PETOSKEY, Mich.—“Mighty oaks from little acorns grow” is as true for U-Haul Dealerships as it is for forests: You don’t have to be the biggest operation on the block in order to chalk up treetop results. Proving that is Conway Storage and U-Haul Dealership.
Especially relevant, this two-person operation has been in the Top 100 U-Haul Dealers several times, rising as high as No. 4 despite serving a remote, seasonal area with a population of roughly 5,700 people.
Conway storage is on the scenic shore of Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay. Petoskey’s name means “where the light shines through the clouds” in the language of the indigenous Odawa people. Clearly, the light of success continues shining on U-Haul Dealers Jackie and Nate Hall, whose focus on providing superb customer service continually ratchets them higher up on U-Haul Company’s scoreboard.
Hand in hand
Earlier in the couple’s careers, Nate worked for his family’s towing company and Jackie was a dispatcher for the Petoskey Police Department. As years rolled by, the duo grew eager to start their own business, at about the time they realized the growing need for self-storage in their area.
“So, we began by purchasing some land, and by 2010 we had one building with 21 self-storage units and an office,” Jackie related. “Now we have nine buildings with 250 units in two locations.”
For the Halls, combining the two business interests was a short putt, mainly because U-Haul products and services and self-storage clearly go hand in hand.
Jackie shared, “U-Haul is a phenomenal brand. Whether moving or storing, the U-Haul name immediately comes to my customers’ minds. I also use Web Self-Storage to drive our self-storage business,” she added. “People calling about one aspect of our business inevitably ask about the other.
“In fact, Nate and I likely wouldn’t have opened our self-storage operation without being U-Haul Dealers first,” she said. “Customers who were renting equipment also were inquiring about self-storage, so we knew the demand was there. We attended self-storage conferences, learned all we could and put into place a plan that’s working for us.”
Jackie said that she and Nate continuously take advantage of all the opportunities U-Haul Company has to offer.
“We make sure we’re knowledgeable about U-Haul policies and procedures, because they boost dealers’ business,” she related. The key here is maintaining good communication with our area field manager, Traffic Department and the marketing company office.
“If you believe in the product you’re selling,” Jackie advised, “you can sell it all day long … and U-Haul offers terrific products and services.”
Philosophy of customer service
Doing unto others is critical for the Halls.
“We feel it’s vitally important to treat our customers the way we’d like to be treated,” Jackie remarked. “Every customer is important to us, and we let them know this.”
She also stressed the importance of listening, and offering solutions to customers’ needs.
“And along with everything else, we make sure we smile … whether or not we’re dealing with a paying customer,” she continued. “We treat everyone the same way. Nate and I do our best to WOW each customer and potential customer.”