Mitch Gorshin: From Hollywood to Haddonfield

Growing up as the son of The Riddler from the original Batman series, one could say Mitch Gorshin did not have an ordinary childhood.

Growing up as the son of The Riddler from the original Batman series, one could say Mitch Gorshin did not have an ordinary childhood. His travels took him from Hollywood to Haddonfield, and along the way Gorshin overhauled the way the U.S Navy trains recruits and redesigned hotels around the world.

Gorshin worked for the Walt Disney company for 13 years, based out of Orlando where he used his creativity, not just with attractions, but in the U.S. military, improving training programs in the Navy.

“He embodies the Disney philosophy of being both a dreamer and doer,’’ his wife, Maria, said.

Disney was where Gorshin was asked to embark on a journey to Great Lakes, Ill., that would forever change the way the Navy trains troops. Traveling to help improve Recruit Training Command Center, a unit in the Navy that provides orientation and prepares new recruits for duty, Gorshin would help come up with innovative ways to improve the training process.

Recruits come from far and wide to endure a rigorous eight-week course, and on the last day of their training, recruits experience the final exam, “Battlestations,” that incorporates all of the training received throughout their course in a matter of 12 hours.

Experiencing Battlestations himself, Gorshin felt he could redesign a realistic experience, leaving recruits feeling more prepared once they finish.

After brainstorming at a local pizza joint near the training center, with nothing but a pizza box and sharpie, Gorshin drew a plan for what would later be built into a 450-foot Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.

“The idea is to use theme park technology in terms of creating realms and spaces and environments but adapt that into a Navy thing,” Gorshin said.

The destroyer incorporated fire, using propane tanks to put fire up the walls.

“We have immersed them into a seemingly real incident that’s unfolding,” Gorshin said.

Whether it is the Navy or hotel guests, Gorshin puts emphasis on the value of the human experience in any situation.

“Entertainment and hospitality were two big anchors for me while I was growing up,” Gorshin said. “Whether I wanted it or not, that’s what I was exposed to.”

As a kid, Gorshin spent his summers in Las Vegas watching his father, Frank Gorshin, performed in shows. There he discovered his desire to one day change the way the world experiences hospitality in the hotel industry. Gorshin grinned as he recalled the doorman greeting guests with white gloves and welcoming smiles, reminiscing about the sea of guests in tuxedos and gowns roaming the hotel.

“It left such an impression on me,” Gorshin said.

This experience influenced Gorshin to explore a career in the hotel industry, attempting to redesign establishments and recreating those moments in Las Vegas for others to enjoy. As The chief creative officer of his own company, Experiology (now known as GORSHIN LLC), Gorshin was asked by the global senior vice president of marketing for Marriott to reinvent and reposition Marriotts across the globe.

“What I really discovered at that time was that the world is a really cool place, there are lot of great people out there. There’s a lot of great cultures out there, and I dont have one bad story whatsoever,” Gorshin said. “From enjoying Paris to being treated like royalty going to Saudi Arabia, they are all great stories, just great people and friends to this day.”

When Gorshin and his family moved to Haddonfield, they knew they finally found a home.

“When we come here, we feel like a world away, like we have stepped back in time. We like it,” Gorshin says.

Gorshin moved to Haddonfield seven years ago with his wife Maria and his son Brandon, where he opened his store, The Trading Post, off Kings Highway four years back, with a cigar bar to open at the end of the month, designed with Gorshin’s creative touch.

Of the lessons he takes with him from his travels and experiences, he explained that as different as people may be, humans are similar in that we have reason to explain our actions.

“It doesn’t matter where you are from in the world, what language you speak or what your backgrounds are. We has humans in the human condition, there’s a science behind why we do things and how we do things” he said.

Studying how and why people do what they do is the reason he has been successful figuring out the key to captivating people and unleashing the ideas in his head.

‘’He’s exceptional. He’s just a creative person. I’m always amazed with the quality ideas that emerge from his imagination,’’ Maria said. “That is one of things that makes me admire him as a man, not just my husband … I’m always looking forward to seeing the next idea he will come up.’’