James Khuri is a prosperous and well-respected entrepreneur. He is the CEO of nine companies ranging from real estate to manufacturing and distribution, brick and mortar retail stores, and e-commerce websites. James was born and raised in Rochester, New York. In 1983, his family moved to Lebanon in an attempt to re-establish their residence there. After only six months, however, they returned to New York due to the hostile and unsafe living conditions caused by the ongoing war. James went on to attend the University of Rochester, where he received his MBA from the Simon School of Business.
At the age of 32, he moved from New York to California, where he currently lives. In 2001 James began his successful career in the field of real estate. James has always been discerning when he invests in real estate, currently owning medical and apartment buildings in New York and Los Angeles. He does not invest in other forms of real estate because he does not believe that anything else is viable in the current market. Real estate may have been where James started, but his bigger focus and a much larger area of success for him has been e-commerce. James developed a love of trading cards early in his life and turned this passion into a huge distribution business, becoming Amazon’s main distributor of trading cards and Hasbro & Mattel merchandise for more than 136 countries. As consumer behavior changes, the booming growth of e-commerce business also shows no signs of slowing down. James is constantly expanding his diversity of products, adapting his fulfillment and distribution plans to the needs of each country in which he distributes, selecting the appropriate products and streamlining efficiency.
His efforts have led to some recent achievements. One was that Amazon assigned an employee to work exclusively with one of James’s companies to support his sales in the 136 countries to which they are selling. The other is a new fulfillment system, which was created in partnership with Walmart in partnership with Walmart and is called “Fulfilled by Walmart.”
Outside of work, James loves spending time with his seventeen-year-old son. They are avid foodies and enjoy watching movies together. In addition to keeping his mind sharp, James likes to be physically fit by lifting weights, hiking and boxing. Another significant person in his life is James’ mother, she was always a prime supporter and a wonderful mother, always there in times of need. James is also committed to giving back and has co-founded a charity called beautifullminds.com, a nonprofit that provides educational assistance to facilities and programs that help those in the community requiring mental and spiritual support, rehabilitation support and physical education / therapy. James Khuri is a dedicated father and son, as well as an experienced and highly successful entrepreneur. He has worked diligently and wholeheartedly to build his businesses. He is looking forward to continuing his efforts daily to bring the world what it needs and desires.
How did you get started in this business?
While in college I was very focused on going to medical school but halfway through, I realized my true passion was being an entrepreneur. Once I graduated started working for a company and built self up and gained some experience. Then I went on and started forming my own companies after that. I started opening up baseball cards in 1986. My dad would buy them for me for my birthday and that is what got me hooked. I later developed that love into the concept of buying and selling which motivated me to start my businesses. With Real Estate, I started off in the year 2001 buying medical office buildings and now I primarily keep to medical office buildings and apartment buildings because I do not believe anything else would be worth the time or investment in today’s market. I have plans to invest in large, refrigerated warehouse spaces in the near future. The reason is that supermarkets/larger e-commerce companies need more storage.
How do you make money?
With real estate investments, I make a profit by charging rental fees. E-commerce generates revenue just like a brick-and-mortar store, you are just selling the product online. I do also have products that I supply to brick-and-mortar stores as well that I sell for a profit. There are quite a few different, diverse revenue streams but to put it simply, I make my money by selling/supplying/distributing products.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
I am not entirely sure. In those early years, if I was seeing any profit, I was reinvesting most of it back into my business ventures so I couldn’t give you an exact number. I had a lot of ideas and I wanted to hit the ground running. When I have an idea, I go for it. So, I was putting my money into many businesses and working hard to make them all profitable.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
You are always going to question your choices, that is inevitable. If you start to doubt your decisions, you push harder and find a solution. You make it work, you have to have the will to succeed and be convinced that you cannot give up.
How did you get your first customer?
The first real estate investment deal I made was by going out and finding it. I had my eye on this apartment building that was going up for sale and I put in the work. I made sure to have all of my affairs in order so that I could be ready as soon as it hit the market.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
Knowing how to effectively use ads is very important. Make sure that if you are going to start an ad campaign, you do your research and know how to target your demographics and use the ads effectively before you even get started. Otherwise, you are just throwing your money away.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
When to put more buying power into the businesses of ecommerce and how far to go with it. How much to invest. The e-commerce business is growing so fast. You need to see into the future and how big it’s going to be. It really takes a visionary.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I have good vision and can anticipate what people need in the future so that helps me to know what energy to put into my business.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
When my company was Named supplier of the quarter with Walmart in 2007.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
I forecast abundant growth for my companies. I am excited for all of the possibilities that are ahead of me. My son has also been helping in the business. He is incredibly smart and very good at business. I am excited to watch him grow in the industry as well.
What business books have inspired you?
Built not Born by Tom Golisano and 12 Months to $1 Million: How to Pick a Winning Product, Build a Real Business, and Become a Seven-Figure Entrepreneur by Ryan Daniel Moran.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Always be humble. No matter how successful you get and no matter how well you do, remember that there is always someone right behind you, ready to take over.
Are you willing to be a mentor? If so, how should someone contact you?
I am pretty busy with my various companies, but if you are looking for a great place to learn a lot from, I’d suggest volunteering with beautifullminds.com