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Mayor Summers Sells His Family Business

Summers Rubber Company purchased by Singer Equities.

After 63 years and three generations in the Summers family, Summers Rubber Company has a new owner. 

Mayor Michael Summers, who had owned and operated the family business on Berea Road since 1980, has sold the company to Singer Equities Inc. for an undisclosed sum.

When he took the Lakewood mayor’s post two years ago, Summers stepped down as president of the Cleveland-based company but continued to own the business.

“I don’t think I fully appreciated how burdensome my concern and worry for the company would be,” he said. “I feel a great sense of relief. I don’t think I understood how difficult it would be. I didn’t spend much time there. 

“But I got a new job, and I really couldn’t quit my old job.”

The official job switch resulted in “quite a cut” in pay, said the mayor, declining to specify how much he earned before he accepted the mayor’s job.

He earns $90,000 per year as mayor.

“At a different time in my life I wouldn’t have done this,” he said. “My kids are grown and gone to college. I was at a nice point in my life where I could consider that.”

Mayor Summers, who wouldn’t disclose the purchase price, citing a confidential purchase agreement, said that he took the company from a handful of employees to a multi-million-dollar enterprise.

“Summers Rubber was doing exceptionally well, survived the recession and continued to grow,” he said. “It’s a good time to sell.”

The company will keep its name — as well as the 56 full-time employees — but Summers will keep ownership of five of the properties and lease the land to the company.

Wendy Summers, the mayor’s wife, will remain the company’s vice president of finance for a year.

With eight locations in Ohio and Pennsylvania, Summers Rubber specializes in the fabrication of hose assemblies, inspection, testing and certification services. 

Summers’ grandfather William Hiram Summers left Goodyear to start the company in 1949 with his son, William Michael Summers, who had been working for Chrysler in Detroit.

“I started in 1980, and my dad left in 1985,” Mayor Summers said.

“Leaving a three-generation legacy isn’t something that you do easily. I’ve been exploring the options. None of my kids wanted to run the business.”

Does this signal retirement? 

“It doesn’t signal anything other than a new owner taking Summers Rubber and taking it to the next level,” he said. “I still have three years left as mayor of Lakewood. That’s all I know at this point.”

MrTwotimes January 18, 2013 at 03:01 PM
I won't make crazy assumptions ^ Hopefully this will give him more time to focus soley on Lakewood. Congrats Mayor Summers.
Susan Kaminski January 18, 2013 at 04:17 PM
I agree, Brian. I don't see the connection between the Mayor having a business and the areas south of Detroit (his business was South of Detroit) or the east end of Lakewood. His business could almost be considered the east end of Lakewood.
ian king January 18, 2013 at 06:14 PM
Congrats on the sale Mayor, especially in this still depression time. Now, lets try to get a few things finished in your next 3 years: 1. Clean up East side of Lakewood = run down/empty buildings, dirty streets/sidewalks, etc. Try to get a grocery store at 117th and Detroit, ask Dave's Markets to build there. DON'T let another empty hole sit vacant for years on the east side of Lakewood. 2. Promote a UNIFIED visual aesthetic for downtown Lakewood. It is really a mess right now - with Victorian lamps in front of the new Drug Mart and artsy bus steps in front of eddie n eddie - there is no CONGRUENT visual streetscape in the downtown corridor in Lakewood. It is all very piecemeal, and compared to other cities around the country, poorly planned and looking retro in many aspects. 3. Enforce clean sidewalks during snow/ice storms. I see school kids, wheelchair folks, old folks, struggling to walk safely during our winters. THIS IS SNOW COUNTRY! Check out Minneapolis's policy on citizens cleaning their sidewalks after a snow or ice storm. Why doesn't Lakewood do this? Walking in the streets is dangerous. Develop a 24 hour clean your sidewalk or get ticketed policy. Lets make Lakewood truly walkable all year long! 4. Encourage more diverse businesses downtown with tax incentives - how about Asian food, art galleries, bookshop, etc. 5. Take the abandoned schools and turn them into artist studios/galleries, etc. 6. Get a new mural downtown! PLEASE BE CREATIVE & PRODUCTIVE!
The original Bill January 19, 2013 at 04:42 AM
Where is there an empty hole sitting vacant at 117th & Detroit?
ian king January 19, 2013 at 05:00 AM
Hi Bill - OOOPS! you are soooo right - I meant to say 117th and Clifton, not Detroit. SO sorry - didn't have my coffee today so thanks for identifying the wrong address! (though there is another empty lot just north of 117th and Detroit that has been vacant for at least a year or so too.)
The original Bill January 19, 2013 at 02:57 PM
Ian I am still not sure where this vacant property is. 117th & Clifton has the CVS and a Shell gas station. There is nothing vacant there. Going south on 117th from Clifton there is Air-rite, Sapells and Tinas deli before the tracks. After the tracks there are buildings all the way to Detroit. Are you referring to where the old Fairchild Jeep/ J.D. Byrider car dealer was on the east side of 117th? If so, that is in Cleveland and there is very little our Mayor can do about that property I did hear that that property will soon have a GFS store. Construction is slated to start in the spring.
DLSJR January 19, 2013 at 05:36 PM
East side of 117th is Cleveland and not Lakewood (the street is split in the middle by the 2 cities). There is one small vacant lot on 117th by the new DD, but that is it.
The original Bill January 19, 2013 at 06:28 PM
Isn't that what I said?
ian king January 19, 2013 at 11:54 PM
Hey all - this is what I mean by thinking out of the box! creative! no more rust belt thinking or NE Ohio is doomed. Yes, technically 117 and Clifton is in Cleveland, but so what~! This empty lot impacts Lakewood both visually and economically. Lets think regionally and not separately or NE Ohio and Lakewood is doomed to become the next Detroit. Why can't the Mayors of Lakewood/Cleveland meet with Ed Fitzgareld and make SOMETHING happen - this is the future = working together without borders and boundaries. LETS make 117 and Clifton a new Dave's Market.

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