Not quite six years
ago, Derrick Serianni moved to Chesterton from Upstate New York, looking to
be near his son but, as an entrepreneur, also looking to establish himself
in the business community.
Serianni did some
consulting--his specialty, his passion really, is putting people in touch
with other people, germinating relationships, brokering synergies--but then
he made a connection of his own: Joshua Strasburg, a Valparaiso contractor.
Together they founded Prepared Services and went into the restoration,
remodeling, and mitigation business.
Now Serianni and
Strasburg are upping their game, with the latest iteration in the Prepared
Services family of companies: Access, the linchpin of which is the
old warehouse at 505 Grant Ave., the original location of Pioneer Lumber;
also formerly the home of AccuCast Industries, a concrete-block
manufacturer, and of H2O Industries, an industrial cleaning outfit; and for
several years a rented outpost of the Chesterton Utility.
This time, however,
505 Grant Ave. is going to be put to an altogether different use: as a
facilitator of human capital, as a catalyst of community. For one thing, the
facility has a permanent stage and seating for several hundred, and Serianni
sees it as an ideal venue not simply for weddings and receptions but for all
manner of events networking and churning folks creatively: concerts, dances,
performances, and exhibits. The warehouse also features offices available
for co-working space and a conference room for seminars and workshops.
“We’re here, we’re
right in the heart of Downtown Chesterton, and we want to position ourselves
to serve the community,” Serianni says. “I just want to connect people,
build relationships, and blow life into those around me. Our business model
came from a deep desire to help people meet each other’s needs.
Relationships are one of the most important things in my life. And seeing
others succeed and donating to the local community motivates me intensely.”
To that end
Serianni is cordially inviting Dunelanders to attend the grand-opening and
ribbon-cutting of Access from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, June 21. Access is
partnering with Running Vines Winery, 119 S. Calumet Road in Chesterton,
hors d’oeuvres will be served, and Darren Tyler and Daniel Asher will
provide the entertainment.
Yet Serianni also
feels he has a higher calling, part and parcel of his mission to connect
people, and that is to motivate them as well: to give them the tools,
attitude, and will to desire and achieve excellence. Hence Inspire at
the 505 Warehouse: what Serianni envisions as a series of three to four
events every year, hosted by Prepared Services, and featuring guests with
stories to tell.
First up, from 6 to
9 p.m. Saturday, June 22, the day after the Access grand opening: Michael
Franzese, a former caporegime of the Colombo crime family in New
York--The Yuppie Don--who made the mob millions in the gasoline tax rackets,
then went to federal prison and came out, after nearly a decade, a different
man. Since then Franzese has gotten right with God, devoted himself to
family and community, and become a motivational and life-skills speaker
who’s talked on hundreds of college campuses, to professional athletes in
the NBA, NFL, and MLB, and keynote-addressed corporate seminars and
The choice of
inaugurating the Inspire series with Franzese was hardly random. Serianni
was still living in Upstate New York when he caught Franzese discussing his
rise and fall and then rise into decency on The Discovery Channel, and felt
a connection to him, as a fellow New York Italian then “down on his luck and
looking for inspiration.” To Franzese’s story of a made man made good,
Serianni attributes his own upward trajectory and his desire to pay forward
by constellating and exhilarating others.
Also appearing with
Franzese: singer/songwriter Chris Cleveland of “Stars Go Dim,”
singer/songwriter Keri Cardinale, and local singer/songwriter Daniel Asher.
Food trucks will be on hand too.
More: all Inspire
events will be fundraisers too. A portion of the proceeds from Franzese’s
appearance will be donated to the Duneland Unit of the Boys & Girls Club;
The H Life, supporting pediatric brain cancer research; and Reins of Life,
which provides equine-assisted therapy to children and adults with
Tickets start at
$20 and are limited. Purchase tickets on eventbright.com or at the door.
Ages 13 and over only.
president of the Duneland Chamber of Commerce, is thrilled to welcome
Serianni and Prepared Services into the community. “Derrick came to town
with all guns blazing (in a good way),” she says. “Like many entrepreneurs,
Derrick and his team have great vision and great ideas, and those ideas feed
into each other and have spun into separate businesses. The Duneland Chamber
is excited to see the success of their many endeavors and the effect it will
have on our community.”
“Our concept of
helping the community, providing jobs, a place to collaborate and inspire,
should be proven and five years from now our plan to duplicate what we have
done in Chesterton in other small towns will be in motion,” Serianni says.
information on Prepared Services, on Access, and on Inspire at the 505
Warehouse, call (219) 203-3232.