A chance tour of a German brewery transformed him into a beer importer, but that’s just one of many hats that David Klass wears in his multiple roles across the Dayton area. And he has more projects in the works.
But don’t take our word for it. Let’s let our Dayton.com Daytonian of the Week tell you in his own words.
Tell us about the different ventures and roles you're involved with now.
Currently, on the craft beer side, I’m importing Riegele, which is Germany’s most awarded brewery and Germany’s “Brewery of the Year,” and it hails from Dayton’s Sister City of Augsburg! Also, I just I finalized our first order with one of the top-trending craft beers in Paris, La Parisienne, which is actually brewed in Paris. I will be launching it next month in New York City.
I’m active in the Dayton Sister City Committee as the Augsburg Chair. This is particularly rewarding, as it allows me to work, both in the private sector with Riegele and the public sector, with the City of Augsburg, which has become like a second home to me.
As a third-generation real estate developer, I’ll always be involved in some form of real estate development. More recently, I’ve focused on the commercial side, with my partner, Skip Schafer and his firm, Commercial Realty Associates. Last year I had the opportunity to mix my experience with craft beer, with real estate, when, working with Steve Barnhart and Jason Woodard, we successfully placed Lock 27 Brewing in downtown Dayton as part of the Water Street project.
I ‘m also active with partner and childhood friend Scott Beale on the blog Laughing Squid (LaughingSquid.com). Scott, a Centerville native, founded the Webby-Award winning blog Laughing Squid 24 years ago in San Francisco and moved the company to NYC in 2010. Scott credits much of his success to his Dayton ties and visits here often.
Share with us the story of how it came about that you became a beer importer and began importing Brauhaus Riegele beers.
It’s actually a great story that dates back to San Francisco and then-San Francisco Mayor, Willie Brown. But that’s another story! In short, The Dayton Sister City trip to Augsburg in 2012 was the conduit to making it all happen. We took a guided tour of the Riegele brewery and I remember saying to the other committee members “we need to bring this beer to Dayton for the Dayton-Augsburg 50th anniversary next year!”
What's been your most recent professional challenge, and how did you push through the challenge?
The housing crisis in 2007 was brutal to the home-building industry, and I went an entire year without selling a single lot in my new development, Auteur Estates. We pushed through by adhering to our standards and remaining optimistic. On numerous occasions, I was offered cash for lots, provided I would loosen our standards and allow homes that didn’t meet our strict design standards.
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We stayed the course and it paid off. In 2014, Auteur Estates was awarded Homearama Luxury Edition, Dayton’s premier home show and I was named “Builder Member of the Year” from the Home Builders Association of Dayton.
What factors led you to decide to settle in and make Dayton your home?
It was 2006 and I was living in San Francisco and working at an investment banking firm. The Bay Area was still reeling from the stock market crash of 2002 and business was challenging. Lucky for me, I had fallen for a beautiful girl named Robin and I asked her to move away from the big-city life and back to my hometown, Dayton.
There, I began the process of taking over our family business and began to develop real estate. Robin and I are now married and have two beautiful girls, Natalie and Vivian. Robin is an artist and the art teacher at John Hole Elementary in Centerville and proudly calls Dayton her home.
What are your favorite places to eat and/or drink in the Dayton area?
My family loves Archer’s Tavern in Centerville. I’m also a big fan of Lock 27 Brewing, Mudlick Tap House, Lily’s Bistro, Coco’s Bistro and Meadowlark.
What's your guilty pleasure?
Unpasteurized Camembert cheese from France.
What inspires you about Dayton?
One word. Resiliency! There is no modern-day city that has a richer history and endured what Dayton has had to withstand during the Great Recession. But, Dayton is resilient and the city gets stronger by the day. Just a few years ago, if you were to tell me that NCR, GM and Mead were all going to exit Dayton, I think we’d all agree: lights out. Daytonians never quit!
What do you see in Dayton's future?
Dayton has really transformed itself since the Financial Crisis of 2007. The city is clean, safe and vibrant once again. Developers like Charlie Simms and Jason Woodard are re-shaping the downtown housing market, and it’s attracting people of all ages to move downtown. It truly is “Great in Dayton!”