Mahesh Nomula came to this country 17 years ago with a couple of bucks in his wallet and lots of hope in his heart.
“America is the best place on earth if you have a dream,” he said. “If you work hard, you can achieve something special.”
Nomula, 46, is something special in The Villages hospitality business. On Sunday, he opened the World of Beer in Spanish Springs Town Square. In May, he bought the Hacienda Hills Country Club. Two years ago he started a World of Beer in Brownwood Paddock Square. He also owns a World of Beer in Clermont.
“The Villages is a special place with special people,” he said. “People here are nice, friendly and they love to have fun. There’s always something to do and every night is like Saturday night.
“There is so much growth here and that means so much opportunity. I want to buy more properties in The Villages. I love it here.”
Nomula’s formula for success is simple.
“There are no shortcuts in life, you just have to work hard,” he said.
And he cares about more than just the bottom line. Nomula, who grew up in India, employs about 140 people in The Villages.
You can see Tony Violanti’s interview with Mahesh Nomula on Villages-News.com Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheVillagesNews
“This isn’t just about money,” he said. “I get the biggest rush knowing that I help people have a job and make a living. The people who work for me are like my family. I can’t accomplish anything without them.”
It’s a gloomy, rainy Sunday night in July. Spanish Springs Town Square is sparsely populated due to the dank atmosphere and threatening weather.
But things are hopping on Alverez Avenue, The World of Beer bar and grill is celebrating opening night. It’s close to 7 p.m. and the doors are about to open.
“OK let’s do it,” General Manager Joe Norton tells his staff of about 70 employees in a final minute pep talk. Norton, a burly man wearing a black WOB shirt and sporting a red beard, is hyped but in full control. “Be polite, be courteous and do whatever it takes to help the customers.”
The employees clap and cheer.
The doors open. Mahesh Nomula stands near the doors and soon greets the customers at this special, pre-opening event before the WOB opens to the general public on Monday.
Nomula seems totally comfortable. He shakes hands with some of the people and hugs others. He is an easy-going, gregarious man with an ever-present smile. Nomula, who lives in Orlando, looks younger than his 46 years with wavy black hair. He’s wearing a white shirt and jeans, with a brown belt.
“These people are what this business is all about,” Nomula says of the Villagers filling up the 179 seats inside WOB.
“Everything we do here starts with Mahesh,” said Norton, who has been with Nomula for four years. “Mahesh is a fair person and the people who work for him tend to stay with him. He works hard and he expects you to work hard. We try to live up to his expectations.”
Unlike some bosses, “Mahesh doesn’t micro-manage,” Norton said. “He gives you responsibility and he let’s you use it. It’s that way for everyone who works here.”
Inside, the Spanish Springs World of Beer decor is different than the one in Brownwood. It has outside patios and inside, is kind of a modern, pub atmosphere with wooden tables, booths, brick walls, and freezers stocking over 500 brands of bottled beer. Also, there are about 50 draft beers available. Specialty and flavored beers can also be made.
But, despite all the foamy suds, WOB is a family place and restaurant.
“Families are important to us,” Nomula said. His family –wife Sumita, daughter Sami, 14, and son Ishran, showed up on opening night and beamed with pride. Nomula made it clear his family means everything to him and is the center of his life.
The hottest selling food at WOB is the German Pretzel, about as big as a steering wheel. Waitresses lug them around on a big black metal hangar and people seem to devour them at a rapid pace.
“The pretzels are great and so is this place,” said Villager Dick Lastowka, who came to the opening with his wife Terry. They sat in a booth with their neighbors Anthony and Sandy Mariniello.
“I’ve been to the one in Brownwood but I like this one better because it’s in Spanish Springs,” Anthony Mariniello said. “You can get any kind of beer you want and the food is outstanding. What’s not to like?”
All proceeds from the special opening night were donated to Misfit Animal Rescue in Taveras.
“We’re so appreciative for World of Beer letting us be here and share the importance of spaying, neutering and adopting animals who need homes,” said Brenda Weber of Misfit Animal Rescue. She stood by a special display on the back patio. “If we can save one dog or cat, it’s worth it.”
On a small stage, near the front of WOB, the Bob Green Duo was playing kind of a modern country sound. The loud din of conversation filled the room. Waitresses were hustling back and forth and bartenders were pouring beers at a machine guns pace. Customers were elbow to elbow everywhere.
Nomula said he spent nearly a year building the World of Beer in Spanish Springs. If opening night was an indication, it looks like he has another winner on his hands in The Villages.
“This is the way Mahesh does things – he puts a lot of work and effort into it and he wants everything to be just right,” said Joe Passarella. He has been with Nomula for a few years and worked at the WOB in Brownwood and is now in management at Hacienda Hills.
“I think one of the reasons for Mahesh’s success is that he is so family oriented,” Passarella said. “The people who work for him, want to work for him because he is a good person who cares about people.
“In a way, I guess you could say, Mahesh’s life is like the great American success story. He came here with very little and now is doing so well. He’s the one who made it happen.”
Nomula takes such comments in stride. When told he is becoming a mover and shaker in The Villages, he doesn’t sound like a big shot.
“I’m honored but humble,” he said. “You still have to work hard. I start in the morning and I’m going until night. You never take it easy.”
Like the man said, there are no shortcuts.