On Friday 11th November, the final night of the 2022 SSAA Convention, Industry peers gathered for a night of collegiality and celebration for the SSAA Awards for Excellence, presented by VISY Boxes & More. Energy was high as we were finally able to connect face-to-face once again to recognise the strong performance of those leading the way in self storage.
In 2022, the awards returned with four new categories, reflecting the changing nature of industry while providing more opportunities to celebrate excellence across the sector.
An independent judging panel of distinguished industry leaders were appointed to critically assess all entries in their respective categories to determine both finalists and winners. The judging panel commented glowingly on the notably high calibre of award nominations received this year, once again reinforcing the exceptional resilience and professionalism demonstrated across industry.
Excellence in Community Engagement sponsored by Universal Storage Containers
Winner: Storage Choice
The purpose of this award is to recognise excellence in positively engaging with the local or broader community for societal benefit and/or outstanding contributions to community.
Storage Choice were awarded for their ‘Community Shed Initiative’ which involves their donation of storage units across their nine locations to local charities and community organisations who are committed to helping those in need.
“We are committed to being a positive member of the local communities in which our facilities trade and are aware that ‘storage space’ can be an issue for many community-based organisations and that funds currently used for storage or rent could be better directed to helping the organisation thrive.
There are many situations that arise through emergencies such as domestic violence, weather events and other circumstances that require storage. However, we found that often funding for storage is unavailable through many ‘traditional support programs’, and as such this is where our Community Shed Initiative fills that void” – excerpt from Storage Choice award application.
Excellence in Sustainability sponsored by The Energy Alliance
Winner: StoreLocal (Sustainable design – StoreLocal Hendra)
Finalist: National Mini Storage Albany Titoki (Solar Installation project)
Nominations for this award were open to all members with the purpose of the award being to recognise excellence in sustainable pursuits including environmental, social and governance initiatives that benefit the self storage facility, industry or wider community.
From efficient lighting to smart-access technology, solar installations and a high-tech approach to water and cleaning systems, StoreLocal Hendra employed a range of eco design principles and carefully chosen materials to present strong ESG credentials.
“By implementing sustainable thinking, design choices and energy-saving equipment, we’re communicating positive messages to our customer base on how to be responsible with resources as they experience our facilities.
Further, by promoting our sustainability endeavours within the industry, we contribute to encouraging cultural change and raising the level awareness of what can be done. The feedback we are getting from the construction industry are comments like ‘no one is doing this’ (preparing and issuing sustainable building material scope)” – excerpt from StoreLocal award application.
Excellence in Innovation sponsored by Midland Insurance Brokers
- iBidOnStorage (continued development of their online auction platform)
- StorApp (R6 Digital) (next-generation customer experience app)
Finalist: Storco (Series 1000 Locker)
This award category recognises excellence in innovation designed to support and further the success of the self storage industry. Applicants had to demonstrate evidenced innovation and improvement of a business process, product or service that benefits the self storage facility, industry or wider community.
iBidOnStorage have revolutionised the way that self storage operators manage abandoned goods and auction processes. With more than 1200 selling locations using the platform, the iBidOnStorage platform has been embraced by industry.
“When we launched iBidOnStorage in August 2016, we had a very specific objective in mind – to provide the self storage industry with an ‘industry specific’ platform; one that would go a long way to assist storage providers in their quest to sell the contents of unpaid and abandoned storage units… In more recent years, we have added the option of Private Sales … Auction Audit Reports …” and other features that help drive efficiency across operations – excerpt from iBidOnStorage award application.
StorApp, developed by R6 Digital, is a mobile phone application which integrates with SiteLink and all major gate access providers to provide a single end-to-end self storage digital experience.
“StorApp… can be used by self storage customers to securely access gate codes for storage facilities and also perform regular storage-related customer account activities like updating records, accessing invoices and making payments… This technology is the first of its kind globally to offer a full suite of gate access and account management features in a single app. Because of this, the potential is not just for Australia but globally, with hundreds of self storage operators across Asia, Europe and the US likely to adopt StorApp as their customer application” – excerpt from StorApp (R6 Digital) award application.
Excellence in Industry sponsored by PTI Security Systems
Winner: StoreLocal (local approach to self storage)
- National Mini Storage (One Team initiative)
- Storco (New manufacturing facility)
This industry ‘all-rounder’ award seeks to recognise excellence in industry leadership, education, transformation or other business projects or initiatives that positively impact the self storage sector.
StoreLocal manages over 30 facilities nationwide and are committed to developing an ongoing relationship with their customers that stems from being a neighbourhood ‘local’. This customer-focused approach has driven StoreLocal to constantly innovate and push the boundaries in an increasingly digital age, such as heading towards unmanned facilities that adopt transparent online pricing, automated customer feedback and single-page online move-ins.
“We are firm believers that the reason for our growth and performance stems from our values of ‘being a local’… When you manage over 30 self storage facilities nationwide, the impact that our facilities can have on local businesses, the customers they serve and everyone else who stores with us is extensive. This responsibility has driven us to build our services not just around revenue, but around our customers… We’re excited to see our hard work and commitment to customers pushing out the boundaries of what’s possible in self storage into the future and beyond” – excerpt from StoreLocal award application.
Facility of the Year Awards
The Facility of the Year awards collection endeavoured to recognise excellence amongst facilities who demonstrated high performance from a team, operational and performance perspective.
Facility of the Year (Up to 150 units), sponsored by Southwell Lifts & Hoists
Winner: Stax of Storage Churchill
Owned by Con Frances, Stax of Storage Churchill opened in May 2021 and aims to provide new technology and storage options to regional areas.
“Stax of Storage Churchill offers premium storage solutions to the Gippsland region. With newly built units secured with individual unit alarms, carpeted walkways and CCTV throughout, customers are left impressed with the look and feel of the facility” – excerpt from Stax of Storage Churchill award application.
Facility of the Year (150 – 500 units), sponsored by Janus International Australia
Winner: StoreLocal Hendra
Finalist: Fort Knox Self Storage (Braybrook)
“StoreLocal Hendra is a state-of-the-art, cutting edge and customer focussed storage destination for Brisbane. StoreLocal Hendra boasts the latest in keyless entry technology with Noke Smart Access Technology in addition to ‘work Local’, a co-working space for customers to work collaboratively” – excerpt from StoreLocal Hendra’s award application.
While working to deliver a ‘destination’ storage facility, the team at StoreLocal equally prioritised sustainability through design elements such as a water recycling system, solar power and energy conservation resulting from natural light and smart thermal design.
Facility of the Year (Over 500 units), sponsored by VISY Boxes and More
Winner: Rent A Space Marsden Park
- National Mini Storage Papakura;
- Sentumar t/a Storage King Caringbah
Rent A Space opened its 14th facility at Marsden Park in December 2020, with 850 units showcased in a state-of-the-art building, backed by excellent service and a deep commitment to local community.
“This facility provides functional, yet inviting, safe and secure spaces and enhanced amenities such as large undercover driveways, a customer meeting room with service amenities and oversized fast lifts which all contribute to best serve the customers’ needs while maximising the appropriate planning footprint for the project.
Sustainable building practices are a hallmark of this facility, including the use of energy-efficient materials, bioretention/water capture, treatment and recycling for irrigation and cleaning purposes, solar panels and more” – excerpt from Rent A Space’s award application.
Best Facility Expansion or Upgrade, sponsored by Highway Frontage
Winner: Safe Store Papatoetoe
Finalist: Storage Choice Maroochydore
The Best Facility Expansion or Upgrade award was open to SSAA members who own and/or operate a facility that has undergone an upgrade or expansion in the last two years that demonstrates excellence is functionality and design.
Prior to their expansion, Safe Store Papatoetoe was a ‘ranch style’ facility that was at capacity for many years due to its premium location, close to the Auckland motorways and airport. With their ground level space fully utilised, the only way to go was up! What proceeded was the building of a three-storey extension on top of the two existing blocks of units.
“The state-of-the-art building provides a variety of new storage options in sizes most popular with customers in the area. Occupancy is building and with a refresh of the reception area and a focus on displaying merchandise well, Safe Store Papatoetoe has been transformed into one of the best storage facilities in South Auckland” – excerpt from Safe Store Papatoetoe’s award application.
Manager of the Year, sponsored by Storman
Winner: Apryl Hawker, Stax of Storage
- Kim Copson, Rent A Space
- Raymond Hounsell, Storage King
Applications for the Manager of the Year award were open to all managers of an SSAA Member Facility. The applicants for this award needed to have their nomination endorsed by the facility owner and were required to have managed the facility throughout the entire previous financial year. The manager of the year needed to provide evidence of demonstrated excellence across all facets of facility management.
Apryl Hawker (Stax of Storage) is described as a dedicated manager who is constantly researching and expanding her knowledge, finding innovative solutions and cost-saving measures to grow the business. Apryl has a genuine passion for self storage and her commitment to the Portland facility and the overseeing of the Churchill and Yarraville facilities is outstanding. In addition to her commitment to industry and the facility, Apryl’s supportive and friendly attitude builds camaraderie within the staffing team, which follows through and extends to all Stax customers.
The judges remarked that Apryl’s award nomination showcased business growth that could be directly correlated to Apryl’s committed contribution as an all-round manager who demonstrates competence across sales, management and customer service.
Service Member of the Year presented by the Self Storage Association of Australasia
Winner: R6 Digital
This award recognises businesses who have delivered exemplary service throughout the course of a client engagement or project. Applicants needed to demonstrate a sustained, proactive, ongoing and positive service approach to the self storage industry. The nominations for this award were open to all SSAA Service Members across supplier and industry categories.
R6 Digital are focused on leveraging digital technology to improve self storage businesses. With a range of products and services focused on enhancing the success of both facilities and the industry at large, R6 Digital continue to innovate and support the sector with strategy, creative, development and marketing.
“[Our aim is to] consistently deliver value to the industry beyond what is expected. The latest major demonstration of that is the conceptualisation, development and delivery of StorApp. We have taken feedback from the industry on the operational challenges many members face and have not just sought to solve them but to build a platform for the future of the industry that can serve as a foundation for long-term innovation opportunities. It is not enough for us to simply solve a problem once, we want to solve it in a way that is sustainable and scalable into the future” – excerpt from R6 Digital’s award application.
Congratulations to all 2022 SSAA Awards for Excellence winners. The SSAA are delighted with the quality of this year’s award winners and finalists, and look forward to showcasing the winners’ achievements in more depth throughout the coming year.