A Successful, Proactive New York Businessman

A Successful, Proactive New York Businessman
Photo : Danny and his wife Shelley

Shri Danny Mohabir is a successful businessperson with great acumen. He is bright, humble, hard-working, creative, industrious, results driven and highly motivated. He has taken business risks that have paid handsome dividends earning the envy of others.

A young Danny started working as a high school student in a bowling alley at an entry level job and quickly got promoted to higher positions because of his productivity. He earned a reputation of being a peoples’ person and an effective manager.

Danny Mohabir migrated from Georgetown to New York with his family in 1981 when he was just two years old; it was time of extreme diffi culties in Guyana especially for Indians with tens of thousands migrating. The family initially settled briefl y in Flushing. It was a very large extended family of aunts and uncles and their children living in one family unit. Then the extended family moved to 134 Street and Jamaica Ave in Richmond Hill living in a 2 Family House. Danny practically grew up there till his adult age moving out after he got married to his lovely wife Shelly who is from Houston, East Bank Demerara, and who also migrated to NYC at a tender age with her family. They met while students at Queensboro Community College, fell in love and got married.

The House where Danny lived was next to the Van Wyck Bowling Lanes, which had a great impact on his life and his business skills. He used to continuously hear the bowling pins and the rolls of the balls and the machine that automatically picks the pins up and re-sets them. This caused Danny to develop an interest in bowling at age 11 when he was in Junior high. He learned to bowl and after a few years, he mastered it.

He said since junior high, “I really wanted to own and or manage my own business, an alley. I want to get into a multi-level company”.

Danny said he came from a family with business ties and his parents pushed him into entrepreneurship. “My father provided the training and supervision for business. My mom and dad guided me to own and manage business”.

At age 15, Danny tried to get a job at the American Bowling Lane at Van Wyck, but management told him he was too young. But Danny was persistent. While a student at Hillcrest High, at age 17, Van Wyck Bowling Lane decided to hire him as a customer ser- vice agent at the front desk. “This was my first on the book job. Prior to this job, I used to help his father and others perform varied tasks including carpentry, paint- ing, plumbing, etc.”

Danny impressed the bowling management. “Customers liked me. I used to handle 3,500 clients a week, and I was quickly promoted. I would say that by age 19, I learn the busi- ness internally. And I was promoted to assistant manager”.

Then the company de- cided to send him to man- age a bowling alley at Rockaway Blvd and 100 Street, the one he current- ly owns since 2016. He became the youngest Gen- eral Manager and was sub- sequently made General manager at age 20. After one and a half year, the bowling alley at Ozone Park was closed (around 2001) as it was not doing well. The company sold the business. And Dan- ny returned to Van Wyck Bowling Lanes where he became general manager (GM).

He served there for eight years as GM. The Van Wyck Bowling Lanes on 134 Street off the Van Wyck was sold. Danny was sent to manage bowl- ing lanes on Long Island. He said he was also sent to manage a bowling alley in Manhattan. Because of his skills, the company put him on the management board to guide management. “I gave ideas to grow the business. The company had 280 locations. Owners were most impressed with my performance and trust- ed me with managing their business and placed me in high board positions. I was a corporate type guy and I wanted to serve at the cor- porate level. Serving on the board helped with my gaining experience at the corpo- rate level. I acquired skills to run my own company”.

Then around 2015, the bowling company and Danny parted ways forcing Danny to fi nd ways to pro- vide for his family. Danny said he was inspired by his wife “to run our own business. My wife and I started a roti shop right opposite the bowling lane called Justin Roti Shop. After eight months, we were ap- proached to sell it and we did. This business gave us an opportunity to be an en- trepreneur. It was our fi rst business. We had a dynamic experience”.

Danny and his wife left NY to open a bowling alley in Florida. They acquired a place and was all set to commence work on it. Then plan changed. “I came to New York and went to visit my old friend Mike Mac- chio, who had owned the alley at 100h Street and Rockaway. Mike off ered the alley to me asking me to manage it because it was not doing well. I wrote anexcellent business plan to remodel it to get funding. Mike suggest to the cur- rent landlord to lease the alley to me and I turned it around”.

Danny said he turned around the alley into a success. He had 7,000-10K clients a week bringing in a lot of revenues and creating jobs. He hired a lot of staff providing jobs for many Guyanese, Trinis, Caribbe- an people and other Americans.

The company has 64 lanes, with 60 K square feet in size. It has four bars but only two are activated. It also has a catering hall. It is the largest bowling alley in NYC and it is located in the heart of Ozone Park, a multi-ethnic community. It has an arcade, billiards pool. There are favorite foods and snacks. People from all backgrounds have an enjoyable time at the alley.

The alley services all schools. Some 80K kids come to bowl at the alley. He also works in partner- ship with local precinct, NYPD cadets, local groups, community organizations, and the community board. The alley keeps kids off the street, and it promotes a great social as well as fam- ily life. The bowling alley is handicapped accessible. Danny said he is installing an elevator in the building to assist the disabled even though he is not mandated to do it. The alley caters for people who work unusual hours, including off peak hours. It serves seniors, disabled people, churches, and businesses.

Danny said the facility is used for various charita- ble causes. Several groups (veterans, cancer organiza- tions and Caribbean peo- ple) come to the alley for fundraising. They use the place for free. He notes that cricket parties are also held there.

Danny said he is developing new business with partners on Long Island. Because he is contributing to development, he is wel- comed in Nassau County. “I am starting a new type of entertainment – a ping pong kitchen and bar; it is an upscale form of entertainment. Construction is almost fi nished He said he will have three more locations”.

Asked about competition, Danny said he is not worried. “Competition makes your business better”.

Danny credits his success to his family – parents, in laws, and wife. He off ers praises to wife Shelly. “We married in 2002. She is business savvy. And she is an excellent manager”.

Danny and his wife have adopted six foster kids join- ing his own family of two children. The foster kids are from diff erent nationalities but they all think and say they are Guyanese. They attend mandir, and they play Indian musical instru- ments. One foster daughter of Spanish ancestry sings the Hanuman Chalisa. His own two kids are 14 and 16 and foster kids 3 to 8. The family was recipient of the John T Fagan Little Children Flowers Award for being best foster parents. They also received “a Cita- tion” from a State Senator in Manhattan.

On his philosophy about life, Danny said he learned from his struggles in business. He said, “Life is a struggle. And every strug- gle provides an opportunity. I underwent a history of struggle. On the job, I learn from developers. I got opportunities that made me successful as a businessman”.

Danny uses some of his business earnings to support charitable causes. He con- tributes to religious groups (including non-Hindus) and other charitable functions. He said he plans to support an orphanage in Guyana – something that interests his in laws at which he is working.

He thanks his in laws Pradeep and Data Tajeshwar and his parents Robert and Irene Persaud. The in laws would come from Florida to assist with the business. He said they contributed a lot in helping to make his business a success. He thanks everyone who helped to make his business a success.