Welcome to another inspiring episode of the Palm Harbor Local Podcast! In this episode, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Rick Nassenstein, a remarkable entrepreneur who shared his incredible journey toward achieving remarkable success in his business ventures. Prepare to be inspired as Rick takes us through the highs and lows of his path, emphasizing the invaluable lessons he learned about the significance of unwavering determination and relentless hard work.
As we delve into Rick’s story, one thing becomes abundantly clear: his local brewery has become a beloved gem in the community. Through sheer consistency, calculated risks, and an unwavering work ethic, Rick has transformed his dreams into a thriving reality. Join us as we explore the secrets behind his triumph and unravel the wisdom he has gained along the way.
Tune in to this episode of the Palm Harbor Local Podcast and discover how Rick Nassenstein’s journey serves as a shining example of what can be accomplished through perseverance, resilience, and a true passion for one’s craft. Get ready to be motivated and inspired by his incredible story!
Listen to the podcast episode here!
Welcome to the podcast. Thank you. I’m excited to chat with you. We’ve obviously just been chatting a little bit and that sort of stuff. But your business, Nautidog is new to downtown Palm Harbor. Let’s start there and just kind of talk about your concept and your ideas with the Nautidog.
Okay. So the idea. It’s kind of morphed a bit, but we bought it. It was Palm Harbor Brewery, two lines winery. And so our original idea was to open up the building, which we’ve done. Now we’re going to add, we have 21 taps. So we’re trying to do very high-end taps that you wouldn’t just get anywhere. We have wine slushies. So we started with two which were done with the previous business. And we’ve expanded that to six. We’re going to start doing some more flavored stuff. I mean, we have some core wide ones, like a peach, believe me, sangria. We’re going to try and do we have an Audi mocha on already. Okay. And we are having we’re close with a key lime pie one.
So we’re going to do some unique flavors on that. Offer that and then the front of our space will be more of a small dessert room where we’re going to have gelato and we’ll have some other items maybe some macaroons or some cookies, some complimentary items, just in case somebody doesn’t want ice cream, but they want something sweet. Sure. And then also have a coffee machine just for those who would like to have coffee for dessert.
Nice. So it’s kind of kind of expanding on like what the previous business like Harbor Brewery, right?
Yes, yep. Yeah.
And you’re keeping the wine slushies, which I know we’re a big hit. So that’s, that’s good.
We might expand to be a Brewery again. Okay. It’s just the way that we’re trying to get the core right. And then if we can, if we can add something like that, I would love to have five or six of our own that we’re doing at some point. But as of right now, our first year is just going to be focused on guest taps are slushies and then bringing in desserts down the road. When we get approved, hopefully within six months, we’re going to add a Smashburger trailer. Okay, sounds like it was just a little 10 feet so we can do some smash burgers and hotdogs and some other kind of staples, that’s nice. And then we’re gonna build out a little stage area so we can just do light acoustic music just seeing a single nothing, no big bands that are usually covered by the Bogota group. They have their live bands. We don’t have black hotkeys tomorrow and maybe no filter.
Oh, cool. Thanks.
Today. Is it Friday?
It is Friday Today’s Friday? Okay.
So we’ll probably do some space out there there’ll be shaded and will complement either our live music and acoustic basis or the band’s if people want to come over and enjoy something that we have because there’s a lot of overflow there because they don’t have a lot of space. For a lot of some of the big bigger bands. So it’s more of a listening area where they can enjoy our items and so that’s kind of the design for the space we’re limited with it but we’re trying to get maximize the most that we can out of it
I mean it’s location wise it’s cool, and like you said the space is it’s smaller than it’s small for a business and to try to get people in there but you’re in downtown Palm Harbor which is great and growing like we were just talking about? Why get into this business? Do you have any experience in owning a restaurant or brewery or anything like that before?
So why (did you choose this business?)
Because it sounded like a good challenge. So I think I mean, I’ve done a small donut business on a farmers market basis, which was a fun blast doing that. So I’ve done, that’s really my only food business than I’ve ever done. For me, it was about kind of seeing an opportunity with other partners that I have, that they had needs. And so I kind of recognized the building, I always saw that kind of area being underutilized. Based on the design we had. Prior to that, we had an iron oak barbecue in the Bogota spot, and then we had the two lines.
So I think I would drive over there and be like, Wow, what a quiet spot, but what a good location to expand on, and then Bogota has come in and done some things that have added some foot traffic certainly as a full-time restaurant and the bands and, and the branches that they do. And now, if we can do something else, that kind of adds another reason to come over to Georgia Avenue instead of just to Florida, Florida, Nebraska area that then, then we have another nice little place to go. That might offer something a little different than the other side of town, which isn’t that far away.
Both within the same night, two blocks away. So if you don’t like one thing or the other. I think it’s funny. We were just about parking being an issue in Dunedin kind of the same thing, like that’s always, always seems to be an issue in these little downtown areas. As for me, I enjoy walking, right? So like when we talk about downtown Palm Harbor, it’s not very big. So you could park on one side of town and walk to the other side in a couple of minutes. I usually park at the backside of NautiDog and I just walk right over. Go to all the other ones.
There you go. So let’s jump into your previous experience. So you’ve owned businesses before starting the business and sold businesses. How did you get started? What was the first business you got into and how did you get started in that?
Well, I started off as a CPA. And then I went into public accounting for like five years, and then I shifted over to a medical company and became their CFO. And then over time, I’ve just done various different businesses. I did the donut. I’ve been remodeling homes and didn’t remodel for that I’ve done I’ve had involvement in the medical business, and I became the owner of that. And landscape company.
Was it purchased?
Very similar, I had no landscape landscaping experience, but how hard is a mall on? But again, I had a business partner that had a need and I felt like I could assist and help grow it and that’s kind of where I feel like I’m kind of honed in on what I’m good at is just identifying, partnering with the right person wants to do the detailed work and like the day-to-day and like I can do more of the expansion vision stuff to where a picture where I’m running the numbers, I can see kind of those things.
It’s interesting. So your background as a CPA, you’re analytical you like numbers, you enjoy that side of it, but then you also have like, the visionary aspect of like, big picture where is this company going? I feel like those two types don’t mix. Right? It’s either like big picture vision and then like, the details and numbers like I leave that to somebody else.
No, I was I did at the beginning. And I got that experience. So I think that combined with a lot of the people I know that are CPAs that I’m friends with and like they’re very still analytical and detailed and it’s tough.
What do you think switched for you? Is it just like, wasn’t the first business you got into like that medical business?
I don’t know. Now, I think it was more than I just jumped out and did remodeling of homes was one of those moments like in two like 2008 I was like, I was a challenge like I really want to do it and then all sudden, I just did it. And I didn’t have any experience. Do I just Learn it all? And then I don’t know just I always had that side of me there’ll because even when I walk into a new place a home right now I’m like, I’m looking at like, what it could be. And I look at the structural stuff and some of the basics as well. But I’m always looking at like, I’m moving around and walls around in this round. So I think I always had that.
So as grown up, you felt like you had that. I wasn’t creative at all, though. No, no, no, it wasn’t. It wasn’t. I did. I did play the piano. Okay. But now, I don’t know. It’s just something with business. I love it. Like the fact that it’s like the movie Accountant, where I’m always like, I’m looking at this stuff. I’m looking at the data I love. I love data. And I’d be like, okay, but if you take that data, and you make these changes, and you would increase your bottom line or profit, or whatever you’re doing.
So I don’t know that there was a moment. But I remember that a big moment for me was getting that first time it was small like 30,000. And me and my ex-father-in-law, like winning on it together and dived in and then did that one. And then I did a bigger one after that, then it’s a bigger one. After that I just progressed into what I have today, which is I’ve done it now for 15 years, and wow. I don’t know. I don’t know how many times I’ve done it, but probably 20 to 30 times.
So it was just that taking that first step and then getting into it and, and doing that. And then the donut business was just the thing I told you before that was just because I was really upset but the one guy was doing it so wrong. And I’m like, I could do this. So watch this. And then like, one month later, here I am. Different farmers market. It was a lot of fun. I enjoyed it. But so that’s, that’s another side of me is I’m I can get competitive in a good way. I think it drives me. It wasn’t like, I mean, I parked my tent right next to him. I’m like, Man, I’m just gonna do it. I’m gonna go do it somewhere else.
I prove that I can do it. So I did that. And then I don’t know. After that, I focus on medicine a lot like in the last 2016 through 20. I focus a lot on that and trying to get that right. And we expanded that from what started off as like, five people to 150 by the time I think so. Okay, good size, located everywhere. Great technology. It’s just warts time for me. It’s like, I mean, I love the fact that I loved it. But health care isn’t always about health care. And then once it started shifting from my focusing on patient care, and like, growing and being with interacting with employees all the time, it was more like, you gotta happen this meeting. I can’t do this forever. So I did as long as I could. And then I just had to step back. And then focus on my new things. Sure.
What do you think there when you first decided to buy that first home? Was it the market? Do you think that kind of like, aided and pushed you in that direction? Or like, where did that edge kind of come from? Do you have any idea?
Well, my parent, my dad always worked on a rental property. Oh, an app. So I always helped him with that. So that’s kind of the I saw that extra income, like, that’s kind of our way that way to build long-term value and short-term income was to get in. And then I think the market did help, though. Because that was just after whatever they call the market crash. Danny. So that house was, but the house was in the middle of Wisconsin, but it certainly helped and made it affordable to where I was, when my savings when I could invest at the time to be able to do it. That was always it. Why do you do that?
What do you enjoy about growing the business? Or growing a business, right?
I don’t know. I mean, I enjoy just seeing it come together. I enjoy the like people like that. Come together with it. So I don’t know.
It’s always the people. I mean, that’s what I love. I like it’s why I do the remodeling. It’s not about I mean, I love the design part, but the people that I work with, and for them, it’s very meaningful for them where they’re at. And so it gives them some full-time employment and helps them provide for what they need. And like, I just have great relationships with all of them. And on the medical side, it was always that I love going on the road and meeting the people and the patients, and just that’s what I do now.
Still, like I’m about to leave on an RV trip for the summer. And it’s going to be I’m going to do some awesome hikes, but at lunches and other places, wherever I meet people on the top of a mountain. Plenty of times. And, I love meeting people and hearing their stories. I’m, like, my passion is like autobiographies, like just hearing somebody tell me their story. And if I could sit down next to somebody and say I forgot the line. I said the other day, but like, just like, what, what? Tell me your story.
So you enjoy connecting?
I feel like a lot of owners, a lot of small business people could benefit from that, right? Just having that mindset of just building relationships with your employees, which then, in turn, helps them build a relationship with the customer and helps your business.
Absolutely, I think I just that was one of the conversations I had on Wednesday, where that it went in a direction where a group of people started talking because they overheard us, and then they started talking about how, like, they really liked working for this place. But the owner didn’t get it like that owner. Not I won’t say that owner knew how to make a pizza. But they didn’t know how to, like, may interact with other people.
And so that part, I think, is when somebody feels like they’re part of something and you’re doing everything you can to help them make their job easier than I was at the pig last night, I just popped in the Arizona pig, when they were just talking about like how the like all of them were working together. And then at one point, it’s like, we’re a team like I help her, she helps me. That’s how we get this done, right? It’s like, but that all comes from the top, which is Miss Bobby who lives next to me.
She started it, she comes in almost every day. And she’s got great people that have been there for a long time. And like, then they’re bringing in the next kind of generation of people and they all work together and all care about each other. And like that’s if you can create a culture and an environment in that in a business setting in your small business, then those people will do anything for you.
And I would do anything for them, which is very I would say, That’s everybody who works for me, and like the remodel and like, they just know that I would do anything for them. And if I ask them to do anything, I know, they would say yes, because that’s just, that’s the relationship we’ve created. And I think it’s essential to do that.
Because of the connection and having that it’s like family at that point, right?
Do the right. And I think to like, you, you seem like you’re hands-on, right? Like you’re in the business. Like even though you may be one of the owners, but you’re there day to day doing some of the same jobs they’re doing to right, so that was a lot of weight.
So I got the text last night from Nikki was working the bar last night. He’s like the electrics out in front. And he’s just having some other problem too. Oh, he had two beers. He didn’t know because we usually have a change list for a reason. Health really right. Like, it didn’t get updated. I don’t know what to change here. So I drove up there right after it stopped raining and I put the ladder up and I fix all the electrical and I put everything on tap and we updated everything took like 20 minutes.
But that’s why I was there but ‘ll do that there. I’m ready to work the shift on Saturday if that person the health. If he can’t run the full time I’ll I’ll run in there and I’ll work it two or three, four hours whenever I need to do for the business. And then from idle like I’ve just been demoing the, the ugliest smelliest cat house I’ve ever been in in my life. So it’s fun but it’s because my main guy doesn’t like cats. So I’ll do it. I’ll take you He does everything under the sun. So I know, like, that stinks. I’ll be like, I’ll go in there and I I’ve been. I demoed the whole thing. It was wretched.
And that carries a lot of weight. Right? Like when the people that you’ve hired, they see you putting in the work like that. And they’re like, man, well, I gotta do I gotta step my game up to.
Absolutely. I’ve had many times with people that said, like that, especially in reality. I’ll go in there and jump in there. Do the work if I have to. Most of them be like, no, no, you shouldn’t be doing the work. I’m like, I’ll do the work. I don’t care. that doesn’t bother me. I’m at. I enjoy the work. Stopped beneath me at all I like to do it as reconnects me with what the hell they’re doing every day. It’s hard work.
Do you think that is like that trait is like, you’re just kind of given that trait? Or it’s like a learned skill?
No, it’s a learned skill. Because I know other people have that same. have the same kind of walk as I’ve had? And they don’t have that at all. They’re not. They’re not willing to dive in and be like, No, that’s why I pay them. Not going to do it. So I would say it’s very much learned. But it’s a learned behavior. It was. upbringing, it’s a lot of different things. But if you never had money, I think you can appreciate that journey. And like, I didn’t, I didn’t come from, like, a wealthy background at all.
My dad worked his butt off as a mechanic my mom was blessed enough to work there. And once I went to high school, she took side jobs. And then I worked in high school, so I could save enough money for college, which I didn’t, I worked my entire college career I worked like, and I did have fun, too. But I worked. freshmen, sophomores. Every year, I worked two years, I would work 50 hours a week and still go to school and do all that stuff. So I just think that never nothing was ever given to me. And I’m grateful for what I’ve been blessed with.
How do you think you handle that? Like, if you have money, like raising kids?
Interesting question. I don’t know. Because it’s like you’re growing up, you have a family too. And yes and it’s like, you want to have money and these, like, the freedom to do these things. So that your kids and family can live freely and do whatever it is, right? But there’s also like, the flip side of that, too. It’s like if you’re brought up with the money there’s that difficulty in raising them to understand. Like the value and hard work and certain things like that, that are important in life.
Yeah, as they become adults.
I agree with you. 100%. It’s very difficult. But the joy is in the effort of doing it, and like it’s, it’s sad if you get that taken away from you and just said, Hey, Oh, here you go. Here’s Benjamin. and I look at my daughter, and I think she’s of the age. She’s almost 15 now and so it’s, she’s a little entitled, like, and I’ve tried not to do that. I’ve tried to always even the other day, on the way to school, I said like in high school, you got to do everything. Make your own food. Like I’ve tried to prep them. You’re not getting squat for me. I always they know that. Something happened to me tomorrow. I’m giving it all away. We got Mom still like them. You might but you’re not getting it from me. You better learn how to work. Because it makes your own. I just think that’s the if you steal that away from somebody, like doing the work and that achievement
Maybe it’s like you’re focused on it seems like you enjoy the process of building a business, right, and not the outcome of selling the business or reaching this monetary goal.
Yes, absolutely. I mean, if I can say I see things differently, I just don’t money is never the reason for me, even when I didn’t have much money. He’s still even a CPA. Just wasn’t like I worked the first year to pay off all my student loans and then I had my car right. And then I was very, it’s very again, I’m very strategic and been planning and then I don’t know. I just, I don’t view a lot of people So your money, but I just don’t value it.
So where did that come from? Like your parents and like watching your dad work? Like where does that come from?
I don’t know. I’ve read a lot of books. My autobiographies, I think, I think generally, I don’t sound airy. I just I have that. It’s to me. It’s wisdom. It’s the wisdom of knowing what’s of true value. I could see so many people just chasing money and not doing what they love just because of that, right? I’m seeing enough of it. So I don’t know, I would say mostly, I mean, I had a good upbringing. In that regard. I wasn’t like, we didn’t have I lived up North. But we didn’t have air conditioning. We didn’t have like, certain things that my kids are like, this high here. right. But I never had that. So part of it is coming from that for sure. And they’ve instilled that hard work and that kind of stuff. But I just think about life.
Life has thrown me a couple of curveballs and made me appreciate things differently. And I feel like I read, I do read good books. I’ve met just a lot of people. And I like to ask well, I like when I’m on the road. If I can meet older people, I just love to ask them like what would you give her? Some time? What young will little whippersnapper like me? Advice? And like what? Life is? What would you do differently? Or what are you happiest about?
And I don’t know, I, I feel like, again, the fact that I can travel and just, that’s how I use my time and to meet new people and things like that just further reinforces some of the stuff that I already believe. And I learned so many other new things from people that I’m pretty dumb when it comes to math. And like my daughter. She’s in eighth grade and a lot of that stuff. I don’t understand. So that like, from a technical student from details and technicals. I’m not very intelligent. I just feel from like, human interaction I I’ve had, I’ve been blessed with a lot of good ones. Very open-minded.
So I think that’s one thing I’ve learned kind of to the podcast, too, is I’ve really enjoyed just being able to connect with a lot of people and just have different conversations right about this kind of stuff. And you sent me Joe Rogan’s podcast with Williamson or something? What’s his name? I can’t remember his podcast, modern wisdom. Yes. But what’s his name?
I think it’s Brian Williamson.
Is that what it is? I say as I listened to that podcast, and they kind of talked about that, too, of just having conversations with so many different people. Chris Williams and Chris Williams.
And I think Chris Williamson was, he used to be the like, he’s like a club promoter.
Right. And so they have the segment in there, which I think is just absolute money. It’s one of my favorite things in the world where they talk about, they’ve been, he’s been to where all these people want to get to. And people think that there’s value in that. But he’s learned that there’s no value in it.
The value in it is because it’s, it’s hard to achieve. But that doesn’t mean that when you get there, it’s worth the effort. And all the time because there’s it’s not right. If you’re faced with cancer, or you’re faced with a severe head injury, or you’re faced with losing my mom, like other things, it’s like, money doesn’t really matter at that point. So that that segment that they have that where they’re talking about that is just it’s a great segment to me, because it’s like, a lot of people chase being the router, right, the pretty girls, all these other things, because they think there’s there’s value in it.
And it’s really not just because it’s hard to get doesn’t mean it’s valuable. It just means it’s hard to get right. If you want to put the work in, go get it, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be any happier. Or at the point you really want. Right, right. Some of them some people, a lot of people do it just because other people are doing it. Right. Right. That’s it’s the world that we live in. But I don’t think I think that’s a great segment there. Which is why I love it. And I follow them a little bit.
They’ve got a couple of great podcasts. Obviously, they don’t need a plug or anything like that.
No, they don’t. But to your point as a podcaster, I feel like I listen to Joe Rogan a lot when he has an interesting topic. Because I feel like Joe Rogan I thought I knew it 1520 years ago, this guy is so much more knowledgeable and passionate about so many things because he’s had so many one on one inner human interactions where he can learn directly from somebody who knows what they’re talking about are very experienced in that matter. And when you do that, like, I don’t know, it just connects with you a little bit every time and I retain a lot more from that. For sure. It’s reading.
Reading I think you’re more like we’re having a conversation here. We don’t have our phones on, right? So it’s like, you’re more engaged. You’re more present. And this one on one conversation? Yes and that sort of stuff. Even then, like listening to a podcast, right? You still like I listen to podcasts and I’m driving my car. Right.
This morning.My bike out to all springs. And I listened to an audible this morning. But a lot of times it’s podcast, and, and then it’s like, oh, there’s a squirrel.
There’s so much value in these conversations. It’s cool. It’s very cool. Alright, so what? Let’s circle back to the Nautidog like what do you what do you see the future there? Like, what’s your big picture there?
The big picture is I just want to keep it a nice quaint little place. I like this acute acoustic sounds like that’s just I just want like a chill environment where I’m not trying to, like, expand it. I might do I think I talked to you about doing the tree house up above. Oh. Where you can catch a sunset. And I really need to get everything downstairs. 100%. Eventually, if I can get county approval, I would love to do just a little tree house up above it. So that you have another little quiet place to go. You could see the sunset, you could see the ocean from there.
And, enjoy whatever your guilty pleasure is, whether it’s dessert, or glass of wine, or wine slushie, or a cold beer, and you can just go up there. And have a nice little spot. So that maybe three, three to four years down the road because of county restrictions. On the main level, it’s just creating a nice family-friendly atmosphere where you don’t have to could bring your kids and not worry about them running off. Certainly, I mean, create safe space, but then just that being around and I think enjoying some adult time while they’re playing. Hanging out do their own thing. Just a nice chill little vibe like that. Where we hopefully have 2040 people on a regular basis coming in to enjoy it for a little while.
I love that. One thing I want to wrap up with is you’re kind of new to the area. Right? You’ve been here for a few years now or August 2018. So he has seen so almost five years. So when you’re when you’re not working? What do you like? Where do you like to go? Where’s your if there’s a local business that you like to go to? Or a local park beach? Where are you going? Got one spot?
Have one spot probably Wall Springs. I love biking a wall springs for sure. Like so that’s kind of my weekly thing at least just sitting out there. It’s nice and quiet.
Do you go back on the new trail like back in?
I always end up and I just sit out there. I got a recumbent bike too. So I take that and then I can just, I sit out there and just relax for a while and then head back. So if it’s physical like that, I definitely love wall springs. I think it’s a nice quiet place where there’s not a lot of traffic. Did you?
Have you been to\ they have like the new addition. Right? And then there’s like the other parking lot. I think it’s a new parking lot. I didn’t know that. There were trails back in there like in the woods.
That’s the main trail that I go. So you can come to the main entry trail. there’s a paved trail to the right. And it goes all the way to the ocean. And then there’s, there’s like unpaved trails, like back in the woods there. I never realized that until it was probably a couple of months ago, but never ventured.
I said short trials. But going down to the water’s great. Perfect spot!
But I love the bike path. So that’s where I’m at like, yes, Wednesday I went to Dunedin. So I usually take one day, a week where I’ll go either to Dunedin and just, I ended up at Lucky Lobster. I went to Caledonia and Kevin Cenro quickened and headed home and that was my day off because I don’t want my kids on Wednesday or Thursday.
So I usually pick one of those days. And then the other day I’ll go up to the tarp and same thing, grab some good food and go to hours of hours. And then I’ll just bum bum bum around there kind of I know people everywhere because I kind of do those trips enough to where I’d say so I love that and then I try to get to St. Pete at least. Oh once a month but usually turns into every other month. I love downtown San Pete
That’s a cool spot it’s it’s so cool that you can just hop on the trail and just cruise down to like done even though we’ve done the same thing right and you and being a barber I think it’s perfect, right? Because you get you to get the best of all three of those Danny’s not far Tarpons not far.
I think the one thing that I’ve never been on was the jolly trolley ah and nice did it like I need some of my niece’s come down and she did it and she said I just do the power chamber just said the pub crawl is it tonight or it might have been yesterday might be but I was like actually be gone my habit on that and just go she just went to Clearwater Beach. Just hop back took 20 minutes. And I’m like, I could just go down there, grab some dinner and hang out for a little while and just take it right back. I think it’s two bucks. Never done it. Something I should I gotta do but they do have a jolly trolley. brewery one now has like three of them that they’ve decked out and put wrappings on that just go to like 20 different breweries. Okay, that I need that way. But I’ve heard that. That’s one thing that I would definitely want to try that I’ve never done since I’ve been down here.
The jolly trolley hadn’t one of the directions. That’s cool. Super cool. Well, awesome.
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