Lotus Group Invests in Warrensburg with Multiple Ventures: Meet Ash Anand
Eleven years ago, entrepreneur and investor Ash Anand and his wife were trying to decide whether to settle in Southern California or Upstate New York. They soon realized that the notion of a big fish in a small pond is not lost on people in this area and they saw voids in the economy that they knew their businesses could fill. These business opportunities and room for growth paired with the safety of the community led Ash and his wife to Warrensburg where they now live, work, and raise their family.
Let’s learn more about Ash’s umbrella company, Lotus Group of Companies, and what drew him to live and work in Warren County, specifically Warrensburg. Here are his answers to our questions.
Tell us about your multiple ventures.
Lotus Group of Companies an enterprise that hosts a variety of different business types and services. We see what’s missing from the community and fill the holes.
Currently, we have two restaurants (The Grist Mill & Ashes Pub/Ocho Cinco Cantina), an auto repair shop (Lotus Auto Xperts), two Napa stores (Chestertown & Warrensburg), home & apartment rental properties (Ash Real Estate Holdings), and Lotus Analytics which is housed in the historic “Bird House” building in Warrensburg. Our analytics business operates on a global scale but has so many services and products to offer the small businesses right in our backyard, we provide the “back office” solutions so that these businesses can get back to doing what they love, interacting with their guests and focusing on the products they offer.
Diversity is a key focus for the Lotus Group, leading by example, guiding people into unknown territories, all of this widens the concept of what else can we be doing. Many of our businesses reside in older buildings as preserving history is very important to Lotus, we like to take these properties and restore them back to their original historic value. It doesn’t bring just us a sense of satisfaction but the entire community appreciates their restoration and continued value.
All of our businesses are managed by local folks from the North Country with a variety of backgrounds and accomplishments, we have been fortunate to rely on their expertise and strong work ethics to maintain our position in the workplace. Our overall commitment to success and our “people” are what make the Lotus Group what it is today.
After exploring other areas in Warren County, Warrensburg quickly came to our attention as it’s the gateway to the Adirondacks and that’s what spiked our interest in the town specifically.
Warrensburg has always been considered a pass-through town, and we knew we could help change that concept. There were considerable opportunities for growth here and a need for more jobs. Our thought was “why should people have to look far away for work?”
Not only is there beauty here, there was so much potential.
Is there any aspect of Warren County that you can’t find anywhere else?
HISTORY. Our love for history is what makes this area so special. It attracts tourists from all over that get to experience the beauty that surrounds us, the good people that live here, and the opportunities if you look in the right places.
My wife is from Johnstown, so we had a basic idea of the area, but Warren County exclusively offers so much more to us than the surrounding communities.
How have you been handling the pandemic?
The pandemic has affected our businesses like anyone else in the area, we had to move staff around and adjust the way we managed our day to day operations. Fortunately, we were able to keep most businesses open during the initial shutdown time, but more importantly, we were able to OPEN THEM ALL BACK UP once things settled down in the summer.
With numbers rising again we are focusing on our employee’s safety and health while figuring out how to continue effectively and safely servicing our customers. Being faced with daily Covid challenges has shown us how dedicated our team is to the success of Lotus. Many of our businesses were and still are considered “essential” so we will continue to focus on how we can adapt to keep them all open and thriving.
What would you say to an investor or entrepreneur who is thinking about moving to Warren County?
You’re not just investing in the property, you’re investing in the people, in the community. Come feel the beauty, you’ll find purpose and drive in this area, you have to touch it to feel it. Don’t let the negatives outweigh the positives, you will always see the positives on the brighter side.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
You have to try in order to succeed. Never giving up and finding focus in your failures have allowed me to create the diversified enterprise that Lotus is today. Being an example that others want to follow and leaving footprints for others to pick up in will always remain a goal for me, it can only help with the success of our entire community.
The driving force of my children watching, learning, and being able to replicate these attributes is a key driving force to my commitment locally. Showing them how hard work and dedication to the community should always be a key value. Creating more jobs has always been a center of focus for Lotus, presently we have three more opportunities in the works, as we continue to add to our list of businesses. We are very excited for what the future holds.
Kate Belden, Lotus Group’s Director of Communications and Hospitality adds:
Ash has always been committed to our community, he has contributed to multiple local programs for children, many of them education-based and providing after school care at no cost to parents. He started Smalltales, a licensed daycare center that focuses on early childhood classes and development. Smalltales is now run as an NPO with several other community members serving on the board to keep affordable and qualified childcare options available in our area.
Ash has served several terms on the Warrensburg school board where 3 of his children currently attend. The Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Warren Washington County Workforce boards are his most recent additions to contributing to the growth and success of our area.
Ash donates to local scholarships and has been a contributor to Children International for years. It’s inspiring to see how giving back to our local communities can really make such a difference, whether its public service, financial or economic leadership, Ash has proven that if you lead by example, others will follow.