Hame Anand has been collecting clowns for a while. His big moment came when he purchased the famous Clown Motel in Tonopah in April of 2019.
Anand, a native of India, worked as an art director and commercial photographer for advertising agencies in New Delhi, India. He moved to the United States in 2009 to pursue a master’s degree in integrated media communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. After he graduated, he said his family, who had owned two motels in Las Vegas encouraged him to join the family business, however, he resisted for a while, saying that motel business was not his “forte.”
Still, he started helping his family to run the business on weekends when he was off work at his regular job at Amazon. Anand said his brother was impressed with his skills and suggested buying a motel.
“I was just looking for a motel, and then I saw the Clown Motel in the news and I said, ‘I’m going to buy this (motel) no matter what,” Anand said.
Although his brother initially tried to discourage him from the purchase, the two eventually agreed to come to Tonopah to see the property. That’s when Anand’s brother changed his mind.
“Within five minutes he changes his mind and says, ‘OK, we are going to buy this motel,’” Anand said.
Anand, who has been collecting clowns since he was 14 when he saw them in a circus, said he always wanted to own a business. As part of his new job, he gets to use his business skills, as he gets to manage the property and talk to people who want to see the clowns.
“It’s not just a motel. Every day, somebody is here for a documentary, somebody here for a YouTube or is talking about a movie,” Anand said.
Anand, who refers to himself a CEO of the Clown Motel, had recently moved to Tonopah. He said that the people in town have been supportive of him, praising his revamps of the iconic property. Recently, he received 500 clowns after asking people for a donation on social media. He also brought his own collection of 200 clowns to the motel.
“I eat, sleep and drink only clowns,” Anand said.
Bob Perchetti, a longtime owner of the Clown Motel announced his plans to retire and put the property on the market in 2017 for $900,000. Anand said the price he paid for the Clown Motel was $800,000.
Located right next to the Tonopah Cemetery, the Clown Motel often draws fans of the haunted and those who are looking for signs of paranormal activity. It has also been featured in the TV series “Ghost Adventures” and a few low-budget horror movies.
In recent years, the establishment has become one of the most famous places in Tonopah as visitors from all over the world continue coming to Tonopah to see the clowns. The Clown Motel was also profiled by many national media outlets when Perchetti put it up for sale in 2018.
But Anand said he wants to bring more attention to the Clown Motel. He already bought new furniture, painted several rooms and brought new clowns. He wants to add more rooms to accommodate more customers who come here from all over the world. While the rooms are often occupied by mining workers and those who stay longer, Anand said he wants to make sure people who come to Tonopah to see clowns can also find a room.
“I will make this place a really big landmark, that’s what my vision is. It will be more prominent on the world map,” Anand said.
A movie highlighting the Clown Motel was released earlier this year, and the interest in the motel continues to be high. Next year, Anand said, he expects three filmmakers.
“I feel very proud that I own this place or I run this place because it’s not just a motel. It’s like you are running some monument. It’s like a landmark. When people come and say, ‘Can I have a picture with you?’ I feel really good,” he said.