I guess you could say that Wes Eisenhauer was just in need of a place to call home.
For years now, he’s been on stage with his band Soulcrate, on construction sites with his dad, “in the field” shooting photos and films or in coffee shops meeting with photo clients.
All the while, building from his creativity without a place to rest those ideas — a place to come to every morning, seeking stability, consistency and energy. Even a desk would’ve been nice.
So he made it happen.
A few months ago, Wes closed on an old warehouse on North Dakota Avenue in Sioux Falls. And he’s spent every waking minute thereafter renovating and building the space exactly as he’s envisioned for so long.
There isn’t a name for it or a sign out front per se, but why does there need to be? It’s his.
“The past couple months have been crazy,” Wes says.
But he’ll be putting his feet up on that sought-after desk soon enough.
Meet the ‘clubhouse’ gang
If there’s anything that really brings this vision to life for Wes, it’s being sure his friends are there right along with him. And so they are.
Wes bought the space with a high school friend, Alex Hagen, who is a lawyer in town. The other three who will work in the space are Corey Gerlach, planning to roast his own coffee there; Wes’ brother, Danny, who also is a photographer; and Isaac Show, co-owner of local band Later Babes.
Local video production company Passenger will also house their business in the building beginning in March.
It’s not a large space, but it’s open and clean and full of possibility. There’s a photo studio in the corner with a garage door to bring in light, a living room already settled in and a kitchen, too. There’s plenty of office space and a quiet, welcoming neighborhood to boot.
The space filled up fast, and it’s exactly as he’d like it.
“I hope this creates an environment that’s like an electricity almost, where there’s things happening all around you, and you’re inspired to do things,” Wes says.
The fresh coffee will help.
Wes is co-owner of Corey’s coffee roasting business, called The Breaks. While Corey will be roasting, Wes intends to take care of the marketing, sales and social media end.
“I’m so excited to get the coffee going,” Wes says. “Corey is super gifted at the process of coffee, and he’s so passionate about it.
“I really do believe we can make the coffee as big as we want it to be.”
“Working with Passenger, I’ve learned so much,” Wes says. “I like doing that stuff, but it’s also reinforced that I love being a photographer. I love the simplicity of it.
“Photography is a very similar feel that music gives me. The thing with music is that I don’t want to be gone so much anymore. So photography felt like a similar release. It feeds my creative soul in the same way.”
Wes shot 20 weddings last year alone, and he’s on his way to do the same in 2016.
“I do like it,” he says, but he’s seeing so much more than brides through his lens. There’s an adventurous style he’s achieved, “a fly-on-the-wall, documentary feel,” and that’s what matters to him.
In any case, he’s enjoying the ride.
“My mom is a photographer,” he says. “She has been my whole life, so it’s always been there for me. Then, one day, I picked up a camera and saw the results, and I was, like, I can do this. I could be good with this.
“So I ran with it, and it worked.”
What an energy!
Wes says he and the others who have a stake in the space have spent “hundreds of hours” renovating and building and cleaning and getting each room just right.
“I underestimated what this would take,” he says, “but we’ve made quick progress.”
It would be a lofty endeavor for anyone, rebuilding an old warehouse like that, but for Wes, it’s just what’s next.
And for as many late nights as he’s likely put into this space, his youthful, fun and passionate energy kind of makes you feel like, I want to be like that, too.
From the music to the photos to building a place to call his own, he makes it all look like a breeze.
“It seems so surreal,” he says. “Being this close to done, I’m already nostalgic for the time it took to build this. That was fun.”
And it’s just the beginning.
“I really can’t wait till six weeks from now, when there’s no task to be done here, it’s just a lot of people doing a lot of different things.”
Growing and playing and discovering, right here in Sioux Falls, as always. Together.