoreSmart business was designed around offering the absolute cleanest, safest and easy-to-use storage units, from 5 square feet up to 10 feet by 30 feet, along with large spaces for recreational vehicles and boats. “We made the choice to build and operate only class- A, institutional- grade facilities, and we invest a lot in our people, ensuring they feel a sense of ownership in how they run their facilities—we’ve been
fortunate to have the top facility managers in the country at StoreSmart,” the business owner says.
Pollack set out to create a self-storage option that provided the ultimate in customer service and made sure that whatever your storage needs, his company could provide it. Pollack recalls the scenario when a manufacturer of drugs, who repackaged cough syrup, needed an FDA-approved space to keep samples. To meet the exacting storage standards imposed by the FDA, Pollack and his team developed a custom configuration for the client. It was fit to strict temperature, humidity and cleanliness standards. “We’ll do whatever the client needs, from the safe- keeping of valuable artwork to speciallydesigned gun or jewelry safes to any special, unique unit layout, we can make it happen,” he says.
Pollack points to the company’s management personnel, who he says are the key to StoreSmart’s success. “Our managers and their assistants, our area and regional supervisors and virtually everyone on our team are the cream of the crop when it comes to experience, customer focus and personal accountability,” says Pollack. “I think that’s a big part of our success.” He emphasizes that the company invests a minimum of six months training and education before a manager gets to run a
WE HAVE OWNERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT OPERATIONS INVOLVING ABOUT 1.5 MILLION SQUARE FEET OF SPACE IN 26 PROPERTIES, WITH A TOTAL OF 15,000 UNITS. AND WE’RE PROUD OF WHAT WE’VE BUILT.”
WE’LL DO WHATEVER THE CLIENT NEEDS, FROM THE SAFE-KEEPING OF VALUABLE ARTWORK TO SPECIALLY-DESIGNED GUN OR JEWELRY SAFES TO ANY SPECIAL, UNIQUE UNIT LAYOUT, WE CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN,”
StoreSmart facility. Pollack believes the extra attention to every customer’s needs is what has helped his business grow.
The company not only leases climatecontrolled storage space, but also offers the convenience of renting a U-Haul truck, and stocking up on packing and shipping supplies. Pollack notes, “We want our customers to be able to get everything they may need to make storing or moving their items easier, safer, and to expect the best customer service possible—that’s how we operate.” He finishes his thoughts by saying that even though he can go online to watch real-time video monitoring at any one of his 26 stores anytime he wants, he never has. “We use extensive secret shopper and telephone-customer call systems to make sure all of our facilities are running to strict standards, and I think our customers appreciate that,” he emphasizes. The fact that his facilities were designed to be bright, airy and beyond clean is no accident. Pollack remembers when he decided to launch the venture eight years ago, he and his team vowed to build the best self storage available in the industry— and to never bend those rules. Kelly Madden is a freelance writer living in Fort Myers and a frequent contributor to TOTI Media’s publications.
StoreSmart’s facilities in Naples
StoreSmart’s Fort Myers location