By Mike Rhodes, Editor-in-Chief—
MUNCIE, IN—On Thursday afternoon October 19, 2023, Ryan Kramer invited the community to the open house of his latest project —the 413 building on Tillotson Avenue in Muncie.
According to Kramer, the building was originally built in the 1970’s and operated as a Van Tassel furniture store. The original Van Tassel passed away and then Clark Van Tassel and his sister owned it. They had it as a retail building. “I know it’s been in their family for 70 years or so,” said Kramer. “There used to be a Freddie’s records, and an aquarium store in the building. There was also a card shop in the basement, which was owned by Tony and Debby Gilpin.”
Kramer says he’s invested in real estate in Muncie, (solely Muncie) since he was 19. “I bought my first home to live in when I was 19 years old and then turned it into a rental property when I was like 21 or 22.”
Investing in anything can be risky, but Kramer admits he’s not risk averse. “I’m always risky. My business partners that I get involved with on other projects, they are more, hey, let’s slow our risk down. But I’m always like, let’s just go for it. Sometimes that pays off and sometimes it doesn’t. But the funny thing is, with the 413 building, it wasn’t even on my radar until the day before I bought it.”
Kramer became aware of the building being available through a sheriff’s sale. “When I was looking at properties in the sheriff’s auction, I really didn’t have my eye on it. The morning before the sheriff’s sale, I went and looked at it. It was a spur-of-the moment decision. The building needed some love for sure. I didn’t really plan out everything, but I had a general idea of, you know, a proforma in my head as far as what the building could be and could do.”
Ashley Runkle is a local artist whose talents are exhibited through her painting of the attention-getting mural on the east end of the building. Kramer said that Runkle was an integral part of the project, and it was her idea to do the mural.
Fortunately, Kramer has been able to fill his new building with tenants very quickly through his connections, friends and friends of other friends. The building is now fully occupied and includes: The Electric Crayon Record shop, Misfits Salon, Wags Muncie, Adorn House of Hair, ReNewed DeSigns, David Slaven’s Three Strikes Baseball Card shop, Little Red Door Muncie offices and also a drop box for Muncie Mission Ministries.
Unfortunately, the newly refurbished building has already had one fire. “It was just a crazy act of nature, ” Kramer said. A power pole just fell over into the front yard. The pole that fell created wire tension throughout the building, so a fire started inside the front soffit and gable. Firefighters had to rip both of those open to put the fire out. The fire did not displace tenants and repairs were made quickly.”
Kramer says the 413 project has been a good one and he’s looking forward to doing similar projects. “I would love to keep doing more to improve Muncie. That’s what we are all trying to do.”
Ryan Kramer as interviewed by Steve Lindell on WMUN 93.5 FM and 11340 AM