His family, his business and his community are top priorities for Florio Vassilakakis of Castlegar, B.C.
In his family’s tradition, Florio Vassilakakis of Castlegar, B.C., became involved in both the restaurant business and real estate from a young age. Recently, the desire to have more time for his own young family prompted him to step away from the restaurant business and focus on developing his real estate interests.
How did you choose this line of work?
I’m not sure if I chose it. My family came over from Greece in the mid-50’s and worked hard, saving their money, opening multiple restaurants and investing in real estate. I realized that I had an undeniable passion for business and the hospitality industry, so when the opportunity arose for me to bring that to the Kootenays, I jumped on it and took a chance.
What is it about work that gets you out of bed in the morning?
It’s in fact my kids crawling all over me that gets me up in the morning! I love the challenges that each day brings—problem-solving, finding innovative ideas, talking to customers and making the incremental improvements that people appreciate. I love the fact that I learn something new every day. I love being a part of the community. As a city councillor I feel great responsibility and am excited to be a part of a group that will shape our community for future generations.
What’s your focus for 2016?
Stepping away from The Element (restaurant/night club) has freed up some time and allowed me to concentrate on what’s important. I’m finding a work/life balance—a reset that I definitely needed. I am spending more time with family and refocusing on the longer-term planning for our developments and real estate.
Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur in the Kootenays?
I saw potential. My brother and I saw an area that was underserved in the hospitality market and took a chance. We went all-in, in spite of thinking maybe we were crazy. The commitment helped make us successful.