MISHAWAKA — A new addition to downtown commerce is advancing toward completion.
DOJO Creative’s three-phase renovation and rehabilitation of the former Gene’s Camera Store, 119 S. Main St., is one of the latest contributions to beautification and modernization at the city’s center.
Previously based in Edwardsburg, Michigan, design and marketing firm DOJO Creative is nearing a November wrap on the first-floor remodel of its historic, 2,983-square-foot office building, constructed in 1880 and purchased by the company in May 2021.
The project required a complete overhaul of the outdated space, including framing two new offices, installing new front-facing windows, relocating a now-ADA-accessible bathroom, updating electrical wiring, asbestos tile removal and exploratory demolition of the building’s facade to assess potential preservation of the existing brick.
Tuvia Poliskin of T2 Design + Architecture holds the vision behind the redevelopment effort. Poliskin is noted regionally for his contemporary, urban-scale design of River Rock Apartments, situated just north of the St. Joseph River and city’s downtown district.
“DOJO Creative is excited to join the downtown Mishawaka community, restoring vitality to a long-struggling structure while ushering new, skilled jobs into northern Indiana — and keeping them here,” co-owner Douglas Elder said.
DOJO Creative was established in 2018 by Elder and Josh Harmon, Michiana natives with a shared background in web development, marketing and advertising.
The company of six employees serves local and regional organizations, including nonprofits, educational institutions, medical groups, small businesses and more, assisting clients in website design, implementation and maintenance, as well as devising digital-first marketing and advertising solutions.
DOJO Creative’s community reach also extends beyond clients and the online realm; Elder serves on four regional nonprofit boards, devoting hundreds of hours annually to fostering local philanthropy, commerce and community engagement. DOJO Creative has also partnered with several regional not-for-profit groups, offering services and event sponsorship at a substantial discount.
“Choosing to base our operations in Mishawaka brings us closer to the clients and communities we serve,” Elder said. “Our relocation is part product of our continued growth and a commitment to joining the city’s ongoing push for economic development.”
The building’s facade is slated for a December 2022 finish, with a second-floor remodel scheduled to conclude December 2023.