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 Safisha (Fia) Mance Thomas, a customer of our CubeSmart store in Washington, D.C., for sharing her story with us.
Given that her store Fia's Fabulous Finds is merely steps away, it’s a common sight for locals to see Fia herself pulling her hot pink shopping cart across the street to CubeSmart's Upshur Street location in Washington D.C. to grab her packages and stock up on boxes.
"I'm in here all the time to get my stuff, shoot the breeze, eat the candy," she says. "I have two units for my inventory, one for winter and one for summer. It's clean, it's friendly, and it's just been a good place to help me grow my business."
Fia has owned the store in Petworth for three years. A graduate of George Mason University, she originally hails from Richmond, VA, but fell in love with D.C. during her college years and has since put down roots with her husband and two daughters, who also help out with the family business.
"My mother had a costume shop and my aunt had a secondhand shop so fashion has always been a passion of mine, and I live for the thrill of thrifting," she says with infectious enthusiasm. "The other day I found this beautiful vintage rainbow cross-body bag made from 100 percent leather—I tried to walk away but I was still thinking about it, and that's when I knew I had to buy it."
In addition to the high-end clothes she consigns for her customers and her own cache of thrifted goods, she offers new swimsuits (28,000 of which are located in her CubeSmart unit). She also partners with local artists and artisans to sell their wares on consignment. She points to the bright yellow felt necklace she's wearing.
"This is one of my partners," she says. "Her company is called Needles and Fashion. I love to help other women-owned businesses get off the ground."
Because running her business and household isn't quite enough, Fia also happens to own an event management company, Mance & Associates, which organizes functions from A to Z for clients like the YMCA.
And while she still makes time to scope out flea markets and thrift shops, Fia doesn’t have an enormous home closet, she says.
"I actually wear the same thing over and over. I like to have nice pieces but it's more about the fun of finding things you're not expecting, and the idea of reusing and repurposing what someone didn't want or need," she says. "I think a lot of women right now are in the mindset of doing more with less. It's not about going to Louis Vuitton or Neiman Marcus. This is a moment for women where we see what's important, we want to make our voices heard, and we want to be wise about how we spend our money."
We’d love to hear how self storage has positively impacted your life. Share your #HumansofSelfStorage story in the comments.