Gina Champion-Cain keeps expanding empire with corporate hospitality
Published - 02/28/18 - 07:31 AM | 1376 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gina Champion-Cain
Gina Champion-Cain
Beach entrepreneur Gina Champion-Cain's “realm” includes beach rentals, a surf boutique, restaurants and a steakhouse, a coffee company, a chocolatier, a pizzeria and two specialty gourmet markets.

Now you can add hospitality to that ever-expanding list.

The Mission Beach-based merchant's newest business venture is Corporate Hospitality, a division of American National Investments. The division offers world-class service specializing in creating and developing premier branding.

Lucas Reeve, vice president of brand development for The Patio Group, discussed what the company's new corporate hospitality division is all about.

“The hierarchical organization, The Patio Group, operates a number of businesses in Mission and Pacific beaches, and now we have a restaurant hospitality arm under the ANI umbrella,” said Reeve. “So we've got a real estate component to the restaurants that have been growing for the last few years.”

Reeve noted Champion-Cain has no shortage of “lifestyle branding” issues to deal with, what with all her disparate businesses, which include beach apparel and vacation rentals in Mission Beach.

“Our hospitality division, it's kind of the confluence of real estate and hospitality coming together in this new business line that we foresee growing rapidly in partnering with our real estate-backed partners, along with local real estate groups, to develop hospitality amenities for their large real estate properties.”

Reeve added the new hospitality division is looking to partner with entities like hotels and large corporate campuses.

“We'll work with them to develop hospitality amenities that add value to their projects, everything from the ability to attract great tenants to attracting best-quality employees. We see it as an opportunity to work with them, partnering to provide hospitality amenities.”

Added Reeve, “What really might be interesting, and significant, is that through branding we're leveraging the identities of our newest patio marketplace location, a cafe/coffee place open almost a year now in the Aventine building (in La Jolla) in the UTC neighborhood.”

The daughter of a Michigan real estate developer, Champion-Cain grew up surrounded by the business she later embraced. She started out in the apartment industry in the late 1980s, managing and redeveloping distressed assets spun off by the Resolution Trust Co.

Her big break came in 1994 when she joined a team redeveloping La Jolla Square Shopping Center, formerly an enclosed mall home to old May Company and I. Magnin stores. That earned her a reputation for rebuilding distressed malls, flipping them from distress to success.

In 1997, Champion-Cain went out on her own starting ANI. Passionate about urban areas, she bought and rehabbed a rundown Woolworth store, eventually bringing the House of Blues to San Diego to fill the space. 

She got into the restaurant business by chance when she purchased Pacific Beach's Lamont Street Grill. Expecting to tear it down and redevelop it, bowing to community requests, she instead retained the restaurant, reinventing it as The Patio.

A beach and animal lover, Champion-Cain started her network of about 10 pet-friendly up-scale Mission Beach vacation rentals when she found no one welcomed her golden retrievers or her elderly cat at a beach rental. Her two Luv Surf apparel companies sprang from requests from her vacation rental guests, while Swell, her coffee company, Andrea's Truffles, her handmade chocolatier, and Luxury Farms, two specialty gourmet markets in Mission Hills and Coronado, were natural evolutions of her restaurants.

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