Nino Jefferson Lim, based out of Walnut, California, is the Founder of Island Pacific, a supermarket chain found in the state. He has vowed to provide the goods and services to his Filipino community—the largest minority community in California. Nino started Island Pacific Market in March of 2000. He had recently wrapped up his educational career, first obtaining an Associate’s degree at Marymount University and then his Bachelor’s in Accounting from the University of Southern California.
Nino had grown up working in supermarkets. Many of his family members and family friends owned their own stores, including his mother. However, a family friend soon opened an incredibly large Filipino market, driving his mom and her business bankrupt. As just a young man, he promised his mother that one day he would beat out the competition and win back the market. After pursuing his degrees, he had to make the difficult decision as to whether he should pursue a career in New York and begin his own supermarket business.
Always defeating the odds—he had graduated at the bottom of his high school class, only to become Valedictorian in college—Nino Jefferson Lim chose the latter option and opened Island Pacific. After all, he had made a promise to his mother.
His very first location was in Panorama City, California. Though he struggled a bit in the beginning, competing with large supermarket chains and more established local markets, he slowly began creating a space for his business within the California food industry. Today, Island Pacific Markets span 16 locations and recently expanded to Las Vegas.
Since the business began, Nino Lim has been dedicated to supporting the needs of the Filipino community. “Bayanihan,” a word that encapsulates the strong resilience of the Filipino people, is the basis of his mission statement and guiding principles. Nino also feels a responsibility to give back to the communities his stores serve. He and the business support many non-profit organizations and charities. His hope is that their contributions help to further enrich the lives of his patrons and employees, as well as their communities at large.
Nino Jefferson Lim hopes that his work within the food industry will help to further place Filipino culture and its cuisine on the center state. In his free time, he can be found watching basketball and cheering on the Lakers, fishing, watching a new flick on Netflix, or spending quality time with his children. If you’d like to learn more about Nino and his life, please visit his blog.