The Arizona Self-Storage Association (AZSSA) has reinstated its District Outreach program to better connect with self-storage operators in areas outside of major state markets. The designated liaison will give members from rural areas a voice in the organization and provide access to a board member, who will serve as a mentor, according to a press release.
âHaving representation in parts of the state such as Flagstaff, Yuma, Lake Havasu and the White Mountains is critical,â said Amy Amideo, Executive Director.
AZSSA initially launched the liaison initiative 20 years ago. The main objective was to recruit a local person from each peripheral area to serve as an extension of the association‘s board of directors and help inform new members about the state statutes and promote collaboration. However, the program was launched before the organization had an executive director or a link with a board mentor, the statement said.
âWith the rapid evolution of the sector, including the advent of a new type of owner – investors / owners with little to no industry experience – liaison with the District is more than ever necessary to help maintain integrity of the self-storage industry, âAZSSA officials said. The association expects the program to help restore relationships with long-standing members as well as provide support and a sense of community to new owners and managers of small farms, the statement said.
Some of that connection has been lost in the wake of the pandemic, including the cancellation of many in-person events. When Amideo recently replaced Anne Mari DeCoster as Executive Director, she launched a ‘Ruralpalooza’ tour as part of the association’s 25th anniversary, visiting rural markets across the state and introducing herself to facility operators. .
âWhile I was outside to meet with owners and managers, I also built relationships and saw who might be a good candidate for the District Liaison position,â Amideo said. “With COVID shutting everything down, it was the only way I could think of to introduce myself and let them know that AZSSA was there for them during this pandemic.”
âIn the past, our relationships [with AZSSA] were mostly over the phone, âsaid Doug Hayhurst, owner of Xtra Space Self Storage in Mayer, Arizona. âHaving a liaison is a huge help in understanding some of the issues we are having. It’s great to have this idea. It makes a big difference. “
AZSSA has made it a priority to re-establish in-person events, including workshops and networking opportunities, as well as to develop the local industry as a community, Amideo said.
Founded in 1996, AZSSA comprises over 600 member facilities owned by approximately 300 owner / operators and over 100 vendor members. Services include legislative intelligence and legal resources, communications, online facility and supplier research, educational events and networking, and an annual conference and trade show.