Today we’d like to introduce you to Dennis Wilson Jr.. Them and their team share their story with us below:
Dennis Wilson Jr. is the owner of a graphic design firm, an event promoter for regional promotion company, Mrdwilson Limited Corp; and restaurant owner of The Oakk Room, a mainstay for urban professionals in Buffalo, NY. Mr. Wilson manages his businesses all while being a full-time high school teacher in the Buffalo Public Schools.
Born and raised in Buffalo, NY, Dennis has beaten the odds his entire life. Dennis graduated top of his class at Riverside High School and went on to earn a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Canisius College in Buffalo, NY. At Canisius, Dennis was member of the Canisius College Golden Griffins Division I basketball team.
After college, Dennis shifted focus to entrepreneurism and education, joining the Buffalo Board of Education in 1999, and launching his first business, King of Spades Graphics, out of his home in 2001.
While teaching and coaching basketball for a few years, 2007 saw the launch of Dennis’s second company, Mrdwilson.com (now Mrdwilson Limited Corp.), which has put on Upscale events attracting attendees from all across the US and Canada.
In 2011, capitalizing on success as an event promoter Mr. Wilson and his business partner took on the task of taking a run-down bar notorious for crime and revitalizing it into The Oakk Room Restaurant. Over the past 11 years, The Oakk Room has become the hub for Urban Professionals in the Buffalo, NY region.
Further expanding his brand, Dennis and his wife created Panoramic Magazine in 2019. Panoramic Magazine is a magazine that gives a 360 view of the lives of successful middle-class professionals with Buffalo roots. With his various business interests, Dennis has created platforms for small businesses and career-minded individuals to connect and network throughout the Western New York region. During the pandemic, Dennis continued to build his brand by creating a clothing line, “The Collection by Dennis Wilson.”
Mr. Wilson has received various community and small business awards in the past several years, including the 2022 Man of Year at the Buff City Awards. In 2016 Dennis married Rhonda Wilson (formerly Williams), who founded Buffalo Black Nurses Inc, a community organization for nurses.
Dennis continues to focus on building a long-lasting legacy in Buffalo.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Being an African American male, in general, comes with challenges, roadblocks, and hurdles. My life is similar to many Black Males growing up in the inner city. I personally grew up with a lot of love, but lack of financial stability and financial education limited the amount of opportunities I was presented. Always starting from behind the pack makes progress that much harder but I always had the dream of being successful.
Some of the individual struggles were just trying to fit in. I’m naturally passive, so learning when and how to be aggressive and assertive was a challenge.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
What I do is a lot…lol. I’ve been a teacher in the Buffalo Public Schools for 23 years. I’m certified in History and Printing/Graphic Design grades 7-12. I co-own The Oakk Room Restaurant in Buffalo, NY for the past 11 years. I’m personally one of the top Graphic Designers in the area, as well as one of the top Urban Event Promoters in Western New York. I own Panoramic Magazine, which documents the lives of urban professionals with Buffalo roots. Lastly, I own a clothing line (The Collection by Dennis Wilson) that features styles that fit my lifestyle.
Depending on who you speak to I’m known for my various works but more importantly for the quality and professionalism, I put into all my endeavors. As a teacher, I’ve had the opportunity to assist thousands of students in bettering themselves and improving their opportunity of having a quality life. As a restaurant owner, I had the opportunity to create a space where people can come and truly relax and engage with others from all walks of life. As a graphic designer, I’ve had the opportunity to touch much of the world from my office. Lastly, and most exciting for me as an event promoter; I’ve had the opportunity to create lifetime memories for people. I have taken groups of people to NYC, Chicago, Wash DC, Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Detroit, Miami, Charlotte, & London. I’ve also created the two largest signature events in Buffalo, The Annual Miami Nights All White Affair (held every July), and the Annual Presidential All Black Affair (held every November). Both events are in their 12th year of existence, and they continue to grow.
What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
Never get too high, never get too low. It’s never as good as you think, and it’s not as bad as it seems. This helps me keep an even keel when dealing with challenges of life. I also like to always keep focus on the big picture or the long game. Keeping focus on long-term goals helps you avoid distractions and it makes it easier to walk away from things that aren’t in your long-term best interest.
- Website: www.mrdwilson.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/mrdwilson
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/mrdwilson
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/mrdwilson
- Youtube: www.youtube.com/dwil90
- Other: www.thecollectiondw.com
William Charls Photography