Henry Preiss started as a delivery boy in 1968, delivering wine and liquor for the Erich Preiss Co. He went on to college and attained a two-year business administration degree. Then he moved on to a four-year college, did some construction work and continued delivering for Erich Preiss Co.
Preiss got the bug to enter the spirits business full time in 1974. He was getting restless with sitting in a classroom and wanting to do more sooner.
In 1977, Preiss' father passed away shortly after selling his company. Preiss ran Erich Preiss Co. for three years, and again he got restless and wanted his own company. He started Preiss International with a partner.
In 1987, he left Preiss International and joined a wine company founded by his wife. Shortly after starting at Preiss Imports, he ramped up sales. He and his wife eventually built what has become the premier specialty importer of premium spirits in the U.S. In October 2008, Preiss and his wife took on two partners. Preiss believes the next 25 years will be just as exciting and rewarding as those beginning years in the business.
What brought you to Del Mar?
This is where my wife wanted to live, and it made the most sense to grow the business from this area.
What makes Del Mar special to you?
Without a doubt the weather and the proximity to so many great places to go and eat out at and simply enjoy life.
If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in Del Mar?
Make sure that the fairgrounds never get sold.
Who or what inspires you?
Life and all the people that do things so much better than I can.
If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?
My father and mother, my father- and mother-in-law, my wife and my terrific kids.
What are you currently reading?
"Outliers: The Story of Success."
What is your most prized possession?
Not sure I really have a most prized possession. Wisdom and age has shown what was most prized at one time in life is not that way presently. If I have a most prized possession, it has to be my health.
What do you do for fun?
Ride my bike when there is time or enjoy time with my wife.
Describe your greatest accomplishment.
Having built a business that, in an industry of giants, has great recognition.
What is your motto or philosophy of life?
Work hard, get up every day remembering it is a new day, and don't waste opportunities as they may not present themselves again.