By John Dunlap for the CSSA
Randy Newman wrote the song “I Love LA” which has become the city’s unofficial theme song. But for Frank Ritz, working in a hustling, bustling city like Los Angeles has made it so he might be slightly alter the direction of the song to say “I Love LA Self Storage.”
Ritz is manager of the Mount Olive Storage facility in Duarte, California, and the 27-acre facility serves residents of Orange County who have come to appreciate both the 1,800 unit facility and the spacious setup it affords for RV and Boat storage. Mt. Olive Storage has been in operation since 1971, and like any business in existence that long, was in need of new leadership and a fresh approach. So, when Ritz was asked to take over as manager by Sue Haviland in May of 2014, he came in with high hopes to point the facility in a strong direction.
“Los Angeles is a very fast paced, high energy city,” Ritz says. “Running a 27 acre property is far from easy but I get along very well with people. I have been able to bring the facility up over 15% in occupancy and $70,000 in revenue per month since I’ve arrived. I’ve also hired an entirely new team to run the office, and they all have great people skills as well. We have installed new doors, painted the entire facility, and done a lot of major cleaning up.”
Haviland, one of the top self storage experts in the business, is lavish in her praise of Ritz.
“Frank has worked for me at three different companies,” she says. “He's always so enthusiastic. Loyal. Wears any hat needed. Some of the best customer rapport I've ever seen. Drives revenue. What more can I say?”
Indeed, putting on the Ritz might have been one of the best things to happen to Mount Olive Storage. The secret to his success? Hire good employees and treat people the way you would want to be treated.
“A good self storage management company is only as good as its employees,” he says. ”You have to have a good mix between both. A facility manager should always be there for his or her employees no matter what the situation. My philosophy has always been to treat everyone how you want to be treated, no matter what. Everyone is equal. People may have bad days but you need to overcome whatever stands in your way.”
As regards his own management style, Ritz says it evolves from the fact that he has been in customer service since graduating from high school and feels that a manager needs to be “all in” for his employees, which means being fair and available to them. He also credits being a patient person with helping to deal with upset tenants (“I can calm almost anyone down and have them laughing when they leave the office,” he adds.).
As regards Mount Olive Storage and its involvement with his area communities, Ritz says the facility is a member of the Chamber of Commerce in Duarte, Irwindale and Monrovia. The facility also donates to the Special Olympics and other causes that area towns are involved in. And Mount Olive Storage has a unit for Charity Storage.
Ritz is also a fan of the CSSA.
“I have been to a number of conferences and meetings that the CSSA has held in the area,” he says. “I find them very informative and interesting. And their magazine also has great information.”
When he isn’t working Ritz also enjoys his own motor home and heads out for camping adventures. Which, of course, fits in well with the fact that Mount Olive Storage sports the largest RV storage space in his part of LA.
One can see why Frank Ritz loves LA…and the feeling seems to be mutual.