You can meet Lauren and the team at Lockaway Storage on New Boston Road in Texarkana, TX.
Peter: So Lauren, let’s jump right in. This is your third anniversary?
Lauren: Yes, sir!
Peter: Congratulations on that! Has your job changed much since you were first hired?
Lauren: It hasn’t changed too much, but when I first came on with Ann I was a floater. But since I became a manager is hasn’t changed a whole lot.
Peter: Do you enjoy the job?
Lauren: Oh yes, I enjoy it.
Peter: After three years, do you have any advice you’d give someone going into self storage for the first time?
Lauren: My advice would be that you have to be a people person, but you also have to be a loner, because you’ll be up here by yourself a lot. You have to be the type to get things done even if there’s no one around.
Peter: Are there any renters that left an impression on you in the last three years?
Lauren: Not any in particular other than there aren’t many crazy renters, most everyone is really nice and treats everyone really decently.
Peter: That was the impression I had when I was in Texarkana. It’s a really friendly, down home vibe. You mentioned you came on with Ann, who is obviously a great boss, but outside of how awesome she is, what’s made you stay at Lockaway for three years?
“I first met Lauren when she was working for one of our competitors. I knew the moment I needed a manager, Lauren was going to be my #1 recruit. I had to do some looking for her as she had left the competition and gone to work somewhere else in a different field. My persistence paid off, I found her and I was able to bring her on board! Lauren is a wonderful person and a fantastic manager who I can always depend on.”
Ann Westerman, District Manager for Lockaway Storage in Texarkana, TX
Lauren: Well, obviously Don is an awesome guy to work for. I don’t see him much but he’s a super guy. The insurance and the 401k are pretty good reasons to stay on too! They’re a great company that doesn’t hover over you all the time and trust you to get things done.
Peter: So they trust you to run the stores on your own?
Lauren: I would say they definitely do. How hard would it be to have a business and just let somebody take care of it? That takes a lot of trust. I know they trust me, because I was brought up right!
Peter: Have you had anything really expensive or odd that someone has stored there?
Lauren: We had a guy with a really nice car with really expensive rims here at one point. He kept it locked up tight! It was in good hands. I can’t remember exactly what kind it was.
Peter: I’m sure you have renters from all walks of life. Can you remember a time where you felt like you really went the extra mile to help someone out of a jam or something like that?
Lauren: There was a woman who was in a bad domestic situation that she needed to get out of. Well, the property here has an electronic gate, so I told her I’d leave it open so she could get in a do what she needed to do take care of herself. She was crying and just kept saying “thank you” and so grateful I went out of my way. I didn’t feel like I did, but it felt good to help her.
Peter: Next question, how would you say your life is different now than it was five years ago?
Lauren: It’s been very nice to be part of a company that’s really kind with good benefits. It’s hard to find a job like that anymore. They’re few and far between. That’s changed my life! I’ve been able to go to the doctor!
Peter: That’s super important! Well, you aren’t always at work, what do you enjoy outside of work? What are your hobbies?
Lauren: We love to go to the lake on Sundays and sit in the sun and feel alive and be happy. We go up to Arkansas and do little road trips.
Peter: Is it just family or friends too?
Lauren: No, just my husband and my daughter. I have son too but he’s grown and out of the house so he doesn’t go anymore.
Peter: Did you grow up in the area?
Lauren: I grew up in Texarkana until I was 8 and then moved to Dallas until I was 27. Then I moved to New Mexico for a couple years, but then my mother was dying with breast cancer and she asked me to come back closer to home, so I moved back to Texarkana.
Peter: I did a similar thing a while back when my mom got sick as well. It’s a pretty common thing for sure.
Lauren: I don’t regret it. It’s a good place and I have my husband and daughter. I think the most famous thing about Texarkana is the Smoky and the Bandits song. And I think Elvis came here once.
Peter: Haha, that makes any place famous! Are there any restaurants around the facility that you like to go to?
Lauren: Well, there’s Tacos Mi Pueblos. It’s sadly only open on the weekends, but it’s authentic Mexican food. Their street tacos are very good. So good you have to wait in line for quite a while sometimes to get the tacos!
Peter: You’re making me hungry actually, I haven’t eaten yet today! Do you have any mentors outside of the self storage industry?
Lauren: There’s a man I went to church with as a young girl named Nolan Smith. I call him my dad even though he’s not. He’s a good Christian man, very sweet.
Peter: Do you still attend that church? Which one is it?
Lauren: Church on the Rock.
Peter: If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
Lauren: There’s a lot of things that need to be done around this town. If I had the money and the time, I’d love to rebuild some things.
Peter: Is there anybody you’d like to give a shout out to?
Lauren: Ann has been very kind and a very good boss and is great to be around! I really love everybody though!