Calgary-based Mini Mall Storage Properties has an ambitious plan to modernize the class B & C storage industry by implementing industry-leading technology and automation across its portfolio, providing a streamlined customer experience for its tenants.
Mini Mall intends to upgrade every facility in its portfolio as it expands across Canada. The top tier of the self-storage industry has been moving toward a higher level of technology for years, and Mini Mall is a pioneer in bringing the same level of innovation and progress to B and C class markets.
Several of the storage facilities the company has acquired did not have any security, or were using archaic technology, which the company has been swift to update.
“We’ve seen facilities with cameras recording in black and white, with some still using cassette tapes to record,” said Aaron Facca, Vice-President of Operations for Mini Mall Storage Properties. “Others had limited computerized gate entry. Most facilities were still reliant on either magnetic key cards, a generic padlock, or just a key access system that wasn’t very secure in nature.” All of these security concerns are of significant importance to Mini Mall Storage Properties and our tenants.
The aggressive move to upgrade older facilities is efficient from a monetary perspective and delivers an enhanced customer experience.
“Modernizing and streamlining the operation allows us to optimize our assets,” said Facca.
“The second part is bringing a truly advanced sales process to customers in B and C class markets that have not experienced this before. Even if our properties are 20–to–30 years old, our goal is to be on the cutting-edge. Our upgrades will offer the same level of service that customers in larger centres across Canada have come to enjoy and rely on in the self-storage industry.”
Mini Mall Storage Properties, an open-ended trust managed by Avenue Living Asset Management Ltd., began operating early this year and currently has over 130,000 square feet of storage space under management. Mini Mall is under contract with an additional 7 businesses and almost 2,100 storage units, amounting to an additional 275,000 square feet.
Mini Mall also leverages the capabilities and services of the Avenue Living platform, which operates 10,000 residential rental units across 19 markets in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Although it is a smaller operator, Mini Mall has access to larger-operator amenities, such as an advanced and dedicated call centre, giving it an edge in the markets it is entering and enhancing its competitive advantage right out of the gate.
Meanwhile, the technology upgrades are already well underway.
“As we come into our new acquisitions, we upgrade security camera systems so that they’re high definition and internet accessible. We also install computerized gate entry systems with keypad access in and out,” added Facca. The technology is not limited to security. Tenants reap the benefits of Mini Mall’s seamless website rental process as well as its online tenant management. “Customers can log in, pay their bills, pull their invoicing, essentially making our facilities 24-hours a day, seven days a week, 365-days a year, to either rent or manage their account. Really modernizing these B and C class markets is our intention, so they reap the benefits of what large centres across Canada have seen for the last 10 or 15 years,” said Facca.
With the advanced web and software presence, Mini Mall is also able to collect key data metrics, allowing it to tailor its product offerings and unit mix to its tenants. This targeted approach is infrequently deployed within class B & C assets, especially in secondary markets across Canada.
“For some of the larger facilities, we’re actually utilizing smart technology. This means, we will have the capability of monitoring heating, plumbing systems and lighting systems. We can observe usage and make them cost effective and more efficient, both environmentally as well as financially,” said Facca.
Mini Mall plans to build the business to about 10,000 units by the end of this year with a target asset value of $100 million.
This document contains forward-looking information. All information included in this document, other than statements of historical fact, is forward looking information. The forward-looking information included in this document relates to, among other things, current expectations of future results, performance, prospects and opportunities. Forward-looking information is provided for the purpose of presenting information about current expectations and plans relating to the future and listeners are cautioned that such statements may not be appropriate for other purposes. This information is not a guarantee of future performance and is based on Avenue Living’s estimates and assumptions. The forward-looking information is subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual events, results and performance to differ materially from the forward-looking information.