By Karen Axelton
Ever since I moved to the Lengthy Seaside, California, space years in the past, I’ve heard in regards to the gondola rides in Naples—a waterfront a part of Lengthy Seaside the place properties are constructed on a community of canals like these in the Italian scene above. Earlier this 12 months I received to witness gondola rides reside once I visited a house within the space. However I had no concept the gondola firm was run by an entrepreneur till I learn an article about it in my Auto Membership journal, Westways.
Mike O’Toole began Gondola Getway in 1981 when he was nonetheless a scholar at USC. The enterprise was a advertising and marketing undertaking, however when he graduated in 1982, O’Toole purchased an 18-foot duplicate gondola, put an electrical motor on the again, and began doing cruises on the canals with only one boat.
Because the enterprise began to develop, he discovered a enterprise companion, David Black, and added a second boat. However quickly, the enterprise required much more growth and in 1984, O’Toole went to Venice, Italy, to watch how actual gondolas had been constructed. He got here again and commenced constructing gondolas that might simply be steered by one gondolier with an oar.
Right now, O’Toole has 10 gondolas and as many as 30 staff who take passengers on romantic cruises by means of the canals.
“I didn’t suppose I’d be doing this for the subsequent 25 years,” O’Toole advised Westways in regards to the enterprise he began as a scholar.
That received me interested by what number of profitable entrepreneurs get began by chance. However was it actually an accident? O’Toole grew up on the canals of Venice and realized to sail as a child. He ended up making a enterprise that allows him to do what he loves.
And many different individuals like it too. After I watched gondolas going by, my first thought was how joyous everybody was. The gondola passengers and their gondoliers had been beaming (no marvel, since O’Toole says a median of 1 marriage proposal a day takes place on the boats). And everybody within the properties up and down the streets overlooking the canals lit up, smiled and waved with pleasure every time a gondola glided by.
Some individuals make enjoyable of that saying “Do what you’re keen on, and the cash will observe.” I’m unsure how a lot cash Gondola Getaways makes, and it’s not the form of enterprise that may change into the subsequent Starbucks or McDonald’s. But it surely warms my coronary heart to examine a enterprise proprietor doing one thing that makes him blissful—and makes everybody else blissful, too.
You will discover out extra about O’Toole on the Gondola Getaway website.