For 35 years the Villa Bianca in Seymour has hosted thousands of weddings and banquets.
Now, the owner is looking for new blood to give his business a boost, and he’s using an essay contest to pick a new owner.
Owner Tony Mavuli called the contest “Win your Dream Life,” because his was to build a successful business.
However, he said his children are not interested in taking over the business so he is looking for someone to continue what he started.
"I want to keep this place going forever, because it is what I built, it was my dream,” Mavuli said.
He’s using a sweepstakes and an essay contest to select a new owner, with the winner getting the 9-acre wedding empire he built along Route 34 in Seymour.
The 300 word essay would share a vision for the Villa Bianca’s future.
"It breaks my heart, but before I get too old and the place is still in the best of shape, I want to pass it along, offer it to the right people,” Mavuli said.
The main banquet facility has three ballrooms, a 200-seat chapel, an inn with 16 hotel rooms, a stand-alone restaurant that is currently rented, along with a 4,000 square foot home on the property.
The new owner would also get $100,000 to start the business with.
"The sweepstakes is very simple. You have very little to lose and a lot to gain,” Mavuli said.
It costs $1,000 to enter and he said he’s hoping for a minimum of 7,500 entries, which would bring in $7.5 million for the property.
A trust has been set up to run the contest with independent judges picking the winning essay.
Mavuli said business is good, with more than 200-plus events per year.
He added that brides-to-be already booked don’t have to worry. As part of the contest rules, Mavuli will be around to help during the transition.
He said the contest opens it up for more people who normally wouldn’t be able to afford it to enter
"Not just selling it to a businessman. Now everybody has a chance,” Mavuli said.
The deadline to enter is Dec. 15.
According to the rules, if they don’t get the minimum number of entries, it will be up to Mavuli on whether or not to proceed.
If not, everyone gets their entry fee back.
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