Sunday, May 19, 2024

Young Business mogul equates hard work to success | Robesonian

Must read

WHITE LAKE — Jake Womble’s journey to success started at 5 years old at White Lake on the Putt-Putt golf course.

He has since graduated to take over the Goldston’s Beach resort and although he doesn’t have much time to golf, it probably still wouldn’t be prudent to get into a putting match with him as some old talents die hard.

At just 32 years old, Womble has taken over a family business that was in existence since 1921. His challenge, according to him is to be evolving and growing with the times and the trends. The wisdom of this young man realizes that sentiment and tradition are not all that are needed to keep up with today’s changing entertainment scene.

As many family businesses go by the wayside, Womble is working hard to accelerate the tempo.

“My whole life I grew up here on the property,” Womble said. “My parents have operated the property for 50 years with my grandaddy Harry Womble. I grew up in the house right beside the putt-putt. Granddaddy and my uncle really made the place what it is and my parents, John and Jill continued to run the family business.”

His family were all about making the resort successful and he learned at an early age, it took hard work and dedication to make it what it is today. In 2021 – just a year after COVID took out many hotels, restaurants and businesses, Womble was about to embark on the next chapter of not only his life – but the life of his family’s legacy.

“Around 2021 I sat down with my parents and worked out a deal with them so that they could retire,” Womble said. “One of my good friends Dean Hilton and his wife Jenna came in and partnered with me to do a lot of these renovations and take the property to the next level.”

There is a lot of history that Womble has lived through in his short time on this earth, and he says that he just sits back and smiles when he hears stories of people that have been coming to the lake for generations.

“I’ve talked to some people who have been coming for over 70 years,” Womble said. “It’s really cool. A lot of these people come year after year and become friends who come to the same cottages and cabins year after year. We are also now really growing with the campground and people have their own place and come pretty much every weekend during the summertime.”

The resort also has created an impressive wedding venue on the property.

“We’re having weddings pretty much every weekend,” Womble said. “We do rehearsal dinners, corporate events, reunions, engagement parties and marriage retreats. There is around 175 camper spots. The campground is a prime location to access the beach and all the activities here at Goldston.”

The Grand Regal Resort is part of a collective of all the properties that Womble is overseeing. There are several properties under the Grand Regal umbrella with the Shoreliner Motel, Goldston’s Beach, The Venue where the weddings are, Grand Regal Lakeside and Bayside. Hotel rooms and efficiencies are in the ballpark of another 150 rooms.

“I always worked with my dad and my granddad and my mom ran the motel,” Womble said “I started working on the property when I was 5 years old at the putt-putt. I collected the money, handed out the clubs and the balls. As I became 10 or 12, I started working in the arcade. The next transition was 16 working in the Dairy Queen and that was all in addition to helping with the motel, running linens or cleaning and learning maintenance from our guys that were in charge of that.”

His is a true story of working your way up from the bottom of the “entertainment food chain” so to speak and he not only worked hard, but was being educated on every facet of the business.

After graduating from Harrells Christian Academy, he went on to another dual role of going to college at NC State University and managing a portion of the business. He graduated in 2014 with his bachelor’s degree. Growing up a resort child, he worked, but he also realized how special it was.

“When I was growing up there were about 4 or 5 guys that we used to play ball together, swimming everyday, catching turtles and going on the boat,” he said. “Of course I would always be back at 5 o’clock to work at the putt-putt. But, being able to run around and have a dad who would allot me some tokens for the arcade, looking back it was really cool. It was my life and I didn’t know any different, but now as I’m getting older, I’m seeing how unique it is.”

Goldston was a name that dated way back into the early 1900s. Womble’s grandfather Harry Womble had an uncle named H.P. Goldston who started the marketing of the beach in 1921.

“My ancestors, the Goldston family actually founded the town of Goldston, North Carolina, which is up in the Siler City and Sanford area,” Womble said. “In the mid ‘30s my granddaddy started helping H.P. out and when H.P. passed, he left the property to my granddaddy and his brother Jack.”

In the last three or four years, according to Womble, the resort has kept most of their business ventures open all year around and although the White Lake Water Festival is big, there is the Memorial Day Weekend, the paratroopers frequent jumps into the water, outdoor concerts and the Fourth of July fireworks spectacular and pretty much through October, North Carolina lends a climate that is right for this type of business.

“Here on our property we offer 15 concerts per summer in our courtyard area, all free to the public,” Womble said. “We are also putting in a brand-new SPLASH’S FUN PARK, which is a water park for the kids, featuring “Splash” our turtle icon. It should be up by the beginning of summer and great for the kids. It’s a splash pad with a jumping pillow area. It is really gaged for kids from 2 – 12 years old.”

Womble says that he doesn’t get much free time, and for the last five years have been running all day every day projects that are just starting to come to fruition. He’s a young man raised on hard work and some call it “crazy hard work.” He does find some time to hunt as he is an avid hunter and gets out for an occasional game of golf. People that know him admit that he may be a bit of a workaholic and that he is intensely focused on his life and who he is.

“Probably 95% of who I am is Goldstons and White Lake so it’s a cool thing,” he said. “I learned from my parents and granddaddy that you’ve got to show up every day and you’ve got to commit to be here. I take pride in it. Everywhere I’m walking I’m looking to improve the place, picking up trash or trying to make things better. Whatever it takes. My family instilled that in me and since 5 years old, that’s just the work ethic you have to have around here or you’re just not going to make it.”

Single, under 35, a focused business expert who learned to live this life via his work ethic and he runs a great show. It makes you wonder just how much this hard driver can accomplish before he looks at retirement how exciting is it to think of what he is going to do to bring it to the next plateau.

Mark DeLap is a journalist, photographer and the editor and general manager of the Bladen Journal. To email him, send a message to: [email protected]

Latest article