Business launching from Santorini
Petros Nomikos is a businessman of the world coming from Santorini. Travelling non-stop to London, Athens and America, he has given life to a range of projects –in some of them Greece and Santorini being the starting point and in others the ultimate recipient. In the island of his ancestors, Petros Nomikos got inspired and set up Greece Debt Free (greecedebtfree.org), an NGO aiming at reducing the Greek debt.
Furthermore, he set up the Santozeum Museum in Fira, and used raw materials of the Theraic volcanic soil to produce Volkan Beer, which is consumed at world famous places like Restaurant Petrus of G. Ramsay in London. ‘Volkan Beer and Santozeum have been developed to help Greece be repositioned as a top destination with high-quality products’. Being the Vice President of the Thera Petros M. Nomikos FoundationPetros Nomikos comes from a shipowner family that have always been helping the island at difficult times. Petros Nomikos never forgets his roots and visits his homeland as frequently as possible to listen to life stories narrated by Mr. Theodosis in Mesaria, who takes care of his great grandfather’s canava (traditional wine cellar).
Read the interview with Mr P. Nomikos
Mr Nomikos, a man of your power decides to invest in his homeland, the island of Santorini. You gave us the Volkan Beer and Santozeum, when you are already involved with the Thera Foundation. What made you take the decision to launch these products and cultural organizations?
My family has supported Santorini by gifting, earthquake relief, roads, schools, medical clinics, cable cars, and later research programs since the 1930's. I have always enjoyed a close relationship with the island and wanted to continue to support the community myself.
For these reasons I chose to invest in Greece and Santorini, because our nations is in economic crisis, I wanted to focus on economic development. My projects Volkan Beer and Santozeum, were designed to help lead the movement towards rebranding Greece as a high quality destination with high quality products.
In a recent interview you mentioned that the idea of your latest move, Greece Debt Free, was born in Santorini during your visit in winter of 2011. Give us the background of this idea that aims to decrease the Greek debt?
While in Santorini the people in the town made me realize what great patriots we Greeks are but also how little trust we have for government. I created a non-profit, non-government, non-political foundation that allows ordinary people to donate in order to help buy and cancel Greek debt, without funding the state. Buying and canceling bonds should be the governments job, but government lacks the funding and the ability (Troika banned it). I felt that if people can be sure of what happens to their money then maybe the patriotic sprit will overwhelm a government crisis and people might dig into their pockets, and help GDF buy government bonds at the lowest price and then cancel them. See www.greecedebtfree.org GDF also has supporting products that donate a portion of their profits to debt relief, Volkan beer is one such product.
Your grandfather was born in Santorini and your family have really helped the island's society since 1946, and after the earthquake of 1956. How connected are you with the island?
Very much, as you can see from my various project here.
Santorini has changed radically over the last few years, regarding the environment, the architecture and everyday life. What do you think about these changes and what are you predicting for island's future? Do you have any future business plans for Santorini?
Some areas have been overbuilt. Building laws may have been structured to support local techniques and styles, but they ignore the old style of cave dwellings and also do not take into account that people will stretch and bend the law. People build up too much and this creates visual problems. I believe building should develop and construction should continue, but new laws should be created that take into account and reward structures that are single story and fit the local architecture. That is the beauty of Santorinian authentic traditions.
This year is dedicated to island's gastronomy, as it has been declared 2013: Year of Gastronomy for Santorini. What are your favourite flavors from the island? (products, dishes, restaurants).
I like quail, a very local yet migratory bird that is very limited now because it is over hunted, meletinia, the honey and or course the tomatoes. Last year I developed a tasting menu to match our beers at Gordon Ramsey's Michelin star Petrus restaurant in London. I like mixing local flavor with the best international chefs. In developing Volkan, we combined two rare local flavors and a little science. Volkan takes ancient Citrus Medica essence, a 4 kilo citrus from Naxos, brought to Greece by Alexander the Great from Persia and Santorini Grape honey, honey from bees that gather sucrose from the grapes laid out in the sun to create Vinsanto in September, we then blend these two flavors into the beer. The Santorini honey that I love gives the beer such a unique and local flavor that has been appreciated internationally.
Like our other project, the Santozeum on the cliff, we combine the best of Santorin's past and our local traditions with modern thinking and the highest quality.
How often are you coming to Santorini and what do you enjoying doing when you are in the island?
As often as I can, and I like to visit Messaria where Baba Theodosis looks after my great-grandfather's canava. He is a very very special and wonderful man with many great stories and songs that keep me connected to my history on the island.
What are your strongest memories from Santorini, from childhood until today?
The great people who know my family in town and in the port of Thira, the mesmerizing view, and, as a child, the donkeys on the path up from the port.