Kickass Entrepreneur: American National Investments
She’s a woman with passion, vision and one who holds many titles including founder, chairman of the board, president and CEO of American National Investments. Gina Champion-Cain is the mastermind behind this real estate and development firm that’s been going strong for 20 years and has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.
It started back in 2011, when Champion-Cain decided to use her experience in commercial real estate and combine it with her passions for dogs, the beach, great food and wine to create a collection of lifestyle and hospitality brands in San Diego and beyond. With a focus on building neighborhood-centric, pet-friendly businesses, Champion-Cain opened local eateries, retail establishments, and charming vacation beach rentals that today generate jobs and tourism, bring people together, and proudly anchor and sustain thriving urban and beach communities.
Champion-Cain’s collection of lifestyle and hospitality brands include Luv San Diego Surf in Mission Beach, Luv Surf Apparel in Mission Beach, The Patio on Lamont Street in Pacific Beach, The Patio on Goldfinch Street in Mission Hills, Swell Café/Coffee Roasting Co. in Mission Beach and The Front Porch in Mission Hills. There are also new businesses in the works including The Front Porch’s expansion to Coronado, Fireside by The Patio in Liberty Station, Patio Petaluma in Northern California.
Q: What was the inspiration behind making all your properties pet friendly?
A: The love of my golden retrievers and the pure enjoyment I have spending time with them. Whether hanging out at one of my beach houses or at one of my restaurants, I love having them with me at all times. I know that many other folks feel the same way about their furry members of their families; if you don’t like animals, then you can go somewhere else to relax, enjoy and share.
Q: Your restaurants are known for their amazing food, what’s your favorite dish and why?
A: That’s so difficult to say because there are so many different things I love to eat at my restaurants. However, our cheeses are fantastic, and I love our state-of-the-art cheese cave, so I’d have to say the cheese boards. I also love the octopus appetizer, the chilaquiles for breakfast and the pork shank.
Q: Describe your perfect day in San Diego?
A: Relaxing in Mission Beach with my dogs and friends, having take out from one of The Patio restaurants.
Q: If you could be a superhero, who would it be and why?
A: Wonder Woman ... no need to explain why!
Q: What’s the best advice you would give to your 10-year-old self?
A: Love yourself; believe in yourself; never doubt yourself; never let anyone tell you that you can’t accomplish anything you want; passion drives success in all things in life so embrace it!
Q: If you could have lunch with an idol of yours, who would it be and why?
A: My grandfather. He was always my idol and I miss him every day ... he would be so proud.
Q: Best part about doing business in San Diego?
A: Looking at the ocean every day.
Q: Favorite quote or motto you try to live by every day?
A: Love what you do.