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The Foundry closed- because “Originals not wanted”

The problem with branding is that it doesn’t mean anything if your actions don’t fit your words. Case in point: The Foundry, like the Asylum before it- was the kind of large club that attracted young people to Downtown and the “entertainment district.” Both were hassled, and then shut down by the city through liquor permit revocations. I’m not saying that I approve of underage drinking, fights, or any other kind of criminal behavior, but there has to be a better way to manage this.

Of course- the Dayton Daily News just figured out it was closed (so much for being an information source):

The location that was self-billed as Dayton’s largest nightclub currently has several pieces of plywood covering its name.

So what’s up with The Foundry? | The Lounge Lizards [1]

Neither club was close to residential living (yes, the Foundry backed up to the Cannery- but, that was probably where a lot of its customer base lived). Both were in “Industrial” type buildings. Both catered to what would be the “creative class” but not the “creative class” that Richard Florida idolizes- you know the whole “perception/reality” duality.

So, while Dayton may start saying “originals wanted” just remember these are the same people who didn’t want a skate park anywhere near Riverscape, a group who would rather build another faux downtown in “ballpark village” complete with more “Big Box” retailers on the Parkside homes site- than build some sort of open recreation area “sportsplex” or truly unique attraction on this prime real estate visible right from I-75.

Saying “originals wanted” is not the same as embracing and actually welcoming them. Typically “originals” should make us a little uncomfortable, push our horizons out, make us think about things in a different way. So far, Dayton hasn’t shown any kind of action to say that they truly are ready to accept anything other than a “tried and true” canned solution: Including Dr. Florida’s whole “creative class process” and hiring a firm from Nashville to brand us.

You have to embrace what you have first- then welcome even more- it’s all about getting comfortable with change – and change can be very uncomfortable.


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” merely detected some prickly personalities, a few of whom had quite a bit of starch in their underpants.” Wow, knowing the overwhelming majority of the people in that forum, that comment really surprises me. They always say emotion doesn’t translate well via email but since so many of us know each other, we know how to take each other. Guess that’s why we didn’t know how to take you either Papa Ubu!

Gene – “My point is we all have ideas – but they are just that – IDEAS. Now we should be at the point of saying the enough with ideas(bc at some point you just have to move forward)”

That’s pretty much where most of the initiatives are at right now. We started out with the ideas, and most of us have been doing the background work, recruiting people with the right talent, laying the ground work and now we’re engaging more people from the community to help implement it.

With all due respect, we’ve been looking to the experts to do this all along and that’s not really working so well. I understand your point about offering your doctor an opinion but needing his expertise. But sometimes even your doctor doesn’t know what to do and he collaborates with others too.

And quite honestly, a lot of the experts & leaders in town are supporting our efforts. Think of the Japanese – sometimes the best ideas come from the factory floor, not the office. We’re recruting experts to help, just maybe not the same ones that are usually tapped on the shoulder.

Clear as mud???


All very true tg, but other cities in similar situations have turned things around – go to them to seek advise, hell, hire the people that turned around other towns. This is not too hard.

The best sports analogy I can give is that this blog is a sports bar where everyone is debating who the Bengals need to draft and what free agents they really want to target and who should run the ball, etc. In that bar none of those people are decision makers for the Bengals, and here most of us are just throwing stuff out there – we need people with BIG (not casual) influence with MONEY (a lot of money) to get the ball rolling. Words like “grass roots” and “Input” never seem to really get the job done. It is not a knock on this effort, it just seems to me we need bigger players with deep pockets and political influence to get involved.

The main reason the city has lost so much is that back in the day the heads of everything (businesses, politics, arts, etc) were all from Dayton and wanted to reinvest in Dayton. Now most of the big players are from the outside and they don’t really care about the future of Dayton.


“The main reason the city has lost so much is that back in the day the heads of everything (businesses, politics, arts, etc) were all from Dayton and wanted to reinvest in Dayton. Now most of the big players are from the outside and they don’t really care about the future of Dayton.”

Sad, sad and oh so very true. I still think the NCR board of directors should be shot and/or fired for every allowing Bill Nuty out of the clause that stated he had to relocate to Dayton within a year of his hiring date. Now most of Financial is in NYC.

Was always impressed with the DAI for holding firm.


Hey David.

Just wanted to get on the bandwagon and add to the posting record.

By the way, RE: the original topic– although there are a million ideas about how to make a business successful, there is only one reason that a business fails, and that is management. Period. No excuses. Nobody else’s fault. And I think you know that.

Greg Hunter

“The main reason the city has lost so much is that back in the day the heads of everything (businesses, politics, arts, etc) were all from Dayton and wanted to reinvest in Dayton. Now most of the big players are from the outside and they don’t really care about the future of Dayton.”

This is pervasive in Dayton and part of Mr. Esrati’s dilemma and mine as people in decision making positions continually pick out of town firms that provide “IMHO” lesser quality products. NCR made these decisions all the time and one wonders whether people in this town do not want to elevate others, but would rather “pull them down”. TG I am sure you feel this way on some of your projects, but in this town it “gets what it gives”.

We have some great Engineers, software developers, Geologists (Jeff Faw, no ME) and marketing people right here in the MV, but the people making decisions always choose someone else. Dumb, but hey, I spend money in this town and all my income is derived from somewhere else, and still I stay.

Screw NY – Money manipulators provide no value for Dayton and should be ignored.


So the question is how can we get the big players to reinvest in this city? Guilt?

Too often we have people complain about place like The Greene and the Dayton Mall, but these areas have money, attract money. You can say The Greene may be a fake downtown, but REAL money is being spent there. And often people complain about retail jobs – well, hate to break it to you, but a job is a job, and these jobs include retail and management and maintenance and marketing and a lot of other positions that are better than no job at all.

These areas are often seen as unoriginal, which may be true, but the cash they attract is real, and cash is what is needed to get real stuff done. When the red tape is 45 feet thick, well you understand why other areas pick up the ball once the city of Dayton dropped it. SOMETHING in Dayton is better than continuous NOTHING and continuous IDEAS. It is time to move forward.

Also, what is up with the Fairgrounds. That is PRIME real estate, and seems never to be used. Fairgrounds in general are kind of a thing of the past. They should make my NEW and URBAN and MODERN housing all over that land. Hundreds of homes could be built there. Move the Fairgrounds to North Dayton.


“and cash is what is needed to get real stuff done.”

None of us have the big money needed to make a big impact, like reworking the Fairgrounds, or (for me) reviving the Arcade, so it’s frustrating to see the town go down the tubes.

There are other ways to make things happen, or help things along that are already happening.

I blogged on a different approach…


….which is about this thing going on in Cleveland:


Just one way to help out, I guess.


Cleveland at least has the Browns……….

There are people in this town that have money. We need to convince them to be a part of something larger. Most would expect a return on any investment, but we have too many locals who will physically ruin any transformation to this city.

We need a Republican to lead us – Our mayor seems more occupied with glasses and hats. Is that a woman thing or a democrat thing?


What I find kind of interesting or intriguing is that no one has picked up on the marketing genius of the Mayor. She has the hat & glasses down to a branding science. She walks in the room with either/or both and people know immediately who she is. Without both, she’s just another petite African American woman.

I don’t think I could pick the Mayor of Kettering or Beavercreek or Oakwood out of a line up.

OK, so maybe it’s along the lines of Dennis Rodman with his tattoos and exotic hair colors – or Madonna back in the day with her cone shaped bras worn OVER her clothes instead of under – but the effect is the same.

Give her some credit, she’s not stupid.


Notice how Kettering or Beavercreek or Oakwood is managed well compared to Dayton? Maybe there is something to be said about flying under the radar. And she is stupid – or at least stupid compared to someone who should be in that position.

I am not smart enough to be Mayor – at least she was smart enough to get elected. But I am smart enough to know that we need someone who has real leadership ability. I don’t hate her – she just is not competent enough for that job. We have had a lot of losers in that position. Heck, C. Dixon was illiterate – or at least he came off that way.


My question is are Beavercreek, Kettering, Oakwood a strong or weak mayor form of government?

I’m of the Peter Drucker mindset that if you keep putting good people in a job and they all fail – then it’s probably the SYSTEM that is screwed up. So Gene, when you say “we have had a lot of losers in that position” – are they really losers or is the system designed to screw up anyone who tries to do the job?

The Mayor of Dayton is essentially a figurehead…and is one of five votes on the City Commission. We are a strong City Manager form of government – yet no one is screaming for Rashad’s head on a platter. And I’m not suggesting he deserves that fate – just making an observation. I’ve heard he’s very good and that many are surprised he’s still HERE and hasn’t been snagged by another City somewhere.

I just keep coming back to the question – are we expecting too much for ANYone in that position? I agree it would help to have a more polished public speaker in that role if it is going to be the public face of Dayton. My point is should we be focused on changing the system (the City charter) vs changing the person (the Mayor)?

What I just can’t get my hands around is are we comparing apples to apples (weak mayor vs strong mayor when looking at the surrounding communities)? Or if they are also weak mayors – do they just have more polished speakers who APPEAR to be more effective (but maybe their systems are more efficient)?

Does anyone out there have the answer to that question?




I’m a musician and promoter in the Dayton music community. I hung out at Canal Street as a kid (20’s), met some wonderful folks who helped me find my voice and mentored me. Mick Montgomery was one of those folks and all these years later now that I am a local performer and supporter of fellow performers and the mother of an artist, I see how important places like CST are and the role it plays in SERIOUS musicianship and music appreciation. It’s home base for those of us who have invented and re-invented ourselves to stay alive in our art. Icons like Mick and Jim Rev. Cool Carter are first and foremost teachers- by profession and in spirit. There is a theme of teachers in this town who are HIGH creatives and have changed lives thru their art. Short list Robert Pollard, Don Thrasher, Mick and Jim as mentioned above, Kristen Wicker, the guy who hosts ECHOS Dayton monthly (can’t be sure of his name), Arch who hosts CST Musician’s Co-op, FNHarsh Den who does promo work and art for bands of his former ISB students….the list goes on. These guys are supportive in many ways- even helped in the early days of forming the Dayton Music Fest which has been a fantastic event every October now going on year number 3. Let me say I never enjoyed a show at the Foundry because the sound was horrid in there. And it wasn’t like I couldn’t see the same band the following weekend in a bar down the street with much better sound, food and an affordable door charge. Oh, and, the safety factor too. I can leave my house any night of the week and drive down to CST ALONE mind you and see a band and feel completely safe. Never any trouble there. Never any trouble at Tanks either. And in the 2 first Dayton Music Fests- couldn’t have had more pleasant people in one event than this one. And no- it’s not a cultural thing. Why do these things work? People are there to appreciate the… Read more »


I haven’t been to these but those house shows they are having out in the neighborhoods sounds a bit like the DDC all-ages/DIY thing.

I was following the DDC on and off via myspace and was wondering if they were really going to pull it off, getting their own space.

Sure enought they did!


I’m hoping someone can shed some light on a subject for me. Is there any truth to the Schuster Family having some kind of deal with the city that no venues within a certain distance of the SPAC can bring in national acts? If so, would that be why we see such wonderful old venues setting empty downtown? I went to great shows as a kid in Memorial Hall. I go to shows at The Taft Theater and The Madison in Ky. and think what a shame, I could be seeing this band or movie in my hometown in a venue just as beautiful. The Arcade could be used as Dayton’s version of Cincy’s Bogart’s. For a town that has contributed so much to the world of indie music (GBV, Breeders, Hawthorne Heights, etc…) and comedy (Dave Chappell) we should have a working class venue that can bring in these acts. The Schuster PAC is great if you have the jewelry for it. (I sure don’t) The Funny Bone @ the Greene is great, if you have the Hummer to park. I’m sick to death of new buildings going up and nothing being done to save the beautiful abandoned ones. It’s disrespectful on so many levels. And it offends me as a taxpayer. If my tax dollars can’t fix the broken down Dayton Public School system for my own kid, at least I could maybe see a good Polyphonic Spree show in a beautiful historic venue instead of driving 1 to 5 hours in any direction to do so. And as for all the above chatter with / about the Creative Class- that whole concept is so lost on the working stiffs in this town. It’s just about as useful as those art pieces in the windows of the Oregon District. We all know those aren’t for us and they aren’t concerned about making money. I don’t see how a town with such a high foreclosure and unemployment rate could really give a rats ass about some gallery. Just because someone gets a grant or a backer for a storefront… Read more »


I have read there is some non-compete agreement with the Shuster (and Victoria? I think there was a discussion on this at Dayton Most Metro about Mick Montgomery wanting to open Memorial for large shows, but running up against this agreement or whatever.

I was at the Madison back in May I think, and was impressed with that space, a really comfortable place to listen (plus they have a dance area out in front of the stage too). Much better than Bogarts.

“I don’t see how a town with such a high foreclosure and unemployment rate could really give a rats ass about some gallery”

This is going to hit the live music scene too. Maybe even more of a big deal for the music scene? No money coming in = can’t afford to go out. .


“It’s just about as useful as those art pieces in the windows of the Oregon District.”

Didn’t Jasper Wall have a lot of art on the walls, including a fairly impressive mural painted on one side?

I am thinking this creative class stuff is really more about places like what Jasper Wall was, or an independent & original live music scene as one sees at CST, as much as it is about art galleries.


Yes @ Jasper we brought in a starving Dayton artist Dexter Cobbins and he replicated Chagall’s “Triumph of Music” on the east wall. We also sold art (paintings, sketches, jewelry and poetry books) in there by local artists on a commission. Dayton is also home to Kyle Hotz, famous Marvel Comic artist. He would sit in our storefront and do live drawings during the Oregon Halloween fest. People would watch him draw and we would mount and sell his work. We were a collective of friends and artists trying to give back. When the head shop moved in next door that was the beginning of the end. Not as good neighbors to us as Janet and Aaron at Feathers was. Now the space is something else- they painted over Dexters beautiful mural piece with muddy brown paint and hung, you guessed it, art, on the walls. I don’t know if it’s a cafe or what. I can’t bare to look. Here is a link to my Flikr acct. for a pic of the mural. http://www.flickr.com/photos/thegladgirl/240117536/in/set-72157594278753946/ And I have to agree, music VENUES will suffer with this economy but not the music. I feel good about the underground / grassroots thing that will happen to music as a result. Look how the DDC kids took their house shows and made something totally cool out of it. No consultants on the payroll for that one! Now with social networking sites, instant communication and laptop music studios people will enjoy new found freedoms with how they make and buy music. I’m enjoying the new sense of community the gas prices have caused. People are supporting small business again. I live in Belmont. In my little area alone there are 3 old storefront mom and pop stores converted into houses. I would LOVE to have a little general store on my block like when I was a kid. But then again, I’m reminded of the horrible loss we suffered with the murder of Mr. Covault. I would just be happy to get rid of the beeper shop, Zip Thru Beer store and check cashing… Read more »


GladGirl, you are totally right about DDC. Just saw a show there last weekend and was thrilled with the wonderful DIY attitudes that have transformed that space into somewhere everyone could show up and enjoy some music. Didn’t miss the booze at all. Thanks to those who made that space a reality. Also, thank you for your generosity in offering earplugs! =)


The former Jaspers is now owned in part by Pamela Williams, a series jazz artist knows as The Saxtress. She’s played with Patti LaBelle and is in the process of cutting her 8th CD. She & her partner, Precious, fell in love with the Oregon District & South Park during visits here when Pam played at Club 88.

They also would like to display the work of local artists – especially photographers. I think they will make a great addition to our town.

FYI – I had a specialty painting – not quite a mural – at my previous home and the new owners painted over it to my dismay. I know when we sell this house, the mural covering our lower level walls will likely be covered. It’s heartbreaking but things that mean the most to us, may not mean much to the next owner. It doesn’t make them awful people with poor taste – they just have their own dreams & passions & interests.

bob vl

OK DDC – i have not been there yet – but would love to experience the “new” site? Where the heck is the DDC? What the heck is DDC?


@tg- wow there seems to be a theme with folks on the defensive here so guess I’ll join in by defending my comment about the former Dexter Cobbins mural being painted over in the former Jasper Wall space. I in NO WAY inferred that the new occupants were “bad people with poor taste.” Geez. Of course I was heartsick to see that painted over, not just because it was beautiful or because I had to let the cafe go, but because I saw Dexter work and slave over it with so much passion.
Everyone- including Dexter- knows that once you put your art out there it’s no longer yours. And after all, EVERYTHING is temporary in this life.
I’m glad to have the info about the new wonderful occupants of the space and of course will put my love and support behind them like anyone else doin’ the stuff.
Hell- I’m the biggest cheerleader this community has. You have to try pretty dang hard to get me to NOT support you.
Look a few posts upward for the link to the video I made for the Dayton Dirt Collective to use as a promo for just this type of forum- to inform people,
Anyone else that want’s to hire me to help them can do so.
I did the DDC vid as a love offering- there’s no way they could afford my video work so this was quite a donation on my part- and I did it out of love.
BTW- I approached them. They were stunned that someone they’d never met would come in and ask to do a professional video for them. I put my money where my mouth is like a lot of you fine folks here. Glad to be in your company and I appreciate you all so much!!


GladGirl – sorry, did not mean to come across as defensive. That’s the problem with these blogs – especially when you’re communicating with people you don’t know well – it’s hard to get the subtle nuances of body language to come through. Was mainly trying to relate that I felt your pain about having the mural painted over. I’m also very excited that someone of Pam’s caliber came to Dayton to perform and fell in love with our City and not just moved here, but that she & her partner are investing buy starting a business. That just makes me smile! :)

I’ve enjoyed your posts.


Thanks tg I appreciate that note. I agree, forums and such are a hard place to fully express. Tone, eye contact and body language are all lost here in the cyber realm. (not for long I bet)
I will make a point of going down to meet Pam and welcome her, see how I can be of support and enjoy her art.
I’ve enjoyed everyones posts here as well. Thanks for being inclusive.
I’ve been a lurker for a while. I’m more vocal about artistic things than political things so….finally I allowed myself to get sucked in to the wacky world of Esrati dot com.

Drexel Dave

Is the agreement the Schuster’s have to stop free market captilism in the music venue business in Dayton even legal or constitutional?


I meant “wacky” in a good way. Man. My personality just doesn’t translate well in text.
I truly never intend to offend anyone here or anywhere I go. This is a tough room.
Apologies to anyone who thought I would make light of topics here. I only spend energy on things I believe in. That includes this city, Mr. Esrati’s ideas and this forum. If I thought it “wacky” in a bad way I wouldn’t be typing this in the middle of my busy day. And maybe some of you would disagree with this statement, but the word “wacky” in the true sense could be used to describe the world in general. (and not in a good way.)


Oh geez, GladGirl, you poor thing. ;) Just remember, no where in the Constitution does it say we have the right to go through life without being offended! Personally, I think “wacky” fits some days – and David gets touchy some days. His “dishing out” skills far exceed his “taking it” skills! (tee hee – sorry David, couldn’t resist!).

Unfortunately this is why most people choose to stay in the background lurking rather than participating in the conversation. Don’t let anyone here intimidate you. Sounds like you & I have the same theory – our hearts are always in the right place, even if our feet end up in our mouth!

David – is there a way to include emoticons on this site to help some of us about a bit. Billy’s got great ones on the DMM Forum. :)


Thanks for that.
For being a communications major I sure have a long way to go.
Maybe next quarter “Surviving Forums:101”? (insert emo here)

Bob VL

Might I chime in , and let me suggest that we forget the F^@#^%*%*& emoticons ???