Sue Sage, manager of Lacombe Storage Center, stands in the office of the successful local business, which has been nominated in this year’s Small Business of the Year category for the Business and Community Awards Gala.                                Mark Weber/Lacombe Express

Sue Sage, manager of Lacombe Storage Center, stands in the office of the successful local business, which has been nominated in this year’s Small Business of the Year category for the Business and Community Awards Gala. Mark Weber/Lacombe Express

BUSINESS FEATURE: Commitment to customer services sets Lacombe Storage Center apart

Constant attention to optimum customer service is key to the business’s longevity

For the staff of Lacombe Storage Center, constant attention to optimum customer service is key to the business’s longevity.

Having first launched operations back in the early 1990s, the business is marking another milestone of success with having been nominated in the ‘Small Business of the Year’ category in this year’s Lacombe and District Chamber of Commerce business awards.

“It’s a business that strongly believes in giving back to the community and to give support where it is needed,” said Sue Sage, who has managed the business for just over five years now.

“We have heard that people have come to us because we are huge community supporters – we support Big Brothers Big Sisters and local sports organizations (among others), and we also donate portable storage in Blackfalds to sporting arenas there so that the coaches don’t have to take their equipment home every night. They can lock it up at the diamonds,” she explained.

“I think that if you are a community-minded person yourself, maybe you are looking for the same thing in a small business,” she said. “You are going to support who is giving back.”

Lacombe Storage Center, with Center branches in Drayton Valley and Medicine Hat as well, provides all the traditional types of storage spaces including for boats, vehicles and RVs, plus they are looking into providing covered RV storage possibly as early as next year, she said.

“We also have portable storage which we can bring right to the door,” she said, adding the containers can be placed right on a parking pad for example. “We also have businesses that take all their old inventory and store it with us so that they are then saving office space.

“If we can find anyway to help, we will look into it.”

They also do a $500 cash giveaway at Christmas. “It’s always in the spirit of kindness – so that’s coming up!

“We ask, if you had $500 cash, how would you pay it forward? Or if you had $500 cash, what would be your new Christmas tradition? They have to come up with a story, and some of them are awesome, some are heartbreaking and some are hilarious. I am so thankful that I don’t ever have to judge these myself!”

A prize is then handed down from each location – a surefire means of brightening the holiday season.

Ultimately, what also sets Lacombe Storage Center apart is that the staff and owners truly take pride in the day-to-day operations of the business.

“We are also consistent – we don’t stop our rates or hike our rates. It matters to us also what the customers’ experience here was. We take great pride in keeping things in line, and in also keeping things as secure as possible,” she said.

For Sage, providing help to folks who need storage is certainly more than a line of work; it’s an important means of helping out a family or individual as well – particularly when customers may be going through a challenging season.

“Sometimes it’s a divorce, or somebody has passed away,” she said of some of the reasons people may need storage space. “We want customers to know that we can help and make things as stress-free and as comfortable as possible, and that we will (provide service) as quickly as possible, too,” she said. “We also try to make it all as personable as we can,” she said of herself and her fellow employee Jenn Dayday.

As for the Chamber nomination, Sage said it was wonderful and affirming to learn of it. The business also took home Best Customer Service in 2016 and Sage was named ‘Citizen of the Year’ by the Chamber in 2015 as well.

“It’s exciting – to me, that’s the reward in itself – to know that people out there think we are worthy of this nomination especially with so many great small businesses that are coming into town,” she said. “And I like that challenge of how do we stay relevant with so many other businesses popping up!”

At the end of the day, accolades aside, it’s all about the customer.

“We aren’t going to grow and expand just by saying, ‘This is our rate, here’s your stuff, move it in and move it out’. We will never be billed that way.”