Building tradition...from root beer to homes
When Mark Wallschlaeger, owner-developer of Hacienda Del Rio, was just a small boy, his father, Bill, had root beer stand on the outskirts of Rockford, Illinois.
Little did they know it then, but what was soon to happen at the root beer stand would eventually lead Mark to the banks of the Indian River in Florida, 40 years later, and to the dream of building the finest manufactured home community in the land.
Started in the early 1940's, the little root beer stand grew in popularity. People came from all over for that old fashioned root beer taste.
One night some folks with a trailer asked if it'd be all right if they stayed all night. Bill passed an extension cord out the window to them and charged a small fee.
Soon others followed suit. Before long it got so popular Mark found himself helping his dad develop 60 permanent camping sites plus a bath house and laundry on the property.
Following this they developed another park on nearby property with 65 sites. Subsequently, they developed a 400 space mobile home community, also in Rockford.
Mark worked his way up in the company from doing set-ups to management and selling and finally into ownership.
In 1976 Mark Wallschlaeger decided to come to Florida and invest in a mobile home park of his own. He purchased Hacienda Village in Winter Springs, near Orlando. The park was about half filled then. Over the next four years he added over 300 homes to fill the park.
His next challenge was the Forest in Lake Mary, which is a subdivision where the residents own their own lots. It is also now filled.
During these years Mark and his wife Judi were also busy raising four sons. They, like Mark's father before them, have been working their way up in the company, and now that three of them are grown and in their 20's, they are partners in the company, each specializing in a different area of responsibility.
Kevin and Randy are involved in Sales and Finance, Steven is General Manager and Brian is in Accounting.
Building a community like Hacienda Del Rio is a long and difficult task. Two years of planning and site work had already gone by before the first home was sited in May of 1987. Why would anyone want to tackle such a project? Mark answer, gladly: "There are many reasons why I chose to do this project. First, I find it very rewarding to be bringing my sons into the same business my father brought me into. Although, I must admit it has changed substantially.
"Second, over the years I believe I have learned the right way to create the kind of community people want, and I feel I can do it successfully and profitably. There is a lot of joy in providing people like these the kind of retirement dream come true Hacienda Del Rio is offering, and staying involved with it for the long term. As a family, we will be able to see the fruits of our labor for many years to come.
"Third, there is a high demand for this economical life style. I prefer to build where the demand is high instead of glutting the market with homes that are simply monuments to my ego. That is not to say Hacienda Del Rio is not attractive. But it is just as economical as it is beautiful."
Mark concluded with an open invitation to all of your who come to Florida to find the time to visit Hacienda Del Rio. There will be 740 homesites when the community is fully developed. One of them may just be right for you.
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