When it was announced that Route One Miniature Golf & Batting Cages in Saugus would close Sunday for the final time, all the attention focused on the bright orange fiberglass dinosaur that has served as its landmark for 56 years.
But hair salon and spa mogul Michael Barsamian had his eye on another oversized figure: the black fiberglass stallion stationed between holes 1 and 2.
Barsamian, of The Belgrade Group, and a partner in the $120 million commercial and residential development that will take over the site, decided he had to buy the approximately 8-foot-tall stallion after a flash of inspiration while on a recent tour of the Ferrari factory in Italy.
After seeing a statue of Ferrari’s iconic black prancing stallion symbol, Barsamian said he thought two things: “It’s beautiful,” and “That horse [at the mini-golf course] needs to go [to] Ernie Boch Jr.”
The self-proclaimed car enthusiast said the local auto magnate is a close friend and both share a love of Ferraris.
But shhh! it’s a surprise, or it will be unless Boch is reading this column.
Barsamian plans to deliver the fiberglass horse from Saugus to Boch’s Norwood mansion in the coming days.
“I was going to surprise him and convince him to put that horse in his backyard,” Barsamian said.
Barsamian bought the fiberglass stallion for an undisclosed amount from mini-golf course owner Diana Fay’s cousin, who loaned it to the course, along with a Humpty Dumpty figure, about six years ago. Barsamian plans to have it picked up sometime this week.
As to how he thinks Boch will react, Barsamian said, “He’s like family; we’re like brothers, so it’s not going to be a big deal.” —KATHELEEN CONTI
Flying in the opposite of sardine class
Marble floors. Leather sofas. Comfy beds. “Artisanal configuration.”
Nope, we’re not describing a high-end home. It’s the interior of the Embraer Legacy 450, a new corporate jet recently added to the fleet of Cleveland-based Flexjet, the country’s second-largest fractional-ownership jet company (NetJets, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, is the industry leader).
Flexjet’s vice president of sales, Matt Doyle, and regional sales director, Andrew Mearns, were at Hanscom Field in Bedford this week to do a show-and-tell of the eight-seat aircraft. Massachusetts is the first stop in Flexjet’s 41-airport nationwide tour.
Why Massachusetts? Because it’s steeped in millionaires (sixth in the United States last year in millionaire density, according to the research firm Phoenix Marketing International), it has a dozen residents on this year’s Forbes Billionaires List, and posh vacation spots like Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard create high demand for private jet travel.
As for which current and prospective clients stopped by Hanscom to ogle the jet, Doyle was mum. “One of the benefits of flying privately is we certainly respect owners’ privacy,” he said, “so I can’t give you any” names. But he did say typical customers are high-net-worth individuals and families, employees of Fortune 1000 companies, and entrepreneurs.
The cost of all that luxury: $1 million for a 1/16th “share” of the plane, which entitles the owner to 50 hours of flying per year. —SACHA PFEIFFER
Brewers trade one Rob for another
The Massachusetts Brewers Guild, an industry group representing the state’s 130-plus craft breweries, has a new president: Rob Burns, the 31-year-old cofounder of Everett’s rapidly expanding Night Shift Brewing.
Burns is taking the reins from Rob Martin of Ipswich Ale Brewery, who led the group for six years. Martin will stay on as the brewers’ political lobbyist — licensing and franchise reforms are sure to remain hot issues on Beacon Hill, where Martin is a familiar face. Burns, meanwhile, will work to bolster the Guild’s promotional efforts.
“The guild’s mission is to protect and promote state’s breweries,” Burns explained. “Rob [Martin] did a great job protecting breweries, but we’ve fallen off with the promoting, and that’s where my strengths lie.”
To that end, Burns hired PR and marketing whiz Katie Stinchon to be the group’s first executive director. On her agenda: drafting a comprehensive list of every craft brewery in Massachusetts, signing up more breweries as members, and improving the Guild’s events. Burns also said he wants to create a cohesive brand image that represents the state’s robust craft scene and long history of brewing.
Our suggestion for a slogan? “Massachusetts: Brewing beer since before America was a thing.” —DAN ADAMS
It’s not Vegas, but Wellesley will do
Gary Loveman finally has a normal commute again.
The former Caesars Entertainment chief executive famously declined to move when he was hired away from Harvard Business School in 1998 to be chief operating officer at the company then known as Harrah’s Entertainment.
The long “commute” to Las Vegas continued for years; Loveman maintained his Wellesley residence while working at the casino company.
He left the chief executive’s job at Caesars Entertainment last summer — he remains the board chairman — and then took a top job at health insurer Aetna.
Aetna, of course, is based in Hartford — a shorter commute than Vegas, but still not ideal.
So Loveman, an Aetna executive president and head of its Consumer Health and Services group, found space at the Wellesley Gateway office complex on Route 9 for himself and his senior team, Aetna spokesman T.J. Crawford said.
Aetna’s merger proposal with Kentucky-based Humana has helped fuel speculation that the insurer could relocate its corporate headquarters from its longtime Connecticut home. But that merger is being challenged on antitrust grounds by the US Department of Justice.
A headquarters decision isn’t expected until after that issue gets resolved.
At least Loveman knows where his office will be. Route 9 can get pretty miserable at rush hour.
But after all the traveling he’s done in the past two decades, he probably won’t be doing much complaining. —JON CHESTO
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