MONTVILLE, NJ - Sometimes necessity is the mother of invention. Just ask Ron Soussa, owner of Liberty Office Suites on Changebridge Road in Pine Brook.
“We opened in September of 2009, just as the commercial real estate world was crashing all around us,” Soussa said.
Faced with an empty, though award winning, office building with its distinctive clock tower, and no tenants in sight, starting a serviced office business seemed like the right thing to do. Montville had lots of people going through career transitions and for many, starting their own business was their best opportunity.
“My clients and I started in business together,” Soussa laughs. “They were ready to take the big leap and move to professional office space from the spare bedroom, and we were ready to meet their needs. We started out with 13 furnished offices, a conference room, and receptionist and it took off from there.”
Liberty Office Suites quickly grew to the entire 13,000 square foot building, with 38 offices and 3 conference rooms, including one that seats up to 70 people.
“That has been a great feature for us," Soussa said. "Lots of our clients use that room, and it gets rented to outside businesses a lot. Some of the area hotels that don’t have meeting space refer to us, and many of those businesses end up renting offices from us.”
Business has been so good that Soussa decided to open a second location on New Road in Parsippany. “It’s just a mile or two away, but crossing Rt. 46 is like a different market. People coming from Route 280 don’t want to cross Rt. 46 to get to Pine Brook. And we’ve been full for a long time so when an opportunity presented itself in a building that had sheltered parking, an amenity that clients really like, we grabbed it.”
The new center will be even larger with six conference and meeting spaces, along with co-working space for teams of up to 40 people.
“Younger people like to work in groups, so we’ve set up spaces with movable tables, glass presentation boards, and a stocked pantry," Soussa explained. "We’re modeling it after WeWork, the successful start up that has taken urban areas by storm. We get a lot of inquiries for larger spaces, so we’ll try it in Parsippany.”
The two locations are different, even though close. The Changebridge Road facility is right next to Little Learner Academy, a child care center that is used by many Pine Brook clients.
“Having on-site child care is important to the Montville clientele. We’ll see if many people miss it in Parsippany,” Donna Darlington, the general manager of both locations, said. “Either way, they’ll still get our signature services, like drop-off dry cleaning, on-site car wash and detailing, and delivery of prepared meals to take home from work. We try to make things as easy as possible for our clients. Running a successful small business is busy enough.”
The new Parsippany Liberty Office Suites is scheduled to open in late February.
“The landlord is remodeling the restrooms and common areas at the same time we are building our space. I hope they’re done in time,” laughs Darlington. “We’ve already got clients signed up!”