West Coast Self-Storage Enhances Security with INSOMNIAC CIA and SmartEye Facility Monitoring

West Coast Self-Storage is a large self storage company operating in Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Idaho and California. The company’s mission is not to be the largest operator, but to be excellent in everything it does. 

Graphics PR Blog WestCoastSelfStorage Allsizes 2023 Blog Image

About West Coast Self Storage

West Coast Self-Storage is a large self storage property management company operating in Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Idaho and California. The company’s mission is not to be the largest operator, but to be excellent in everything it does. 

Founded: 2006

Portfolio Size: 119 Stores

Based: Everett, Washington

Interviewed:
John Eisenbarth, Vice President of Operations

West Coast Self-Storage is a self storage company managing 119 properties in Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Idaho, and California. Founded by industry veterans Jim McNamee, John Eisenbarth, Mike Spaulding, and Steve Tangney, the operator strives to create a safe, friendly and clean self storage experience for its tenants.

“Our goal is not to be the biggest, but to be excellent in all that we do,” says John Eisenbarth, VP of Operations for West Coast Self-Storage and a 28-year industry veteran.

After years of rapid portfolio growth, West Coast Self-Storage began feeling restricted by its antiquated access control system. The company needed more visibility into their portfolio, including access to property and tenant data, and the ability to manage their stores remotely.

“We’ve been using many different providers,” Eisenbarth continues. “But at the end of the day, we wanted a provider that we felt could move forward and grow with us on the technology side.”

Knowing that it had outgrown its current access control solution and that it needed a vendor that could scale with them, the operator turned to OpenTech Alliance and INSOMNIAC® CIA, with a commitment to implement the cloud-based solution across their full portfolio. Currently in place at 56 facilities, West Coast Self-Storage plans to include CIA at all new facilities as well as upgrade the rest of their locations throughout the next few years.

West Coast Self-Storage Unlocks Valuable Tenant and Property Data with INSOMNIAC CIA

OpenTech Launches First Cloud-Based Self Storage Access Control Solution, INSOMNIAC CIAWith CIA, West Coast Self-Storage can manage access and monitor facility usage for their entire portfolio from the IoE Control Center and gather rich tenant and property insights remotely from the keypads and included tenant mobile app.

“CIA has very robust data reporting,” Eisenbarth said. “We’re taking advantage of it, such as looking at when customers are accessing the property. And it’s cloud-based, which is another huge win for us.”

Eisenbarth feels the cloud-based feature is especially valuable when tenants need help accessing the facility when no one is onsite, especially during the weekends or off-hours.  “If something goes wrong and a tenant is stuck at a gate and our offices are closed that day, they can call our help number, and we can open it right away from any device.”

While most of West Coast’s facilities are staffed, Eisenbarth claims that his few locations in their system where they run more than one facility out of a hub location really benefit from CIA.

“We’ll always be a big believer in staffing our locations,” he states. “But on smaller locations or locations that are close to one another, we see things like OpenTech keypads and access control being a huge benefit if we want to reduce hours or run them out of a central location model.”

Technology Solutions Partner Provides Critical Support to West Coast Self-Storage

After implementing INSOMNIAC CIA, West Coast Self-Storage discovered another key benefit of the system that they rely on: OpenTech’s responsive technical support team. Eisenbarth states that any time a challenge arises, the technical support team always steps up to the plate. 

“To say you have support is one thing. But to stand behind it is another,” Eisenbarth stated. “There are many situations in my career where something goes bad with a vendor and they tell you, ‘You need to figure this out,’ or you just can’t get ahold of them. That has never been the case with OpenTech. They will always try to make it right in the end.”

Eisenbarth says that what stuck with him the most about OpenTech Alliance was how willing it is to make changes in the interest of the customer.

“We are not the client that just signs up and says, ‘the product you have is great,’” Eisenbarth says. “If we really need something changed, we will ask for it. We felt really strong about this when we met with OpenTech – that they were willing to grow with us and make changes.”

 

Storage Genie Mobile App Streamlines Entry for Tenants and Operators Alike

Eisenbarth is also impressed by the Storage Genie Mobile App, an application included with INSOMNIAC CIA that enables tenants to access their facility with their phone using hands-free Bluetooth beacon technology. Eisenbarth and his team use this feature to access all of their CIA-equipped facilities with ease.

“I have all of my CIA facilities on Storage Genie,” Eisenbarth says. “I have the app on my phone, and it’s so nice to use because I walk up to the facility, and it just lets me in. That saves me 50 plus codes that I no longer have to remember.”

Tenants are also beginning to catch on. “Storage Genie is still an opportunity for us. Part of the challenge we have is the need to get out of our old paradigm. Once our team starts promoting it and someone buys into it, tons of customers start using it.”

 

West Coast Self-Storage Also Adds SmartEye Security Monitoring at Facilities in More Challenging Areas

West Coast Self-Storage prides itself on the security of its facilities, from controlled access by floor and well-lit properties, to high security touch points and strike plates on doors. For most of its locations, these measures are enough to keep burglary at bay.

“Burglars are bolder than ever before,” Eisenbarth says. “We take pride in the safety of our customers, their goods and our team members. If you get a bad reputation that you’re getting broken into – that alone is detrimental. And you also have the morale and psyche of the team at stake, never knowing what they’ll walk into at the start of their shift.”

At facilities in more challenging areas, thieves would strike, undeterred by the gates and cameras posted along the facility, and leave a path of destruction in their wake: Broken glass, broken elevators and ripped off unit doors. This damage alone cost the company thousands of dollars, but thieves also threatened West Coast’s reputation of doing things right.

That’s when the team turned to INSOMNIAC® SmartEye for help. SmartEye combines a Virtual Security Team (VST) with sophisticated AI and Machine Learning software to detect and intercept burglars before they have a chance to strike. SmartEye uses advanced imaging technology to detect humans onsite and notifies a member of the VST who will then speak to the person over megaphones installed around the facility and contact the authorities if needed.

But Eisenbarth needed to be sure that the system worked.

“I decided to test it,” Eisenbarth recalls. “So, at 1 AM in the morning, I decided to go. Two of our regionals and I went to the property, and I put a hoodie on. I walked up to the door and was messing with the door handle before the megaphone behind me blew up and scared the living you-know-what out of me. I was even expecting it, and it still scared me.”

West Coast Self-Storage saw immediate results after implementing SmartEye: There have been no break-ins since the system went in.

“When you go from having break-ins at a facility to none after you install SmartEye, that’s really eye-opening,” Eisenbarth says. “We want to build safe facilities, but the criminals are getting savvier and bolder to the point they don’t care in a lot of cases. SmartEye has really deterred that at all the facilities we have it in.”

“I decided to test (SmartEye). So, at 1 AM in the morning, I decided to go. Two of our regionals and I went to the property, and I put a hoodie on. I walked up to the door and was messing with the door handle before the megaphone behind me blew up and scared the living you-know-what out of me. I was even expecting it, and it still scared me.”

-John Eisenbarth, West Coast Self-Storage VP of Operations

Play Video about SmartEye self storage security monitoring stops trespasser in tracks

Growth On the Horizon for west coast self-storage

West Coast Self-Storage has no plans to stop growing, and will continue its partnership with OpenTech Alliance at all of its new locations.

“OpenTech stands behind its products, and it believes in what it’s doing,” Eisenbarth concluded. “Hands down, I would recommend OpenTech: from quality to customer service, to its willingness to grow, develop and evolve with its customer. It’s been a great partnership for us.”

To learn more about CIA and SmartEye, contact OpenTech and speak with a self storage representative today.