Cesar Ramirez is the President of Oakridge Farm Food, also known as Bravo Supermarkets. Now based out of Orlando, Florida, he was born in the Dominican Republic and came to the United States with his family at the age of 17. Once situated in his newly adopted country, he worked at a New York City grocery store until he eventually saved enough money to open his own supermarket in Florida. In the years since then, Cesar Ramirez has achieved great success, having grown his business holdings to eight supermarkets located across the Sunshine State.
Regarding his personal life, Cesar is married and has three daughters. When not running his businesses he studies computer science in order to round out his skill set and keep up-to-date with new technological developments. He also loves playing golf and spending time with his family. Cesar Ramirez is well-known throughout his community as a long-time contributor and supporter of the St. Jude’s network of charitable organizations.
What is your typical day, and how do you make it productive?
If there is such a thing as a typical day as the owner of eight supermarkets, it involves placing large orders, coordinating staff, overseeing logistics, keeping an eye on accounting, devising marketing and advertising campaigns, and, most importantly, tending to customer relations.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I bring ideas to life through hard work and collaboration with my talented team.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I think that it’s wonderful that more people are trying to experience cuisine from parts of the world with which they aren’t totally acquainted. There has been a trend for many years of ordinary Americans experimenting with Thai food, Ethiopian food, Cuban food, Greek food, and so on and so forth. I think nothing but good can come from people broadening their palettes.
What is one habit that helps you be productive?
I have a habit of asking for input from my most trusted employees and advisors on any matter I consider to be important. I believe this not only makes our organization more effective and productive, but it facilitates a positive and creative workplace culture, as well.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to save early and save often. Also, I would tell the young me that it wouldn’t hurt to invest some money in the stock market as soon as possible. As a wise man once said, “Time in the market is better than timing the market.”
Tell us something you believe almost nobody agrees with you on?
I think the Orlando Magic will be in serious contention for an NBA championship within the next two years. Next to nobody would agree with me on that point.
What is the one thing you repeatedly do and recommend everyone else do?
Never underestimate people. You might be amazed at the positive contributions those around you can make to any endeavor.
When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?
I spent the formative years of my life hoping to someday live out the American dream. So, when I was finally able to immigrate to the United States, that’s exactly what motivated me in all my actions. During my first few years in New York, I worked exceptionally hard and saved every penny I earned, knowing that one day I would start my own business and provide a better life for my family. When that day finally came—when I finally had enough money to execute my long-held plan—I chose to create a supermarket, mainly because I love food and I knew it was something that people are always going to need. I also worked at a grocery store for a significant period of time as a young man, so I was already quite familiar with the business model. Beyond that, I love helping communities on the ground level, which is something that supermarkets do every single day.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business or advance in your career?
The single best strategy that has helped me to grow my business is an incredibly simple one: Offer customers a quality product accompanied by helpful service for a reasonable price. This is a formula that guarantees loyal, repeat customers.
What is one failure in your career, how did you overcome it, and what lessons did you take away from it?
Throughout the course of my career, I’ve encountered many obstacles. Some of the more notable ones have involved supply chain issues. I’ve overcome these problems by first, cultivating patience, and second, growing my vendor list so that I have some other suppliers to contact in case of emergencies. It always pays dividends to have a backup plan.
What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I think if I were a young man today, I would concentrate my entrepreneurial efforts on the renewable energy sector. That industry seems primed for significant growth both in the near-term and long-term.
What is one piece of software that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
My digital calendar is absolutely indispensable to me. I would not be able to properly run my business or conduct my private affairs without it.
Do you have a favorite book or podcast you’ve gotten a ton of value from and why?
I heartily recommend Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. This book contains many useful tidbits of information for anyone who wishes to transform their mindset to one that encourages success.
What’s a movie or series you recently enjoyed and why?
“A penny saved is a penny earned.” — Ben Franklin
- Save and invest early and often.
- Never underestimate those around you.
- Always make sure to have a contingency plan in case emergencies arise.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.