Developer Turned Restaurateur Heeded Dad’s Advice

By Lori Weisberg
The San Diego Union-Tribune.

If you’ve ever caught a concert at the House of Blues downtown, dined al fresco at the Patio in Pacific Beach, or maybe indulged in a long weekend at a pet-friendly vacation rental in Mission Beach, you have Gina Champion-Cain to thank — plus a bit of sage advice her father gave her when she was a young girl.

“He told my sister and me we could do whatever we wanted to do, and no one could stop us as long as we put our heart and soul into it,” recalled Champion-Cain, whose early career path followed her father’s to real estate development.

A serial entrepreneur, she has since moved on from overseeing multi-million-dollar housing and commercial deals to opening multiple restaurants, along with gourmet food and kitchen stores, developing a line of beach apparel and acquiring a portfolio of vacation rental properties.

So successful has her Patio dining concept become, she’s scouting future locations and making plans to bring her brand to the wine country in Northern California. Champion-Cain’s next Patio-inspired concept is due to open soon in Liberty Station. She talked with the Union-Tribune about her recent business ventures and what drives her zeal for new investments.

Q: Your professional pursuits have taken you from downtown apartment development to beach apparel. How are you able to sustain so many diverse businesses?

A: They’re diverse, but they’re not. I’m in the people business and, if you understand you’re in the hospitality business, you know it’s all about pleasing people, whether I’m providing them a great meal or a nice place to stay, or a nice shop where they’re buying my surf attire. I really see it as one. As a company, we really are one family. I have some superstars that run these different businesses and they are committed, which you can tell because they’re doing well.

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