Sunday, March 23, 2014

Curing the Canadian Self-Storage Market's 'Discount Disease'

Canadian self-storage is an odd body. It seems pretty healthy from the outside. The heart of the market is still pumping in customers to keep facilities healthy. Growth is steady. Renovations and additions to existing facilities are regular. But there's a worrisome microbe in the bloodstream-what Canadian Self Storage Association Director Robert Madsen calls "the Online Deals disease."

While self-storage demand is strong, discounting rental rates is a common practice among operators, Madsen says. It's decaying profit and keeping the body that is Canadian self-storage from being its healthiest.

The cure comes in the form of marketing. Competitiveness on the Internet reduces the need for lowering costs to bring in more customers, says Hal Spradling, general manager and operating partner of Toronto-based All Canadian Self Storage. Besides, discounting may not even work as well as it seems.

"It's extremely unlikely these concessions really change anything in the distribution of storage demand," Madsen says. "Self-storage is not a product you can increase market demand just by a price decrease."

A Heart Pumping Steady Demand

While self-storage demand isn't growing rapidly in Canada, it also isn't falling, which Madsen says is a pretty good sign. Occupancies are holding steady or improving slightly. "This will give operators great confidence to hold their rates and even work to improve them to cover some of the rising expenses we've experienced over the years," he adds.

Many operators expect to raise rates in 2014, now that occupancy and rental rates are picking up, says Marc Goodin, a civil engineer and owner of Caraquet & RV Storage in Caraquet, New Brunswick, Canada. "After several slow years, the rentals and rental rates are increasing," he says. A large amount of sites should start increasing rents modestly in the coming year, Madsen agrees.

With consistent demand, many operators have renovations and additions planned for the upcoming year. Vanguard Self Storage will add four buildings to the current six at its site in Peterborough, Ontario, a plan the company was always intending to carry out and chose to do in 2014 because demand was steady enough, says site manager Mark Blodgett.

Likewise, All Canadian Self Storage will add roughly 500 units to one facility and build another in Toronto, Spradling says. Apple Self Storage in Aurora, Ontario, has two expansions and a couple sites in early-stage development, says company president Phil Allan.

Madsen points out that while many existing facilities are being expanded, development of new facilities is much more difficult. "We see a lot of new activity brewing in the industry as existing facilities look to expand," he says. "New developments often see problems in high land and construction costs."

The Discount Disease

Discounting is prevalent throughout the Canadian self-storage industry. Apple Self Storage has no plans for increasing rents in the coming months because competition in the area is adding downward pressure on prices. "Everything is just going to keep pushing it down," Allan says. "We've got a lot of our competitors giving away free months and free this and free that."

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Check out these discounts on products from iTunes, Amazon and Walmart

Download the Disney/Pixar film "The Incredibles" for free today, plus get discounts on products from retailers like Deal Now and Walmart in this roundup from

By Donna Doyle, Guest blogger / March 21, 2014

If you're low on cash for the weekend and are looking for something to do to pass the time and entertain the kids, we've found two great freebies that will save the day. You can download Disney Pixar's The Incredibles and get a $5 credit towards an Amazon Local deal for absolutely nothing. These freebies and some great price lows are in today's list of five Editors' Choice deals that we found overnight and early this morning.

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Do You Need It?: Whether it's for you to enjoy alone or with the kiddies, you can bag one of Disney Pixar's finest today for absolutely nothing. It yields a saving of a massive $20 and is the best deal we've seen on this movie in any format. (You must sign into your account and connect to iTunes to get this download.)

Do You Need It?: Spring may have finally arrived, but the cold weather and showers aren't necessarily behind us. This Tumi jacket will keep you protected from the wild outdoors at a fraction of the cost of such quality garb at any other store - this particular jacket costs $32 more elsewhere. It's available in sizes from S to XXL, although not in all size/color combinations.

Top Coupon Offer
$5 Amazon Local Credit for any local or national deal
Store: Amazon Local
Price: Free for new customers via coupon "SPRING05"
Lowest by: $5

Do You Need It?: You're just a few clicks away from scoring five free dollars to put towards any local or national activity, sojourn, or buy of your choice at Amazon Local. That's first ever dollar-off coupon we've seen from the store. (Once you've created an account, click on "Welcome" at the top of the page and then enter the coupon code under "Payment Methods". The credit will be added to your account and show at checkout.)

Top Video Game Deal
Microsoft Xbox One Titanfall Edition Game Console
Store: Walmart
Price: $449.96 with free shipping
Lowest by: $50

Do You Need It?: If you haven't yet made the upgrade to Microsoft's newest console, then this Walmart deal might convince you to take the plunge. Not only is this anticipated Titanfall bundle at a current $50 low, but it's also at the cheapest ever outright price we've seen. It comes with the console, full Titanfall game download, and one month of Xbox Live Gold.

Top Apparel Deal
Barneys Warehouse Sale
Store: Barneys Warehouse
Discount: Extra 50% off select men's and women's clearance apparel
Shipping: Free shipping

Do You Need It?: If you're brave enough to ditch the outerwear (as ill-advised above) and would prefer to splash out on some brand-spanking new spring pieces, then this Barney's Warehouse clearance sale might have what you're looking for - and at a very low price. It's the best ever extra discount we've seen from the store.

Total Savings: At least $107

Donna Doyle is a senior staff writer at, where this story first appeared.

Monday, March 17, 2014 promo AND new code! is offering St. Patrick's Day promotion: Enter 4 codes and get a bonus of 400 points! This offer is only valid today, 3/17. AND there is a new code available worth 25 points!

New code: There is a new code available worth 25 points! Enter FOURLEAFCLOVER25 for 25 points today! Thanks to Beths for posting this on this blog!

Also, check your e-mail from them that was sent on Thursday. They sent out information about this promotion as well as a bonus code to get a $1.00 coupon off of any Kellogg's, Keebler, Morningstar and more! The code is a once time use only code and cannot be shared.

You can enter the codes on their website.

Thanks to dishatoid01 for posting about today's promo on the blog this morning!

New to

If you are new to, it's a free program sponsored by Kellogg's that allows you to get free coupons and other items by entering the codes on participating products into their website. Once you earn enough points from entering codes, you can redeem them for various things like Best Offer. I often cash my points in for .75/1 coupons that will double at Harris Teeter and Lowes Foods.

There are a ton of participating products and you can see this list on their

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Shopping Comparison: TheFind Finds Lowest Price More Often Than Google, Bing, Others

In December Danny Sullivan sought to determine which of the major shopping search engines found the best prices for common products. The shopping engines compared in Danny's articles were Nextag, Shopzilla, PriceGrabber, Google, Bing and TheFind:

TheFind's CEO Siva Kumar saw these articles and developed an internal tool to compare his site to these and other online shopping competitors.

TheFind later decided to make that internal comparison tool public facing so that anyone could try it and compare product search results across sites. Clicking any of the branded links above the main results opens a window showing the same query on the selected site.

TheFind contacted us saying that it had been running tests of its results against the shopping engines discussed in Danny's original articles. It looked at 50 queries in six shopping categories, using the same approach and methodology pursued in Danny's articles.

The questions asked in TheFind's research were:

  • Which engine offers the lowest Coupon on the same item?
  • How many stores are returned for a given result?
  • How often are product reviews, offline stores, coupons and other enhanced content featured?
Source: TheFind

The chart above reflects the percentage of times each engine had the lowest price for the 50 sample queries. TheFind said that 78 percent of the time it found the lowest price. By comparison, Google had the lowest price 42 percent of the time. Yahoo performed worst with the lowest price in only 8 percent of queries.

The reason these figures exceed 100 percent is because multiple engines may have "tied" in any given case. In other words, TheFind, Google and might have all found the best available price on the same item.

Source: TheFind

The flip side of the lowest-price comparison is one involving "price premiums." The chart above reflects how much users will pay above the lowest available price by using each shopping engine. (As the overall price winner TheFind used itself as the baseline.)

Because Bing and Yahoo had the lowest prices in only 14 percent and 8 percent of cases, for example, users who buy through them are likely to pay a premium: 25 and 31 percent more on average respectively.

One of the explanations that TheFind offers for its performance vs. the others is the fact that it indexes more stores and product sources. The chart below reflects the average number of sources found for the 50 queries examined.

Source: TheFind

On average TheFind offered 65 stores or sources for each of the 50 queries. Shopzilla by comparison offered an average of five.

TheFind also explored additional or enhanced content in search results. The company looked at availability of coupons, product reviews and local stores that carried the subject products. Across the board TheFind outperformed its competitors.

Source: TheFind

It's important to reiterate that the data and tests above were all performed and provided by TheFind. We did not verify the accuracy of these results. However I spoke to company at length to discuss its testing and methodology. I don't believe the company selected the queries based on a known outcome or otherwise artificially skewed these results.

However the fact that TheFind's tool is publicly available allows skeptics and anyone else (including competitors) to explore and verify results. Let us know if you do and find anything that contradicts the above data.

Related Topics: Channel: Retail | Search Engines: Shopping Search Engines | Top News

Thursday, March 13, 2014

NJ Transit off-peak discount for train riders to be reconsidered

A report received by state Transportation Commissioner Jim Simpson in response to his question of whether NJ Transit could restore off-peak discounts for rail riders has been sent to the circular file.

"I threw the report in the garbage," Simpson said Wednesday during the monthly NJ Transit board meeting.

The report from NJ Transit's rail operations noted that the discounts during weekends and other off-peak hours, which were discontinued several years ago, were not viable for "capacity reasons," said Simpson, who chairs the board.

"I could not come before this body and try to sell that, because it made no sense," he said. "I don't think the report was worth the paper it was written on, so I've asked folks to go back to the drawing board."

Kevin O'Connor, who has been forced out as NJ Transit's vice president and general manager of rail operations, was not at Wednesday's meeting - the first for new executive director Ronnie Hakim.

Coupled with a train fare hike of 25 percent in May 2010, off-peak passengers who lost their 15 percent Printable Coupons had to pay nearly 50 percent more - 64 percent in the most extreme cases.

Off-peak hours generally are outside of 6 to 10 a.m. and 4 to 8 p.m. weekdays.

David Peter Alan, who chairs the Lackawanna Coalition rail advocacy group, said outside of those hours, "there is plenty of room" on the trains.

"I am so glad to hear a commissioner take an active part in matters that really affect us as riders," Alan said after the meeting. "I didn't see that report, but I believe the commissioner said it recommended against restoring off-peak rail fares. And if it said that, he put it in exactly the right place (the garbage)."

Orrin Getz, a member of the New Jersey Association of Railroad Passengers who rides the Pascack Valley Line, noted that Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road have greatly expanded off-peak service by offering discount fares.

Simpson said NJ Transit needs to be creative when looking at opportunities for off-peak discounts - for example, studying the feasibility of a reduced off-peak fare to Hoboken Terminal.

"The goal is - you've got the trains running, anyway - to get as many seats filled," he said. "It's the airline model - fill the seats."

Looking at off-peak discounts is part of a large to-do list for Hakim, a Simpson ally who arrives from the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.

On the bus side, Simpson said he would like to see more alternatives to dropping people off at the already overstuffed Port Authority Bus Terminal on 8th Avenue in Manhattan, including dropping people off on the street or bypassing the bus terminal to take riders to the East Side of Manhattan.

NJ Transit also is opening up some committee meetings to the public, beginning with the customer service committee at 10 a.m. Wednesday and the administration committee at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the NJ Transit headquarters next to Newark Penn Station.


* NJ Transit to consider bringing back off-peak discounts

* Commuters skeptical about idea to bypass Port Authority's bus terminal

Friday, March 7, 2014

Boston Opera House Supplies Largest Book Of Mormon Ticket Inventory to Tickethunteronline; Site Provides 20% Discount On All April Dates

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) March 06, 2014

Book of Mormon tickets Los Angeles dates and Book Of Mormon tickets Boston dates have received the highest discount from Ticket Hunter Online's massively successful 20% discount incentive, which has helped make them the number one Pantages theater tickets seller, is now being offered for Boston Opera House.

Customers can get the 20% discount with promo code "wicked" at check out only at has sold an estimated 2100 tickets to the Book Of Mormon Los Angeles tour dates making them the highest selling ticket reseller for the Pantages theater. is also offering 100 $25 tickets as a Discount incentive for select Boston Opera House dates. Opening day is April 1st. Check the website for showtimes.

Book of Mormon Los Angeles returned to Hollywood's Pantages Theatre last month. It's a limited 16-week run. The hit Broadway musical won 9 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Two of the stars stopped by Studio 11 LA; David Larsen, who plays Elder Price, and Cody James Strand, who plays Elder Cunningham.

The national tours of The Book of Mormon have broken 47 house records in 22 venues across the country. At Broadway's Eugene O'Neill Theatre, The Book of Mormon has broken the house record 45 times.

The curtain-raising scene of Jesus appearing "in ancient upstate New York" is the first little clue that "The Book of Mormon" is not your average Broadway musical. By the time the show ends, every politically incorrect button has been pushed, every doorbell rung.

The Book of Mormon is the winner of nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone), Best Book (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone), Best Direction (Casey Nicholaw, Trey Parker), Best Featured Actress (Nikki M. James), Best Scenic Design (Scott Pask), Best Lighting Design (Brian MacDevitt), Best Sound Design (Brian Ronan) and Best Orchestrations (Larry Hochman, Stephen Oremus); the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical; five Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album; four Outer Critics Circle Awards, including Best Musical, and the Drama League Award for Best Musical.

The Book of Mormon features set design by Scott Pask, costume design by Ann Roth, lighting design by Brian MacDevitt and sound design by Brian Ronan. Orchestrations are by Larry Hochman and Stephen Oremus. Music direction and vocal arrangements are by Stephen Oremus.

Ticket Hunter Online specializes in discount Broadway tickets. They currently have over 300 tickets available for the 'Book of Mormon Pantages Theater' and hundreds of tickets in inventory for the Book of Mormon tickets on Broadway in New York.

More discount Broadway tickets available for Kinky Boots, Motown and Wicked the Musical.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Unlikely to coach during 2014 season, Wade Phillips is not ready to call it a career

Wade Phillips has resigned himself to that fact there's very little chance he'll be coaching in the NFL in 2014 - for just the second season since he broke into the NFL in 1976 - but not for a moment should people think he's retired.

"Oh, no," Phillips said Thursday. "I enjoy (coaching) too much. I'm hoping somebody will have a bad defense next season, and I'm sure there will be coaches who get fired. I still think I can help someone. Every place I've gone they've won, at least in the first year."

The Texans reached the playoffs for first time in their history in Phillips' first season as defensive coordinator, 2011, and returned to the postseason in 2012 before collapsing last fall and finishing 2-14, the NFL's worst record.

Seven head coaches, including the Texans' gary kubiak collapsed Kubiak, were pink-slipped during or after the 2013 season, but none of the new hires gave Phillips an audience except the Texans' new man, Bill O'Brien, who decided to bring in Romeo Crennel as his defensive coordinator instead.

Phillips said "several" applicants who weren't successful in landing head-coaching jobs had asked if they could use his name as a potential defensive coordinator when they met with their respective clubs. Presumably one of them was Kubiak, who ultimately landed in Baltimore as the Ravens' offensive coordinator.

"I'd always coach for Gary if he wanted me," Phillips said. "I think he's a great coach and he'll be a difference-maker in Baltimore. That's a good fit for him."

He said he does expect to do some consulting work with some NFL team during OTAs or training camp and it's possible he might be brought in to troubleshoot during the season or even be retained as "some kind of senior assistant."

Phillips admitted he gleaned some satisfaction from Seattle's 43-8 rout of Denver in Super Bowl XLVIII Sunday because of Pete Carroll's age - 62 - and the fact the Seahawks won this season on the strength of their NFL-best defense.

"It's not about age. It's about how good you are as a coach," the 66-year-old Phillips said. "And was nice to see a team that featured defense be up there. There haven't too many of those (in recent years)."

However, Phillips admitted the outcome "surprised me. All I had to go on was how good Denver's offense was all season. They'd about been perfect. But that first play (when the center snap soared over Peyton Manning's head and gave the Seahawks a safety) affected them more than you might think.

"The thing about the Super Bowl is emotions run higher in that game than any other game. The highs are higher and the lows are lower. If I'm ever in another one, I'll spend a lot of time warning the players about that, about how important it is to stay on an even keel."

Phillips was on the wrong end of the worst Super Bowl blowout ever, San Francisco's 55-10 beating of the Broncos in 1990. He was Denver's defensive coordinator.

"I remember John Elway's first pass went straight into the ground when we had a man wide open at our sideline," he said. "You tell the air just went out of everybody and I saw that (with the Broncos) Sunday."

Phillips' first priority going forward is to get settled in the new home he and his wife, Laurie, are having built in the Memorial area. No matter how or where his coaching career continues, they'll settle in Houston when he does retire. He'd expected that he'd go out with the Texans, but, he noted, "Things don't always work out like you hope."

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