Drivers traveling south on Market Street turning onto Madison Avenue might notice a nondescript steel building sitting atop the hill: The Wooster Glass fabrication shop. It turned 20 earlier this year. Inside the shop, crews manufacture a variety of products, like Tubelite doors (Wooster Glass Co. is a licensed fabricator), aluminum doors, storefront windows, and other glass-based products.
‘A complete shop’
The shop features a variety of saws, punch presses, milling machines, copy routers, sheet metal shears, sheet metal brakes and more. “It’s really a complete shop,” Vice President Pat Neyhart said.
Wooster Glass used to have its fabrication shop in the basement of its 419 S. Market St. location, and it presented a number of challenges.
“The ceiling was only 8 feet tall, so we had to take the frames out back to assemble them,” Neyhart said.
Founder Ralph Jones bought the building next to the old Coca-Cola plant, which is now the Salvation Army, and moved the Wooster Glass fabrication work there. The decision turned out to be a good one. The ceilings were high enough that the frames could be assembled indoors. It had a truck dock, so it was easy to load the door frames, glass, and storefront windows. Glass fabrication work was going so well, the company closed in part of the dock area to provide more space for the work.
Planning for fabrication shop began in 1997
Then, the land where the shops sits came up for sale, and Jones purchased it. The project to build the Wooster Glass fabrication shop on property nestled between Madison Avenue and South Buckeye Street began in 1997, and in May 1998 crews were turning out custom fabrication products and loading them onto trucks.
Jon Harshman, who oversees the fabrication operations, said when they moved into the 18,500 square foot facility, they thought there was no way they would ever use the entire building.
However, business has been going well, and they are just about out of space at the fabrication shop.
“It was cavernous,” Neyhart said. “Now, it’s getting small.”
With 20 years of experience with the “new” Wooster Glass fabrication shop, the team has refined the process to make it more efficient. The way work flows through the shop reduces the amount of time to complete a door or storefront window.
Wooster Glass fabrication is quick, efficient
“We have the dock out front, so the materials come in, and they are stored in a racking system,” Neyhart said. “The materials are pulled as need, then fabricated, and when done, get stored in the back before being loaded onto the trucks to get transported to job sites. It’s a nice flow.”
Because schools, public entities, and companies are becoming more security-conscious, there is a lot of technology built into doors, Neyhart said. Doors are now fabricated using magnetic locks, electric hinges, specialized “panic” hardware, security glass, and other pieces of hardware.
Because Wooster Glass can custom fabricate doors, storefronts, and more, it really cuts down on the turnaround time to get something done, Neyhart said. If a car were to crash into a storefront, because Wooster Glass is a licensed Tubelite fabricator, they can get working on a replacement right away instead of having to wait for the door or windows to be shipped in.
“We can turn out a custom door quicker than anyone else,” Neyhart said. “We have a complete facility.”