Top Ten: Mimi Omiecinski of Princeton Tour Company
Mimi Omiecinski tells Princeton Magazine the people, places and products she can’t live without
Mimi Omiecinski is a Nashville girl who is unapologetic regarding her complete love affair with the host town of the 4th College in the King’s Colony.
“I have fallen completely in love with the town and people of Princeton. I would eBay everything I own to be able to raise my son, date my husband and entertain my friends in Princeton.”
Nine years since she transplanted to Princeton, Mimi is now owner of its #1 Activity on Trip Advisor. Her business, Princeton Tour Company, has recently been recognized as the #1 Tour Operator in the Northeast by AAA Magazine. In addition, she is the founder of a celebration honoring Albert Einstein’s birthday and the number 3.14, Pi Day Princeton, attracting international coverage from the New York Times, the Washington Post, NPR and more.
Interestingly enough, this award winning tourism owner has no formal business training and holds no degrees in history. In 1988, she graduated top of her class from the University of Tennessee in Social Work – a training dedicated to building strong individuals, families and communities. Some believe it’s that unconventional approach to business that holds the secret to her success.
Princeton Magazine wanted to see what the irrepressible Princeton autodidact counts as her favorite sources of inspiration and must-haves.
1. My husband, son and parents
“Can you imagine what it must be like to have to deal with me 24/7? Well, it can’t be easy but my hubby, Steve; son Stosh; and parents, Bella and Shug make me feel like I’m the best thing that ever happened to them. It’s an understatement to say I’m lucky to be surrounded by endless encouragement and support from those four people – they help me make me feel brave and that helps me make unconventional decisions in business.”
“I would trade any item I could acquire for the experience of travel. I know my acute, (sometimes severe) and ongoing obsession to all things Princeton is probably diagnosable. Our town is a mini-me to all the wonderful places I’ve seen in the world. We have a world class professional academic/professional environment, art museum, theater, sculpture, architecture, performing arts, public library, public education system, rowing lake, gardens, arboreal collection, diverse shopping and dining experiences and more. Living in the heart of Princeton inspires me so much and continuing to travel reinforces my adoration of Princeton. My favorite destination is always the one I just visited which is Salzburg, Austria.”
“I surround myself with friends and colleagues who find humor in themselves and difficult situations. People with a positive outlook tend to have an irresistible combination of intelligence, charm and compassion. On my tours, I enjoy finding the humor in the lives of the famous characters from Princeton. Whether it’s the fact Albert Einstein got lost in his own neighborhood 13 different times or there is a Princeton tombstone that reads “I Told You I Was Sick”. History is so much more fun when you fall in love with the people you’re researching.
4. A Bigger Than Life Sense of Community
“Princeton is small enough that if you have a dream to create something unique for the Princeton community, the essential players are easily accessible and equally interested in creating one of a kind experiences to benefit the town. My favorite new and unique Princeton community effort right now is Princeton Community Small Garden Project. Some would claim making sure young children are exposed to fresh vegetables shouldn’t be a priority. When you imagine the long term benefits to the children and their overall lifetime health, you see it’s really an essential education item!”
5. Callie’s Grits
“Ben Franklin liked to say beer was proof God loved us. I would add Callie’s Grits are proof we’re God’s favorite. Grits are a staple for any self- respecting southerner. The best grits on the planet are, for sure, there is no hesitation here, Callie’s Grits from Charleston, South Carolina.”
6. Converse Tennis Shoes
“I don’t care who you are and where you come from, wearing Converse tennis shoes makes you feel awesome. I only want to go places where Converse tennis shoes are considered acceptable footwear. My favorite place to break in a new pair of Converse is here.”
“I think the makers of Google deserve a Nobel Prize. I mean that. If anyone reading this can make that happen, you should do that!”
8. A No Car Lifestyle
“I know it sounds crazy but consciously sculpting a life so that you’re daily engaging in brief, positive social interactions would have put Freud out of business. Since moving to Princeton nine years ago, we’ve been a one-car family so I pretty much walk or bike everywhere. That lifestyle has allowed me to become buddies with all the police, shop owners, residents, baristas, waste collectors, faculty, students, etc. I feel like the luckiest girl on earth to being able to live, work and play in such a remarkable town.”
9. The Smell of Warm Bread and Churchbells On My Morning Walks
“My neighborhood has four bakeries that bake onsite and nine churches within walking distance of my downtown flat. Some mornings, I like to close my eyes and take an imaginary vacation to Europe!”
“Clearly, Princeton has changed my life and I’m grateful to have had the chance to live in such a perfect community. It really is the type of place you have to live up to and I’m doing my best to keep up with the place!”