Published by the Orlando Business Journal on September 28, 2012
Vito Badalamenti, owner, Loft 55
Vito Badalamenti is shaking things up. A trend-savvy and well-traveled businessman, Badalamenti is determined to bring a more sophisticated atmosphere to the currently youth-dominated nightclub scene in downtown Orlando.
Beginning his business career at age 22, Badalamenti opened Sol y Luna Tanning. But what thrust him into the nightclub business was the popular hot spot Roxy Orlando, where he helped redefine its VIP section. That job inspired him to put his business know-how to use, and his next endeavor was opening Bliss Ultra Lounge on Church Street, which has a slightly more upscale vibe than other downtown clubs.
Now, Badalamenti’s latest project, Loft 55, slated to open the first week of October at 55 W. Church St. With a modern rustic, comfortable vibe (and opening at 4 p.m. — much earlier than other locations in the area), Loft 55 plans to target business professionals looking to get a bite to eat with a colleague or enjoy a few cocktails and watch the game before going home to wind down from a busy day at work.
Hometown: Manalapan, N.J.
Education: Bachelor’s in health sciences,University of Central Florida
First job: My grandparents owned a marina and gas dock on the Jersey Shore. I worked there during the summer, filling boats with gas.
Little-known fact: I’m extremely shy, but I also have an adventurous side. I’ve jumped out of planes, bungee jumped and played college football.
Basic philosophy: I always go by my 3 C’s:
customer service, cleanliness and consistency. It is essential that the customer have the best experience possible, that they feel special in a clean, welcoming environment, and that this experience never wavers.
Best way to stay competitive: Keep evolving, changing, staying fresh and knowing what the trends are.
Best advice received: My father always told me, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” Make sure you speak up.
Goal yet to be achieved: I would like to take this new concept for nightlife to several different areas.
Lessons learned: Be upfront and honest.
What keeps me awake at night: Getting this place open
If I could pick any other job, I’d be: A Major League baseball player for the New York Yankees
Something that makes me neurotic: When I have to repeat myself a bunch of times
I’d like to visit: My grandparents are from Sicily, so I really would like to go there and see where they grew up.
I’ve always wanted to learn: To surf
Favorite place to eat: Matteo’s Italian Restaurant
Vacation hotspot: The Greek islands
Favorite band: Alice in Chains