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Tell us what brought you to the U.S. from Sri lanka? i came here to go to school. Before i went to school here,


i was in Japan for a while in school there. i didn’t like the style; it was a difficult situation because you had to learn Japanese before you go to a university. that would take me another two years to go to language school. i decided that’s not the way i wanted to do it, so i came here to go to school.


You came straight to California? i came straight. i had a lot of friends in Santa Barbara, so i came here to Santa Barbara City College.


what was that like? it was good, but i started in engineering and ended up in business management, marketing, advertising. You name it, i have a couple hundred units at City College because i took so many years!


what was it like in your early life? did you have a lot of outlook to what you wanted to do? A business outlook? i was always a finance guy; i always wanted to make money. i used to loan my lunch money to make interest.


how did you come to settle in Carpinteria? we had the first (Sushi teri) location in Santa Barbara. i


had always wanted to expand the business, so we expanded to goleta, and then i thought, “Carpinteria would be a very good location.” And we loved the small town and the beach ... pretty much everything about Carpinteria. when i brought my wife here, she said, “Do you think the customers will come here?”


has that surprised you, has it changed? From day one, we’ve had customers. it never slows down.


how substantial is your wife’s involvement in your business ventures? Very much. She (Keiko) does scheduling, hiring ... she’s the backbone of Sushi teri.


Explain Nikka, your grocery store in goleta. it’s been there almost 25 years. we bought it about two years ago because i thought it’d be a good fit for us. we directly buy from Japanese produce growers. it helps


price-wise. we get our fish, everything, directly from the wholesale market. it has a huge following.


what is the status of your building on linden, the new restaurant and the proposed second-story residential development? we’re going to expand the existing retail area another 1,500 feet. there are two lots, the existing lot and next to it, an empty lot; we’ll expand the building to that lot. on top of that, we’re going to build apartments.


what will go downstairs? Downstairs is going to be Sly’s, a seafood and steak


dinner house. James Sly was the head chef at lucky’s in Montecito. he’s going to be owning and operating. we had a lot of interest when i bought the building.


People all the way from oxnard to los Angeles wanted to rent. i had my heart set on Sly. i wanted someone who was hands on. he’s experienced and he’s going to do really well.


ABOVE, Chef James Sly with his catch of the day. His restaurant, Sly’s, makes its home in Perera’s building in downtown Carpinteria.


RIGHT, Porch, a home furnishings store on Carpinteria Avenue, is a new tenant of Perera’s. Owners Christie Boyd and Diana Dolan, both Carpinterians, noted it was important for Perera to lease the property to someone local and part of the community.


96 CARPINTERIAMAGAZINE


COLLINS


GROVES


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