I-5 Self Storage Wins National Facility of the Year Award With Motorsports Theme

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Bringing motorsports and cars into a captivating operational theme for I-5 Self Storage helped clinch the National Facility of the Year Award and secure permanent lender financing.

"I looked at leading automotive manufacturers, such as Ford, and how they listened and embraced the customer experience, in recent years."

I-5 Self Storage obtained permanent lender financing in recent months, crediting its business success to the unique Motorsports theme developed by its owner and developer, which led to its rapidly growing base of over 1,200 current customers storing at the facility, which is one of the largest in the Nation.

Randy Scott Wong is a man who does not accept not being the best. Is he ruthless? No. Does he try to bring down his opponents by being sneaky and not playing by the rules? Absolutely not. But Wong does play by being extremely meticulous, creative, and never settling for less than the best. His experience wearing many hats as a professional motorcycle rider and instructor, a criminal prosecutor, a stock broker, a director of a non-profit, and a published pro photographer eventually led him, and were stepping stones to, in a sense, his career as developer and owner of the “Facility of the Year” Self Storage winner located in Tustin, California, I-5 Self Storage.

Growing up in a Chinese-American family, Wong was always encouraged to do what he loved, as long as he enjoyed it and was the “best” at it.

“I don’t think when my dad said the ‘best’, he meant it in the traditional sense; rather he meant I put 100% into everything I do, meaning my heart and soul, not just technical ability,” said Wong.
Wong, a happily married father of two young boys and a “family man”, definitely took this advice to heart, including it in his application, a book filled with narrative and photos that he submitted for the 2009 Mini Storage Messenger Self-Storage Facility of the Year award, where he took first place.

“My goal {when I decided to go into the business} really was to win facility of the year. I knew if I did this, I wanted to, in the end, build the finest self-storage facility. It sounds kind of silly, but that truly was my goal, “ said Wong.

Wong’s decision to open his own self-storage facility was something that happened on a whim and a decision that was actually somewhat initially laughed at by his comrades in the motorcycle industry. Despite people essentially thinking he was crazy to be leaving a career of motorcycles to open a self-storage, Wong saw a great need for storage not only for people’s belongings, but their cherished vehicles as well.

“I was National Director of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, and had a staff of over 100 people that were involved in recreational motorsports. I had test driven powerful motorcycles for BMW on the world famous Nurburgring racetrack in Germany. My staff kept coming up to me and told me they needed to find a place to store their vehicles. I thought to myself, ‘That’s crazy, how difficult could it be to find a dirt lot,” said Wong. “So, I started intensively studying the industry at all levels, starting from the ground up and became intrigued."

The five-year process to design and build the was an arduous one- Wong had to jump through many regulatory hoops, legal and political challenges, nature’s fickle ways, even site theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars of construction materials. The renovation process to take a 30 year-old building and turn it into something brand new was definitely a challenge, but one that Wong was eager to undertake.

Wong’s creativity and background in photography and motorcycles definitely allowed him to develop a one-of-a-kind facility that he envisioned to be more of an experience rather than something mundane.

“I extensively studied the self-storage industry, but didn’t limit myself to that. When I thought about my vision of what the perfect self-storage facility would be, sure I looked at some of the competition, but more importantly, I went completely outside of the industry. I think that was what made us different. I looked at what Starbucks and McDonalds’s did, for example, how they were located,” said Wong. I also looked at leading automotive manufacturers, such as Ford, and how they listened and focused on the customer experience, in recent years.
Another thing that Wong wanted to make sure of was that the facility was unique. He thoroughly studied industries outside of self-storage, including leading hospitality chains.
His business-minded outlook paired with his creativity allowed one of the finest storages in the nation to emerge, one that customers really appreciate.

“The color coding [that I use throughout the facility in signage, custom flooring, numbering] was something I had never seen, but I got that idea from hospitality, 5-star hotels, and the Disney experience.” said Wong.

“I thought about what Disney did, and the way they have all the distinct lands. I said, why not make every area themed, and I named each area after world-renowned, international race tracks and then I made street signs named after cars and designers, like Mustang Avenue or Camilo Road.”

“I searched for a three dimensional recreation of the Gulf Livery Modern Ford GT40, an art sculpture in the minds of car enthusiasts, and mounted it above the customer conference room, for all to enjoy. We’ve hosted community car shows, which have drawn the real life modern Ford GT40s, as well as a collection of Delorean owners, and limited edition Ferraris and Vipers.”

A people person and always aiming to please and to make things the easiest possible for the people he works with, the storage facility includes many amenities that rival any 5-star hotels, such as personal and business storages available, allowing storage of a business’ full inventory, free wi-fi for customers, children's play area and DVD screen, a conference room available for use, work stations, as well as free coffee and filtered water.

At about 84% occupancy right now, considering the facility has almost three times the amount of spaces as the average self-storage facility, it looks like I-5 Self Storage, and Wong, will continue zooming down that racetrack in top gear for many years to come.

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Randy Scott Wong
I-5 Self Storage, LLC
+1 (714) 669-0555
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