This is one of a series of stories we are sharing to show what's inside CubeSmart. You not only get a peek inside our customer's storage unit, but also a peek inside what is important to them. Thank you to Jose, a customer of our CubeSmart store in the Bronx, for sharing his story with us.
Bronx resident Jose Lopez has been storing goods—both for business and for his private use—at the Bartow Avenue CubeSmart location since it opened. "First I had one cubicle. Now I have a big space [and two smaller ones]. My wife has supplies, clothes, the stuff for our houses she doesn’t want she puts here. The other one is for the music business. We're satisfied with the service they provide us. These people are so friendly. When I get here in the morning, I get a smile from them, a cup of coffee. This place is nice and clean. I've recommended it to many of my friends."
A loyal customer, Jose has been an equally loyal employee for over three decades. The trained electrical engineer had just arrived to America and taken a job doing building maintenance and cleaning for a company that sells photocopiers, printers, fax machines and other business equipment. One day, he found his opportunity for advancement in the refuse pile.
"I saw one machine thrown in garbage. I fix it and they said ‘Who fixed the machine? How did you do it?' I said, ‘I checked the manual.' At that point they said, ‘Are you interested in learning more?' I said ‘Sure.' They sent me to Texas for one month to get training."
As a senior employee, Jose has watched the organization grow a national customer base, and he oversees maintenance and electronic repairs for the machines at companies such as Chase Bank and CASE Paint, among others. Over the years he's made enough money to invest in several real estate properties: in the Dominican Republic, where his wife hails from; Detroit, and Miami. He and his wife have also raised nine children, the youngest of whom is 13 and still lives at home. He's worked hard but he's now able to reap the fruits of his labor.
"When you come from another country you start low. If you want to grow, you have to sacrifice yourself, so that’s what I did. I lead a decent life. My kids are ok. Everybody went to college."
In his free time, Jose promotes Spanish musicians and occasionally DJs weddings and parties. But the music business has evolved over the years, and Jose finds that it's less lucrative than it once was. "It was nice before… I was doing CDs, I had a factory for DVDs. Then everything changed. Everyone downloads from the internet. But one thing has not changed: Copy machines. Everyone needs them. I don’t want to get stuck on technology so I keep learning. Next week for two days I'm going to a class for the next machines coming—I have to get training on it."
Jose is set to retire within the next five years and he plans on doing more of what he now does in his leisure time: visit his beach properties, grill steaks, drink tequila and listen to his favorite music. "Right now, with the 401k plan, I think I could live nicely. My house in Miami is paid already. The houses in Detroit are paid already. I'm getting some monthly money, extra money, so that’s what I'm planning."
Jose is proud to live in the United States and has never once looked back on his decision to start his home and family here. "It had to be the USA. It's safe, secure and a better life."
We'd love to hear how self storage has positively impacted your life. Share your #HumansofSelfStorage story in the comments.