Willow Tool & Machining has affordable office space for lease

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The offices at Willow Tool & Machining are protected by an alarm system, and large glass block windows offer security while allowing for ample sunlight during the day. ( Photography: Felicia Vargo)

By Ken McEntee

During one optimistic demonstration of entrepreneurship, 22 years after the nationally renowned Cleveland Press shut down its operation, making Cleveland a “one newspaper town,” a bold writer had a vision.

In 2004, Randy Nyerges, former assistant press secretary to Vice President Dan Quayle and presently a local book publisher, set about to change the course of Northeast Ohio journalism by taking on the mighty Plain Dealer by establishing the New Cleveland Press.

As grandiose as the plan was, it all took place in an obscure office at the back of a busy machine shop in Strongsville’s Foltz Industrial Park—now called the Strongsville Business & Technology Park.

“We were very excited about it at the time,” recalls Terry Thomas, one of three siblings who own Willow Tool & Machining, and who can legitimately claim to have been the landlord to The Cleveland Press.

“They had an office here for about a year,” Terry says. “They published two or three issues and that was it.”

The erstwhile publisher, reveals Sam Thomas, Terry’s brother, was just one of many office tenants who have provided memorable character to a tidy row of 10 offices that nobody traveling along Foltz might ever know are there.

“That’s one of our advantages. Nobody knows we’re here. It’s very quiet and private,” Sam says of office units that range from about 14 x 14 feet to around twice that size.

Presently four of the 10 offices are available to lease, with prices starting around $217 per month, including heat, air conditioning and electricity.

“All you have to bring is your own internet,” Sam says.

While strolling through the units, Sam recalls another tenant from the past—Sweet Revenge Inc., a company that provided novelty entertainment for parties—like belly dancers who weren’t particularly fond of maintaining their figures.

“They had a trained pig that once got loose in the parking lot,” Sam laughs. “We’ve definitely had some characters.”

The offices, he says, are ideal for entrepreneurs, salespeople and other individuals who prefer not to have their offices in their homes.

“Maybe you don’t want people coming into your house,” Sam says. “Maybe you need a quieter environment than you’re going to have at home.”

Willow Tool was one of the first occupants of the industrial park when William “Willow” Thomas—the father of Sam, Terry and William—moved his nine-year-old company there in 1981, Sam says.

“We make specialty cutting tools that other people can’t make,” he explains, looking over a shop full of grinding, turning and milling equipment.

The hallway of offices attached to the rear of the shop have a separate entrance. The family has leased them out since the 1980s.

“Being off the main roads of Strongsville, we don’t have to fight traffic to get to and from work,” Sam says. “And our rent is a lot lower than in a busier area. We’re in a peaceful, secluded area where you can easily come and go as you please. One tenant’s wife refers to this as her husband’s ‘man cave.’”

The offices are protected by an alarm system, and large glass block windows offer security while allowing for ample sunlight during the day. A common area features a shared kitchen.

“Everybody gets along like friends,” Sam assures. “They have Christmas parties and are often in the hallway visiting with people in the other offices.”

To arrange a tour or to learn more about the offices at Willow Tool & Machining, you can call Sam at 440-572-2288. The building is located at 15110 Foltz Industrial Parkway, in Strongsville, west of the Route 82 entrance.