Happy 22nd Anniversary to The Next Wave, a South Park business that’s been on the corner of Bonner and Adams since March 1, 1990. It’s a milestone for the creative agency, as well as a testament to the vision, tenacity and hard work of its owner/founder, David Esrati—attributes all of our neighbors can relate to, especially those that have lived here a long time.
David had been living on Bonner Street since 1986, and like many homeowners was battling blight around his investments. The blue two-story brick that is now his office was an abandoned eye sore. Why not buy it, renovate and put his business there? He’d be able to walk to work every morning and repurpose another lovely old building.
Well, it wasn’t that easy. After David’s 1988 purchase and 9-month renovation, the City of Dayton was hesitant about granting him an occupancy and vendor permit. Despite the fact that Mary Younger had opened Morningside Books in the old corner retail space on Oak and Alberta, and Eddie Liesure’s Watch & Clock Repair was still operating on Perrine, small stores and businesses in residential areas had become undesirable. It took many more months to win zoning approval.
Is it any easier 22 years later, now that the City is installing bike paths and huge percentages of the population are moving to walkable urban centers where they don’t need to rely on cars? Alas, no. According to David, while more people “get it” and seek a similar unpretentious urban lifestyle, neighborhood zoning is still a major hurdle.
However, The Next Wave has managed to be a major influence. It’s pulled clients, employees and friends into the neighborhood who admire David’s lifestyle and seize the opportunity of South Park for themselves. More people will certainly find their way here.
Besides being a great example of urban renewal that you don’t have to have millions to achieve, The Next Wave has been influential in other ways. The company created the documentary, South Park Soliloquy in 1997, now a piece of neighborhood history. The interns and young creatives who have come through its doors have gone on to greater things. That’s all part of David’s vision: it’s ridiculously difficult for talented designers, developers, cinematographers and writers to get their foot in the door in the creative industry, so David swore he would help as many young people as possible. One notable young intern went on to work at the New York office of Frog Design (if you’ve read Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs you’re aware of its renown). And in terms of neighborhoods, South Park to Soho was probably not that hard a transition!
If you’re wondering why David named his agency The Next Wave, it’s because his company is about what’s next: it was first into desktop digital publishing, digital video editing, early into web development, open source content management systems and social media. For you business types, the next trend, says David, is data bases and customer relationship management.
While fun clients have included sports teams and retailers, The Next Wave is most proud of its work helping promote business for Bill Daniels’ Pizza Factory, and Jim and Karen Gagnet’s restaurant, Coco’s–businesses with deep community roots run by really great people.
“People” is what South Park is all about. But will we be losing David to Congress? A longtime political activist and blogger, David is currently running for U.S. Congress as Rep for Ohio’s 3rd District. Should he succeed, will he continue to run The Next Wave from DC? Yes, since his business is small and his creative network is wide he will maintain ownership and keep the doors open. So–here’s to the next decade and beyond!
We hope you enjoyed this post. We’ll be sharing more stories about the neighborhood, so if you have a milestone to celebrate or would like to know more about a biz or a neighbor, just let us know.