Pro­file

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

RSWLiving - - Departments - BY KELLY MAD­DEN

Stor­age Wars

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.”

—LEW POL­LACK

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,”

—LEW POL­LACK

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

Lew Pol­lack

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