East Dundee business sets sights on downtown
By Erin Sauder For The Courier-News March 7, 2013 4:59PM
Stephen Reynolds of Chicago hand paints the J. Oxford Studios lettering on the window of the new business at 320 River St., in East Dundee. | submitted
Updated: April 9, 2013 11:19AM
EAST DUNDEE — When it comes to the filling up the vacant storefronts in East Dundee’s downtown, the pieces are falling into place.
J. Oxford Studios, a film production company and design studio, recently moved into the building at 320 River St., next to the offices of Charles J. Motl CPA & Associates and Zeller Marketing & Design. The property was bought and renovated by OTTO President Tom Roeser, who has been instrumental in buying up several sites in the village in order to help revamp the downtown.
Owned by East Dundee resident Jesse Oxford, J. Oxford Studios has been around for about six years.
“It was part-time, and then about three years ago we made it a full-time deal,” Oxford said.
He and his staff had been working out of his home for the past three years.
“Around a year and a half ago, we felt a space issue — the business was growing and we were adding some employees,” Oxford said. “We started looking around the area. Being a resident of East Dundee, I preferred something down the street. We talked with the village, and they pointed us in the direction of Tom Roeser. The building at 320 was completely renovated and seemed like a good opportunity.”
Oxford, who previously served as creative director at Willow Creek Church in South Barrington for eight years, said his firm’s main focus is filmmaking and branding services. J. Oxford Studios caters primarily to nonprofit organizations and causes.
“Traditionally, nonprofits aren’t known for having really good design and filmmaking,” Oxford said. “Our mission is to provide high-level ad agency quality to nonprofits.”
According to the J. Oxford Studios’ website, “Whether this is creating viral info-graphic videos highlighting a social issue featured in a major Hollywood film, flying to Jakarta to tell the story of people partnering across religious lines to fight poverty in their neighborhood, filming a non-stop transcontinental bicycle race for charity, creating digital backdrops for a global event in Cape Town, or documenting the fight of undocumented immigrants struggling to obtain citizenship — we want to lend our creativity and experience to your cause.”
Oxford said he is excited about putting down business roots in East Dundee’s downtown.
“I really see what the potential our town is able to be,” Oxford said. “Right now it’s not necessarily a young, hip place. But I think it has the potential to be that. And being in the creative industry, we can help bring that vibe to it.”
He lauds Roeser’s contribution to East Dundee’s development.
“I’ve seen Tom’s track record with his properties around OTTO. I’ve taken a tour of those spaces, and they’re beautiful,” Oxford said. “I could’ve gone my own route of buying a building and renovating it myself, but the expertise that goes along with that is something Tom has done. He’s really great to work with.”
Roeser said the studio is a perfect fit for the space.
“He and his employees will help the lunch crowd, which the businesses need,” he said. “Any downtown area needs a mix of restaurants, destinations and residents. If you don’t have residents, you can’t support businesses.”
Roeser said he wants to see business come to the area that will attract more than just East Dundee residents.
“The people who I want to get there are people that will have customers that come to them and see the area and leave,” he said. “I call them apostles. I don’t want people just from East Dundee. I want people outside to come to East Dundee so they can take word back.”