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 El Cajon, CA team member Mike Borg, who is celebrating his 3-year anniversary with StaxUP Storage this week.
Mike is the on-site manager at StaxUP Storage – Hill Street in El Cajon, California.
Peter: Hey Mike. We met back in January. How long have you been at StaxUP?
Mike: On the 21st of July it will be three years. I did my first two years at H&M and then on July 5th of last year I came to Hill Street, so it will be my first anniversary here at Hill Street, but my 3 year anniversary with the company.
Peter: That’s awesome, congratulations!
Mike: Thank you.
Peter: How did you get into self storage in the first place?
Mike: It’s sort of a family thing. Back in the late 70s, early 80s, my sister and brother in law were sort of like pioneers in Michigan. They worked for one of the very first self storage facilities called Ye Olde Storage Facility in Ann Arbor, Michigan and I went up there one summer to stay up there with them and my sister worked at the self storage and lived on the property and I would be hanging out in the office and she taught me stuff. When you took a payment back then, there were no computers. It was all ledger, journal entries and stuff like that, so I learned in the old school. I always had an interest in it. I liked it. I would actually help customers and things like that. I went into sales ultimately and then I found myself in storage again about 18 years ago in Tucson, Arizona. They were building a self storage near where I lived and me and my buddy were driving past it and I said, “I’m going to run that store.” and a year later I was running that store. I worked there for 14 and a half years until they sold.
Peter: So you have two decades of self storage experience, really. Or more?
Mike: Yeah, a little bit with my teenage years. Yeah.
Peter: You are probably the most experienced person in self storage that I have talked to outside of probably Don. Honestly.
Mike: Wow, that is quite a compliment. That’s something. I had never thought about it, because it’s just all I’ve ever done for the last 20 years. I haven’t done anything else, so I don’t think too much about it.
Peter: Dude, that’s incredible. I am impressed. Especially nowadays. People don’t really stay in one industry, let alone one job, for that long. It’s kind of rare to meet someone with so much experience in one area. You probably have a ton of stories.
Mike: Oh, my God, yeah, unbelieveable. Especially in Arizona, I got a boat load there.I picked one for today
Peter: Oh, yeah. Let’s hear it.
Mike: Yeah, I got a funny one. Sort of an after hour one that one of my old favorite customers, it was about 9 o’clock at night and the gates were already locked down and shut down and he comes knocking at my door and i answer the door and he says, “Mike, please, you got to let me into my unit. I said, “Well you know the rules, the gate hours…” He says, “No, you don’t understand I’ve got a date tonight with a girl I have been trying to take out and she finally agreed to go line dancing at the cowboy bar with me, but my boots are in my storage unit and I swear to God, Mike, I will be in my storage unit in one minute or less and right out front, I promise. So I said, “Ok.” So I open up the gate, he zips in, grabs his boots and I’ll never forget this image as long as I live, as he comes out the gate, I’m waving to him goodbye, he says, holding his boots with this big grin on his face, hanging them out the window as he’s driving by, “Thanks, Mike!” He was so happy that he got those boots, because he had been trying to get this date for a long time and he convinced her to go dancing with him.
Peter: I love it.
Mike: I love that story. I’ll just never forget the look on his face. So, I made somebody’s night once and i just love that.
Peter: Self storage is kind of unique as far as a service goes. It’s so personal. It’s people’s stuff. I’m sure you have a million little stories like that where you made somebody’s life better by being just a little bit lenient, you know? Bending the rules for the right person at the right time.That sort of stuff.
Peter: I love that about the self storage industry. So you’re the on-site manager at StaxUP Hill Street, is that correct?
Mike: I am.
Peter: Well, you’re not always at work. Do you have any hobbies outside of self storage that people may not know about?
Mike: I do. I’m a comic book geek. I’m a geek at heart. I love pop culture and art and I like museums, so I do that kind of stuff a lot. I travel to comic book stores all over San Diego. I go to Balboa park any time there’s an event or anything that comes. I’m always going to that kind of stuff.
Peter: Have you been to San Diego Comic Con?
Mike: Oh, gosh. Ten, twelve times? Yeah, that’s my favorite thing in the world to do.
Peter: Are you going this year?
Mike: Umm… yeah, hahahaha.
Peter: Haha. Are you the kind of person who cosplays and does that whole thing?
Mike: No, I don’t do cosplay, because, yeah, I don’t, but I have cool t-shirts. I don’t do the cosplay, but I love watching that stuff. I plan my panels. I love artist alley. I’m a big art fan, so I spend a good portion of my time down in the artist section.I love that. I spend a day over in there. And then I find my panels and i do those.
Peter: Who are some of your favorite artists?
Mike: My number 1 favorite artist is Tony Harris, who did a comic book series called Starman and then Neil Adams is probably my second favorite along with Tony Harris. You’ve seen Neil Adams’ art. If you’ve ever seen a picture of Batman or Superman in the 70s, 80s or 90s drawn for anything, that’s his artwork, so the iconic Superman look that you know from growing up as a kid, he drew those. You know it’s his work without even knowing it’s his work.
Peter: I learned something new today. So, comics, the arts, pop culture: that is who Mike Borg is outside of self storage. Is there anything else you like to spend your time doing?
Mike: I’m a single guy and I’ve got two dogs, so I do spend a lot of time with my dogs. Every weekend we go down to the dog beach. I take them everywhere I go for the most part. On the weekends, I do try to sneak away from here and just go find something to do there in the city.
Peter: What are your dog’s names?
Mike: Kira and Willy. She’s named after a Star Trek character, Kira Neryse on Deep Space 9. And then Willy came with that name. He was a rescue. They both were, but Willy was named already, so I just kept the name, because he looked like a Willy.
Peter: It’s good that you get to get away from the facility on your days off and that you’ve got two little companions to share time with. So, I’ve only been to El Cajon one time. What is there to do?
Mike: They do try to do some stuff here. The downtown area, they do little flea markets and stuff like that, but there’s not a lot going on in El Cajon. Mesa butts up right against it and there is so much more there and it’s literally on the other side of the highway, so I tend to go towards that way. Everyday I go to a park after work that’s right down here with the dogs and I spend a couple hours down there after work just to kind of decompress, get away from the property after being at work, so that’s what I do a lot. Sometimes I’ll even buy dinner and go down there with the dogs and eat dinner down at the park. I’ve met a few people, you know, people with dogs kind of socialize, so I’ve got some friends down there, park friends if you will, that I chat with. I do that day to day.
Peter: That sounds awesome.
Mike: It is. It’s a lot of fun. And then they do, on Sundays during the summer, free concerts down there. Every week it’s a different musical genre, so you can go down there around 4 p.m. and chill out. I take the dogs. I find a spot off in the distance. I usually take a basket of food or snacks or something, hang out and wait for the show to start. It’s only an hour, but you get a three hour experience out of it and it’s usually fun, so it’s a nice Sunday evening.
Peter: What’s the name of that park?
Mike: It’s the Henry Griffin park.
Peter: Do you have any favorite restaurants in the area? What’s the food scene like?
Mike: They have a lot of Arabic and Indian food down here in this area, so if you like Arabic food, you’d be surprised by this area. I was shocked, because I’m from Dearborn, Michigan and we have a lot of Arabic food there. If you go down El Cajon BLVD there is a lot of good food, nothing traditional. There’s some really nice stuff down there if you like that kind of food. Though I have to admit that my favorite restaurant in El Cajon has nothing to do with that. It’s called Wrangler’s BBQ Pit and they are so good. I go there every Friday.
Peter: What kind of BBQ?
Mike: They do beef, ribs and ham and then they do coleslaw, fries and macaroni salad. That is their menu. You can go in there and they make the world’s best coleslaw. When I’m standing in line and I see them spooning it in, my mouth starts to water. That’s how good it is.
Peter: So, at the end of these, I like to ask if there is anyone at StaxUP Storage or in the home office who you think deserves a shout out?
Mike: Absolutely. I’ll start with Julie for always being there and always being available. Yesenia, she is awesome. She is a go-to person you can call for just the dumbest questions. She has such a great way of breaking it down and explaining something in laymen’s terms. Even though I don’t need it, but talking to me like a two-year-old, sometimes that helps.She is really good at that kind of stuff, training and stuff like that.And then out in Riverside, I can’t not mention Jim and Alicia Carey. They’re awesome. They’ve always been supportive and helped me out, especially during the first couple years when I was out there. I would be remissed if I didn’t mention them. I still stay in contact with them. I miss them a lot.