Building a Business with the Neighborhood

Pictured above: Ryan Frahm

Pictured above: Ryan Frahm

 

When he was growing up, Ryan Frahm used to peer out the window of his mom’s car as it weaved through Colorado Boulevard on the way to Methodist Dallas Medical Center. Frahm would scan the streets and pick out the houses he wanted to live in when he grew up. This was a familiar drive to him, as someone who was born in Methodist and whose mother worked in the hospital for nearly 20 years. You could often find the Frahm family eating meals nearby at El Fenix or Bishop’s Grille. 

In his years in Oak Cliff, Ryan Frahm has seen a lot of change, perhaps none more rapid and transformative than the last five years. He sees a pivotal time, and acknowledges how difficult that can be to navigate, but he’s confident the resilience of the neighborhood will shepherd Oak Cliff into its next era.

“I feel like we are at an interesting crossroads for the community,” Frahm tells me. “We have clear growth but have thus far been able to keep a clear identity and sense of community. I don’t see many communities that are able to do that, and that’s pretty exciting.”
 

Photography
Douglas Klembara
Written By:
Brooks Thomas

 
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If there’s one constant in the neighborhood, Frahm believes it’s the people; both the ones who established roots here long ago, and the ones who are drawn to live in the area. Both have a foundation of values that mirror one another, though admittedly not always perfectly parallel. Establishing relationships and coexisting are what makes a community, and Frahm bridges the gap here, both in his personal and professional lives.

Frahm is perhaps a unique type of Oak Cliff neighbor; one who is grounded by his experience growing up in Oak Cliff, and who has a vision for how things move forward, amid all of the recent development. The embrace, he admits, is something of a tight-wire act, but one that can be achieved due to the closeness of the community and its tightly-held ideals. We lock arms together as businesses and homeowners--this is how we survive and thrive.

Oak Cliff has always been home to Frahm. Even during the seven years he was away in Murphy, Texas, Ryan always knew he’d be back. In 2017, Ryan received a call from Origin Bank; they mentioned they were looking to open up a mortgage office in Oak Cliff. “This was something that I had been wanting to do for a while with my old company, so it was a no-brainer for me to make the move.”

So who is Origin Bank? They have a very “old school” model of client interaction, according to Frahm. All of Origin’s banking follows a private banking model that focuses on relationships with its customers. “The relationship model shines for commercial and small business lending as well,” Frahm explains. “We get to know our clients and truly review everyone on a case-by-case basis instead of whether something fits in the box or doesn’t.” Frahm’s community roots are especially important here, because he comes in as a neighbor; not as an impersonal emissary who parachutes in without an understanding of the people he’s serving. Frahm is a regular at Hattie's and Ten Bells, and frequently starts his day at Davis St. Coffee. He's the perfect representative for Origin Bank, because Origin's story is about integrating with the neighborhood by drawing from its base to install one of its own; someone who is already woven into the tapestry.

 
Pictured above: the future home of Origin Bank

Pictured above: the future home of Origin Bank

 

Origin Bank has a community-driven focus that extends very tangibly to its employees and neighbors. All employees get 20 hours of paid volunteer time off each year, to go out in the community and make a difference. Employees have given their time to Bonton Farms, Hungerbusters, and the North Texas Food Bank. The office also curates artwork from local artists to help support the community; Origin is working particularly with Sunset Art Studios. Frahm hopes to extend the art effort to the new Origin Bank branch opening in Sylvan Thirty as early as April. Origin also plans to support more nonprofits in Oak Cliff once the office opens.

Origin Bank made a big splash by coming on as Go Oak Cliff’s presenting sponsor for 2019; a commitment to the community and its events that Frahm has maintained has been a dream of his--to give back and help shape the neighborhood that raised him.

These days, Frahm drives down Colorado Boulevard with a hint of nostalgia. A commute he’s made so many times before as the passenger, now in the driver’s seat. A drive he now makes on the way to his own home in Wynnewood HIlls. All grown up.
 

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Origin Bank’s goal is to be able to offer support to Oak Cliff and celebrate the original individuals that make it special.