John Yanni Alphas

Be your own person, be self-sufficient, and find the right job where you can excel and prosper. Most important, do not be afraid to work hard to achieve your goals.


John Yanni Alphas is a 1982 graduate of Boston University School of Management. This successful entrepreneur wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth; he came from very humble beginnings, respectively working his way up the ranks. After graduating college, he soon found a job working for a family business by the name of Peter Condakes Company. He would spend seventeen faithful years at this company while gaining the foundation and financial backing to start his own business.

In 1999, he became the president and CEO of The Alphas Produce Company. Located in Chelsea, Massachusetts, the produce company offers fresh fruits and vegetables for wholesale and distribution purposes. In 2006, Yanni Alphas changed his company from a traditional American produce company to one that is strictly tropical, offering a variety of fruits and vegetables worldwide.

The process to make this happen was no easy feat. It required acquiring various licenses and approvals in order to import the goods into the United States. It was a fulfilling and challenging process but was all worthwhile in the end. John Yanni Alphas has his own farm in Vietnam and is in the process of growing dragon fruit there. He is hoping to expand that operation in the near future.

John Alphas is very excited about the future of his business and notes that it is new, exciting, and a huge learning curve. He enjoys the learning aspect of it all being that he gets to learn about different produce from all over the world, how to transport them, and getting them to the stores and supermarkets to be sold.

Where did the idea for The Alphas Produce Company come from?

The concept for my business was devised in 2000. I witnessed the population in our customer base drastically changing, and I recognized the need to import fruits and vegetables from the customers’ native countries. I felt that this idea would be the new wave in the product industry and we are doing exceptionally well with it thus far.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

My typical day starts at 2:35 am, and I arrive at my office in about an hour. My first order of business is to make calls to Europe, Asia, and the far east. Then I get on the sales floor to begin selling services, and I spend the majority of my day doing this. I spend the end of the day processing paperwork, and I call it quits at 5 pm. My day goes by super quick so much so that I wonder where the time goes. Boy, time flies when you are having fun!

How do you bring new ideas to life?

It’s not too hard for me to bring new ideas to life because my mind stays in creation mode. I am continually trying to find different ways to expand the product line. I think about innovative ways to grow the product, faster and cheaper ways to import, and market services. The key here is for our customers to be able to effectively market the product, sell it, then come back and reorder as quickly as possible.

What is one trend that excites you?

The trend that excites me the most are the health benefits of digesting the tropical fruits and vegetables. Given the fact that many people in the world do not have or have very limited access to medications, treatments, and health insurance, they rely on natural methods of healing to relieve or cure them of their ailments. They are using our products to aid them in the healing process. We also have to keep in mind that food is medicine. I hope that somehow, we can learn to use natural healing methods and stop ingesting harmful drugs into our systems, so we can live longer and healthier lives. Of course, the pharmaceutical companies heavily promote these drugs.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

One habit that makes me more productive is that I started from the bottom. I began unloading freight cars, trucks, made deliveries, worked in warehouses, I have done it all. I know how it feels to be at the bottom and I also know what it’s like to be at the top. I have been on both ends of the spectrum, and I always respect my employees and treat them as equals. I believe that having that hands-on working experience keeps me humble while also giving me the compassion to relate to my employees.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would advise my younger self not to work themselves to a pulp. Always remember to take time out for yourselves and your family. Time flies, and you don’t want to wake up one day and realize that your children have grown and you spent more time building your business than you did with them. It’s alright to relax and take a vacation every now and then. Trust me, there is more to life than work, make time to play.

Tell us something that is true that almost nobody agrees with you on?

Something that’s true is, I was one of the first people to expand my promotion of fruits and vegetables to the internet. I began using various social media outlets to expand my market, and everybody thought I was insane at first. Now, it’s a whole different era, and you cannot run a successful business without implementing the use of the internet. Social media is essential to every business these days and technology has caught on and become the wave of the future.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing that you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I would recommend that you have an insatiable drive and exceptional work ethic. You have to be willing and able to outwork and outsmart your competition at all costs. There has to be a dire determination to succeed and be willing to give it all that you got, even at the expense of giving up things that you enjoy because that is usually the case when you are destined for greatness. Some things that you like to do are taken away from you. Success just doesn’t come on a silver plate, you have to want it and work hard for it.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

The strategies that have helped me is being able to satisfy the customers’ needs by producing top-notch products that they can sell and providing them with the best service possible. Customer service is the heart of any business because, without it, there will be no business. If you can offer your customers a wow experience every time, then you have a customer for life. People tend to pay more for better service, so you have to pay special attention to customers’ needs and wants in order to thrive. They are an integral part of any business.

What is one failure that you had as an entrepreneur and how did you overcome it?

One failure that I recall happened during the recession period in 2007-2008, I was too spread out and dependent on people that weren’t the right fit for my business. In turn, The Alphas Produce Company suffered and hit a low point. However, I picked up the pieces and managed to turn the business around. I wound up revamping the company and introduced the tropical products into our game plan, which was the key component to getting the company back on track.

What is one business idea that you are willing to give away to our readers?

A business idea that I strongly encourage is not to be afraid, to think outside of the box. You always have to trust your instincts and never stop creating. Continuously work on creating new, innovative solutions to problems and don’t be afraid to try new ideas because you never know if that idea is a million-dollar idea until you try. An important thing to remember is never ever be afraid to fail in anything you do because it only means that you are that much closer to success.

What is the best one hundred dollars you recently spent? On what and why?

The best one hundred dollars I just spent included taking everybody in my company out and treating them to lunch. We just acquired a big customer and we were also celebrating our 19-year in business. I thought that was pretty amazing.

What is one piece of software or web service that helps you be productive?

The web service that helps me immensely is Google. I feel like I can’t live without it. I use it to look things up and do research. It helps me when customers ask if we can find specific products for them and sometimes I don’t have a clue about the products they are referring to, so that is when Google comes in handy. I do a little research about the products that they are asking about in order to determine if I will buy it or not. Google is a must-have in my business, it really comes in handy.

What is the one book you recommend our community should read and why?

The book I recommend is “The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas J. Stanley. Most people who became millionaires got there through hard work, strong financial planning, and being frugal. The community can learn a lot from this book. In order to prosper and gain financial independence you must:
1) Live within or below your means.
2) Allocate time, energy, and money efficiently to build wealth.
3) Believe that financial independence is more important than displaying high social status. The old wealthy New England Yankees never showed off their wealth.

Be your own person, be self-sufficient, and find the right job where you can excel and prosper. Most important, do not be afraid to work hard to achieve your goals.

What is your favorite quote?

My favorite quote is, “Never ever ever quit” by Winston Churchill. I have that displayed right on my wall for my daily reference, and I feel that it’s a very powerful message. Many people want to give up before they ever get started, as soon as something becomes hard, or they hit a bump in the road, they are quick to throw their hands up. The thing they don’t realize is that the more failure you have, the closer to success you are. It’s sad but true, that’s why it takes an extraordinary person to be successful. It takes a unique person to maintain that desire burning inside them, to keep pushing through adversity and never give up.

Key learnings:

• Don’t give up just because something is hard. It’s the lessons you learn in those situations which make you successful.

• Always go with your gut and don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

• If you have the drive you will succeed.