Client Articles - Written by on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 8:14

San Diego Business Journal: Henry Preiss, Executive Profile

Henry Preiss
EXECUTIVE PROFILE: August 24, 2009

Henry Preiss is chief executive of Preiss Imports, an importer of spirits from family owned producers. Sorrento Valley-based Preiss distributes these specialty spirits throughout the U.S. through a network of distributors, retailers and restaurants.

• Name: Henry Preiss.
• Company: Preiss Imports.
• Titles: President and CEO.
• Education: Associate of Arts degree, Rio Hondo College.
• Birthplace: Buenos Aires, Argentina.
• Age: 56.
• Current residence: San Diego.
• Family: Wife, Suzie; children, Natalie, Nicole, Ryan.


Essential business philosophy: Do what others aren’t doing, do it well and with pride.

Best way to keep a competitive edge: Know who you are working for (our customers and our suppliers).

Guiding principles: Sell only products you truly believe in and have a passion for.

Yardsticks of Success: Survival for 22 years in an industry that has consolidated like crazy and then adding two superstar partners in the fall of 2008.

Goals Yet to be Achieved: Being recognized on the consumer level nationally as the best specialty spirits supplier.

Best business decision: Starting Preiss Imports and switching from wines to selling almost exclusively spirits.

Worst business decision: Not buying the A.H. Hirsch Bourbon brand a few years earlier.

Toughest Business Decision: Buying the A.H. Hirsch Bourbon brand because we begged, borrowed and stole from everywhere to make the deal happen.

Mentor: My father.

Words that describe you: Hardworking, driven to succeed.

What you like best about your job: The people we deal with, the great brands we represent, seeing people enjoy the products we sell.

What you like least about your job: The long hours.

Pet peeve: Customers who just don’t get it because they lack the knowledge and understanding of the difference between junk and quality.

Most important lesson learned: Love the products you are lucky enough to sell.

Person most interested in meeting: Bill O’Reilly.

Three greatest passions: My family, my business, my car.

First choice for a new career: To start over and do it even better.

Favorite quote: “World-class Spirits, World-class Importer” (my own quote).

Most influential book: The Preiss Imports catalog because it encompasses what I spent my life building and is filled with factual information that helps you understand why people put so much energy into creating brands.

Favorite status symbol: The products we sell.

Favorite restaurant: Jake’s Del Mar.

Favorite place for business meetings: Anywhere in San Diego.

Favorite vacation spot: Big Bear Lake.

Favorite way to spend time: Boating.

San Diego Business Journal, Copyright © 2009, All Rights Reserved.


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