Two Dayton-area entrepreneurs have created and released a new album borne of decades of friendship and shared creative endeavors.
Eric Jerardi, 49, and Allen Farst, 48, first met at Vandalia-Butler High School and today they continue to grow their businesses — Jerardi as a blues-rock musician and owner of Jerardi’s Little Store, and Farst as owner of commercial video production company, Niche Productions, and record company Niche Records.
Their latest creation is the first new album by Jerardi — a well-known musician in the Dayton area — since 2013.
Jerardi is widely regarded as a wine expert, with local oenophiles flocking to Jerardi’s Little Store at 7325 Peters Pike in Butler Twp. for recommendations in French and Italian wines.
Farst has created videos for everyone from Cessna, Hyundai, IndyCar and the NFL. He directed a video for a song on the new Jerardi album, “Do Right by Him,” filming the work in November, and shooting all the photography for the CD.
“If someone (else) made that video, it would be a hundred-grand, easily,” Farst said when asked about the video’s cost.
“We’re partners in the project,” Jerardi said. “I paid for something, he paid for something and the two shall meet.”
Jerardi’s “little” store has gotten bigger in recent years, thanks to a 1,200-square-foot addition that included new commercial kitchen equipment with a walk-in freezer and cooler. A larger deli case was installed in the existing shop, among other improvements.
With the catering side of his business growing, Jerardi often serves as personal chef for high net-worth individuals in the Dayton area, sometimes even traveling with them. Diners have also been known to visit his shop for private dinners, with Jerardi again in the role of chef.
His already extensive menu is just a “suggestion,” not a “limitation,” he says.
Jerardi won’t name customers, but he regards the work as integral to what he does as a creative entrepreneur.
Farst has found his own place in the worlds not only of Dayton business but music. He is putting the finishing touches on a documentary about rock keyboardist Chuck Leavell.
That work took him to Europe, Los Angeles and points between, where Farst interviewed Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour and many others.
He and his wife Amy are also involved with St. Vincent de Paul, which offers local charitable services, including running two Dayton shelters.
Niche has distributed all of Jerardi’s albums except the first. Farst arranged the involvement of the famed “Muscle Shoals” rhythm section for the new album, and brought in David Rivkin — also known as David Z. — who has worked with Prince, Billy Idol and many others.
“As executive producer, you make a lot of calls,” Farst said.
“Don’t let him sell himself short as far as the executive producer role,” Jerardi said. “Allen does bring a kind of positivity to the room, and an exuberance, I would say.”
As part of the unveiling of the new album, Jerardi has announced partnerships with wine producer Clarendelle — Jerardi calls the company “the world’s greatest Bordeaux producer” — Stella Artois beer and Cantera Negra tequila.
Farst is looking to wrap up his Leavell documentary. “Not sure what will be next but I’m having a fun time deciding.”