With Oregon District patio nearly finished, lounge’s co-owner says of current crisis: ‘You just have to get through it’

“This is just another curve ball and we just have to figure out how to hit it,” Van Buren Room co-owner said

If this were a typical year, we’d be mere days away from what some consider “the most wonderful time of the year.”

Yep, we are talking about patio season, a time when sun-starved bar and restaurant patrons take drink and food al fresco.

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

With Ohio bars and restaurants closed to dine-in customers, or in this case, dine-outdoors customers, due to the coronavirus crisis, patio season is likely postponed at best.

That hasn’t stopped the owners of Dayton’s newest patio from getting ready.

Mike LaSelle, the co-owner of Belle of Dayton Distillery and its lounge, the Van Buren Room, said it’s full-stream ahead on the business’ patio facing Wayne Avenue.

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In fact, all that's left to be installed are the swing doors, furniture and finishing touches on the white oak patio wall constructed by South Park resident Burgess Gow of BNG.

“We are a little bit behind where we thought we’d be at this time,” LaSelle said. “With that being said, you have to keep driving forward.”

Additional work was done by Farrell Brothers Concrete and Dayton Pavers and Landscaping.

LaSelle, who owns the businesses with his brothers Murphy and Tim, said overcoming adversity is what successful entrepreneurs do and that spirit will come in handy as the coronavirus crisis continues.

>> RELATED: 50 of the BEST patios in Dayton for outdoor drinks and dining

“We are a small family business. We get thrown curve balls every day,” Mike LaSelle said. “This is just another curve ball and we just have to figure out how to hit it.”

Since launching in 2014, the Belle of Dayton Distillery has won multiple awards and has been recognized for its pot-distilled, small-batch spirits.

>> RELATED: Belle of Dayton snags rare double-gold medal at San Fran competition

The company opened the Van Buren Room, a 1900s-themed cocktail bar inside the distillery at 122 Van Buren St., in late 2018.

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

>> RELATED: Dayton distillery to produce hand sanitizer

Late last month, the Oregon District distillery began producing antiseptic hand sanitizer.

Businesses that do not evolve with the times rarely survive, LaSelle said.

He suspects patios will be popular after businesses reopen, as people will crave fresh air and distance from others.

>> New patio will ‘help bring Wayne Avenue into the Fifth Street vibe,’ Oregon District business owner says

LaSelle said he and his brothers and sisters, Maggie and Nicole LaSelle, a Hobart Corporation employee and private practice psychologist, were raised with entrepreneurship in their blood.

“You’ve got to keep evolving, you’ve got to keep changing,” he said. “Keep moving, keep doing.”

Orville LaSelle, their grandfather, opened Automotive General Store in Neenah, Wis., in 1950. The business evolved into LaSelle Schwinn Cyclery in the early '60s because Orville saw bike sales take off in the general store, Mike LaSelle said.

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Beginning in 1978, their father, Steve LaSelle, owned three LaSelle Bike World locations in Tulsa with his brother Al before moving to the Dayton area in the early ‘90s to work at a  brother’s furniture store, Cedar Hill Furniture.

Seeing the potential of mattresses, Steve LaSelle opened Mattress Innovations in 1998.

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

That business is now run by Murphy and Mike LaSelle.

>> RELATED: Local winery, distillery to turn excess wine into hand sanitizer

Mike LaSelle said he and his brothers are having to think outside the box when it comes to mattresses and will soon use video to sell them.

“We just built something from the ground up and just go for it,” he said.

“There’s been other hard times. You just have to get through it and endure.”

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

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