Here at StaxUP Storage, we know our success is due to our wonderful team. The care they give our renters is unparalleled and we want to highlight their milestones along the way. Below is an interview with San Ysidro team member Monique Quintana-Padilla who is celebrating her 10-year anniversary with StaxUP Storage this week. All interviews are performed by Peter Soto.
Monique Quintana-Padilla is the facility manager at StaxUP Storage – San Ysidro.
Peter: How did you get started in Self Storage?
Monique: I started Self Storage because of my mother. My mother’s there with the company is the reason we’re over 13 years. And my Aunt Martha, she’s with the company, as well, but she’s with the apartment side. So she’s been, I think, for 15 years, so, yeah. So it’s kind of a family tradition, I guess I would want to call it. So they’d been with the company for so long. And there was a position open, and they said, “Hey. You should give it a try.” And 10 years ago, I started just from being the cleaning girl outside, switching out storage locks and stuff. From there, thanks to Julie, I started growing and learning until, I think it was two to three years after, I got the manager position. But yeah, it was 10 years ago. I was only 19 years old, so –
Peter: Wow, you really worked your way up there.
Monique: Yes. And I liked it. I mean, I had to work for companies and stuff where I was like, “Oh, I have to go to work.” And here, it wasn’t like that. Here, it’s like, I didn’t even mind to have to get up, and go to work, and deal with the customers and – so that’s why I think I’m still here. I really do enjoy what I do.
Peter: That’s great. That’s awesome to hear. So I mean, 10 years is a long time. Do you have any kind of go-to stories or when you talk to people about your job, is there anything really interesting, or exciting, or weird that’s happened over the last decade?
Monique: Oh my God. There’s so many stories that happened here. I mean, we want to hear the positive but there – I mean, it’s just so many. I mean, 10 years and then me being close to the border, you can just imagine all the activity I have here. So I have from – let’s see, people storing roosters in my storage to burning fires – I mean, RVs. I don’t even know where to start. But it’s just so much stuff. But I mean, the customers, they’ve been with me for – and they even say, “Yeah, you’re going to be here almost 10 years. I can’t believe I seen you so basically, they tell me, they’ve been here for over 20 years, and I hear them say, “You’re the only manager that’s been here that long, that actually stuck with us.”
Monique: So I do customer appreciation for them once a year. And I do little things for my customers. They’ve been with us for so long, and thanks to them, we’re still here. And they even say that you’re the – I mean, they’re very grateful that I’m the one managing the facility and they tell me – I think they’re okay with me handling it.
Peter: Yeah. It sounds like you guys have a great relationship.
Monique: Yes. And that’s one of the things that – one of the questions was, what was the best thing you’ve learned working with StaxUP I mean, definitely teamwork, and then one other, I think, is customer relationship. I mean, I know I had good customer service, but working here, my customer relationship was – I think, that’s the best thing I’ve learned working with StaxUP and storage facilities, you just build these relationships with these customers being here for so long, they’re practically like family now, you feel, and these customers, they run their business out of here, so I see them every day. Monday through Friday, we see each other. We say hi, we tell our life stories, what did you do this weekend, stuff like that. So it’s great.
Peter: Oh, that’s awesome. Wow, yeah. I mean, it sounds like you really enjoy it. One of the things that I’ve heard from a lot of the people I’ve talked to so far is that StaxUP? kind of allows their managers to really take ownership of their facilities and do things on kind of the way that they want on their schedule, that type of deal. Is that kind of what you found, working there for the last 10 years?
Monique: Yes. Definitely. You have to adapt to your facility. You have to learn and, like I said, build a relationship with your customers. Get to know them. See what they need, why. Because if you try to run a facility by – I don’t know. I mean, how I can say it, by the book, and this is how it has to be run, then you’re going to lose a lot of your current customers because they’re already here. So you have to adapt to what they like, but then you also have to draw that line of, I guess, I don’t know, respect their boundaries. But yeah. It’s great. It’s great. Yeah.
Peter: That’s awesome. Well, hey, so do you live in the area? Do you live in the San Diego area or are you down closer to the border or, where are you at?
Monique: I’m in the facility. I live on-site.
Peter: Oh. You’re the on-site manager?
Monique: Yes. Yeah. I’m the on-site manager, so I live here. And it is just the exit away from the border, so –
Peter: Yeah. That’s a really interesting facility. I remember visiting that one. That was one of my favorite ones going down to see. You guys are really big, right?
Monique: Yes. We have over 13 buildings, over 1800 units, so massive traffic coming in and out of here.
Peter: Oh, yeah. So really, it is like a little city?
Monique: It is. It is. It’s my little city here. Yeah.
Peter: It’s like you’re the mayor or the dictator.
Monique: Yeah. There you go.
Peter: That’s great. So anybody who’s coming into that area. If I hadn’t visited that area before, what is something that you would say that I should not miss while I’m down there or what’s a really nice thing to do or restaurant to eat at, anything like that?
Monique: Here in this area, in San Ysidro area?
Monique: Let’s see, what – I mean, definitely, you have to go to the fruiteria. It’s basically a little shop and all they sell is fruit, salads, sandwiches. It’s a Mexican place, basically.
Peter: Nice, that sounds delicious.
Monique: They make these, what we call them diablitos, little devils. And it’s basically it’s like mango sherbet and they have a bunch of chile and chamoy is like this sauce on top. It’s a spicy thing, but it’s really awesome.
Peter: Oh man, that sounds great.
Monique: Yeah, definitely. If you guys come inside, I’m going to take you guys there. You guys have to try it. You guys are going to be like, “What? Where has this been all my life?”
Peter: Nice, and that’s just a fruiteria? Is that –
Monique: Yeah, it’s a fruiteria. There’s two different ones and they kind of compete each other. There’s the Mango Manila and there’s the other one that is – damn. What is that place called? The Torta Place, I think it’s called…
Peter: That’s awesome.
Monique: It’s a fruiteria. Yeah, that’s what they do. They just specialize on fruits, and sandwiches, and movies, and shakes, and stuff. But it’s really good.
Peter: Oh yeah, we’ll definitely have to get one of those when – or some of that when we’re down there next time.
Monique: Yeah. And then one of the other places that’s really known is – they’re actually growing, because they’re opening other taco shops. It’s called Tacos Revolucion, and they’re like TJ tacos. You don’t even have to go across the border no more. You can just have your TJ tacos there. I just saw it. It’s called –
Peter: What makes a TJ taco a TJ taco?
Monique: They’re little, small corn tortillas. And just the way – I mean, it just depends. It just depends. It’s weird. You can’t go to any taco shop and have a carne asada taco without it being like a TJ taco. You just can’t. It’s a small corn tortilla. And it’s just the type or kind of meat you get, but the tortilla is warm in the same grease of that meat, basically.
Monique: So they kind of dip it on the grease, and then they put it on the warmers and they – I think that’s what it is. I think that’s what gives it the flavor.
Peter: That sounds delicious.
Monique: It is. It’s really good.
Peter: Oh, man, I’m glad it’s almost lunchtime over here. This interview is making me super-hungry. Is there anyone you want to give a shout-out at StaxUP or at the corporate office?
Monique: I mean somebody from the company will definitely be my husband. I just got married.
Monique: When was it, Doug? I don’t even know my marriage date, God. It’s February, 16. We just went to Vegas. We’ve been together for so long. He works for the company too. He’s in the maintenance team. His name is Ed Fontes. Yeah, let’s give him a shout-out. And then definitely, definitely, Mary. I’m so grateful that she basically took me under her wing. When I first started 10 years ago, I was – I want to say I was not a team player. I like to work as a team, but I was really bossy. I wanted things to be done a certain way. Thanks to her, and her leadership, and examples, she helped me to grow into what my potential is right now. And definitely, I would not be where I am without her.