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 him. Thank you to Mike Gaudino, customer of our CubeSmart store in Manchester, CT, for sharing his story with us.
Mike Gaudino has worked in commercial printing for 25 years.
During that stretch, the highs and lows of the industry have reflected the signs of the times.
On 9/11, Meryl Lynch and other high-end financial clients of the company he was working for no longer required the same volume of annual reports and other projects because their profits suffered and their operations were disrupted after the attacks, Mike said.
"Next thing we know we are printing Britney Spears posters for Pepsi," he said. "Our machines were silent for months."
He also witnessed the decline of print newspapers, such as the Hartford Courant, as the industry transitioned to digital news. IBM stopped publishing its annual catalogue because the technology company shifted its advertising focus to online audiences.
Now, Mike works for a company that features flexo printing, a form of printing that is ideal for food labels.
Mike started as a bailer discarding and compacting waste paper.
"A couple of months later I was actually running a press because they saw my initiative," he said. "That was when I was 19. I've done every aspect of printing — publication, creating, desktop, management, writing. I've worked for a church for years, doing their publications, information, extensive research, pamphlets.
"I enjoy it because I like the creativity of it," the Manchester resident said of his career.
Mike met his wife, Jackie, of 35 years in high school. He helped her get a job as a quality inspector at a printing company. They have a 28-year-old daughter and a 24-year-old son.
Mike has varied interests and experiences outside of printing. He has a commercial driver's license, is a self-proclaimed animal lover, and earned a degree in theology from the International Bible Institute and Seminary in Florida.
"I enjoy knowledge," he said.
And Mike also enjoys home clean-outs. At no charge, he removes belongings the owners don't want to take with them and either sells them or disposes of them. Mike once rented a store in Colchester to sell the goods. "Ideally, I would love to own my own business, build my own (online) stores," he said. He took interest in clean-outs as he visited various tag sales and saw people sell items without knowing the value. He'd resell the items. For example, he bought a video game called Russian Tetris for $1 and sold it for $100.
"They call them cherry pickers," he said. "I'm not crazy about the terminology but whatever."
But he stopped bidding at estate sales.
"People were so money hungry," Mike said. "I got out of it because I was walking on egg shells because I was looking at a dead person's possessions that they worked their entire lives for."
He keeps some items from clean-outs at our Manchester store on Adams Street. On this day, he pulled up in his truck with metal scraps in the bed.
"Someday my kids when I'm dead and gone are going to go through our material items," Mike said. "Our stuff tells the story of our lives. It's interesting what you learn about people."
Meanwhile, he is on a quest for more knowledge, this time in the area of nutrition. About a year-and-a-half ago, Mike started feeling sluggish, "like something going wrong on the inside of you." Turned out he had become diabetic, his blood pressure was dangerously high and his thyroid and adrenal glands stopped working. When the doctor told him directly that his poor health was his own fault, Mike overhauled his diet. He stopped eating gluten and carbs, and started playing racquetball and running and spending up to $500 a week to eat organic food — mostly vegetables. Once weighing as much as 350 pounds, he since lost 100 pounds, is now considered pre-diabetic, no longer gets headaches and no longer needs medicine to function at healthy levels.
"I'd like to get my degree in nutrition and try to help people," he said.