Less than a year after graduating from TCNJ with a degree in international business, Alexander Necovski ’11, a native New Jerseyan, found himself running a hotel in Macedonia.
But it wasn’t a complete departure for Necovski, whose parents were born in the Balkan country, and wanted the family to return and start a business. When he and his father visited an aging hotel in the small town of Otesevo, they knew they’d found their investment. They’ve been managing and revitalizing the cozy Lakeview Hotel and Resort for the last three years.
“I thought it was a good chance for a change in my life,” Necovski says of his move to Macedonia. “I saw it as an opportunity to get a different kind of life experience, and I also wanted to see where my parents”—who grew up about 10 miles from the hotel—“came from.”
Built in the early 1950s by political prisoners, the hotel needed tender loving care and modernizing when the Necovskis took it over. That meant yanking up weeds and grass on the beach and carting in sand, reinvigorating the summer garden and courtyard, and updating many of the hotel’s 22 rooms.
Necovski says the work has been difficult—especially early on, when his family struggled to jump through unfamiliar legal hoops to obtain permits for even the smallest renovations. But he says it’s also been an opportunity to challenge himself and put the business theory he learned at TCNJ into practice.
“I think learning a new culture helps you grow as a person, and lets you take a look back at your life and how you were brought up,” he says. “One of the most enjoyable things about this job is meeting people from all over. You see how connected the world can be.”
Macedonia has escaped the economic trouble plaguing its neighbor, Greece, says Necovski. The country’s economy is growing, he says. And, of utmost importance to him, the hotel industry there is going strong.
“Our business has been improving steadily since year one,” says Necovski. That’s partly due to guest referrals, he says, but also due to a recent push the country’s tourism board has made to position Macedonia as a destination for adventure and active tourism. Says Necovski, “We’re situated between a lake, a mountain, and two national parks, so that’s been great for us.”