From a college dropout working as a bartender to an accomplished entrepreneur, Alex Papas has ventured into many industries finding success everywhere he goes. Having early success in real estate and inventing, Alex shares how he did it as well as his latest endeavors and how his club, South Florida Toys, remains Florida’s elite luxury lifestyle enthusiast club.
Why did you quit school to become a bartender instead of balancing out both?
I quit college because I knew that I could make a lot more money than being an auto tech guy, so I walk out in my first year. When I left I didn’t know what to do so I became a bartender.
How did you first get involved in real estate?
In the years of bartending I was approached by a big real estate broker and he told me that I could be unbelievable in selling real estate because of my personality and my sales skills. So I went to real estate school and got my real estate license in New York. I stated working in real estate and then was approached by the Patten Corporation, the largest land development company in the U.S. Then in the time I was there I got into building homes in upstate New York. Then the real estate collapsed when IBM Corporation restructured to laid off thousands of people in upstate New York.
What happened after that?
After this I didn’t know what I was going to do, so I packed up and moved to South Florida. I hooked up with a friend of mine that had a contract with ABC and Don Johnson Productions and we went into business together and I was doing deals selling the show. However, a friend called me and said “Did you hear what a prepaid phone card is? They are selling these in Europe.”
What was your involvement in the prepaid phone card industry?
I didn’t know what the hell a prepaid phone card was. So I looked into this and saw that I can do this and make major deals with MCI and AT&T. So I started to make promotional prepaid phone card for major corporations that had 10 and 20 minute cards so they could hand them out for their employees and customers. Seeing that this work so well I started to make $10 and $20 prepaid phone cards and started selling them in Chinatown in New York and saw this was a huge success and then realized this was going to be huge. I have been credited for creating and developing the prepaid phone card in the United States. Then I started selling all over the U.S. and to convenient stores and Bodegas.. I did this for over 20 years and had enough and wanted to move on…
What did you move onto next?
I started talking to my friends and asked them what they wanted to do when they want to relax and they all said they want to be on a island. I then had a great idea to go find an island for my friends and other real estate moguls for a private island. I looked all around the Bahamas and bumped into David Sklar in the Bahamas and we started to talk. He already did a project in the Bahamas so me and him looked at an island that we both knew about and said after walking this 35 acre island, “this is it”, and then I said why don’t we get you and your guys together with my guys and let’s buy this island to develop because this was too big of a project for me or him to handle alone. So weeks later I got both sides to agree to this great island idea. so I said lets call it “Star Island.” It took 3 years to get all the approvals and now it’s ready to be developed. In that time we said lets make it the first green island in the world…
Tell us what you have planned and what you mean by green?
This luxurious 5-diamond private island community is nestled at the northern end of the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas. Just a 55 min flight away from Palm Beach, Ft Lauderdale or Miami and only a 10 min boat ride to the island and Harbour Island is also only a 10 min boat ride away, yet light years away in its unique culture and ambiance of unhurried ease. Star Island will be self-sustaining, using solar, wind, hydropower, and bio-fuel energy resources. This 35-acre private island paradise will consist of 45 beachfront and dockage estate lots, waterfront Villa’s and bungalows. The island will have every amenity possible including world renowned restaurants, cafes, boutiques, club house, grocery store, tennis courts, state of the art fitness center & high end spa, marina, helicopter pad, and a park. Thousands of palm trees will cover the island and its beautiful sandy beaches. The island has the best bone fishing in the world. The entire island will be managed as a 5 diamond hotel.
What other ventures are you currently working on?
Two years ago the real estate market crashed and I had to make a big move to do something else to make money. I was in the kitchen with my girlfriend and I was taking about candy and she was talking about nutrition and then it clicked. We both said why don’t we make a candy with vitamins in it and no caffeine. Well I knew that this is a great idea knowing that I had over 100,000 convenient stores and Bodegas that were my distributors from my prepaid phone card days who were still contacting asking me for any great deals that I would be doing. So I contacted a candy company that I knew from my child days in Italy and started to create and develop this idea. After a lot of scientific testing and taste testing it was ready to launch. Now 2 years later Kabang Energy Candy is in all Walgreens nationwide and Rite Aid on the West coast and thousand of convenient stores in the U.S.
Tell us a little about Kabang Energy candy.
Kabang Energy Candy is the Elite in energy candy. Kabang is made in Italy with highest quality ingredients. Kabang is available in 4 unique flavors (Apple, Cherry, Grape and Watermelon) . As you get closer to the center you will then have a blast of more flavor and energy that explodes in your mouth. Kabang Energy Candy contains 100% of the RDA of Vitamins B6, B12, C plus Ginseng. Kabang contains only 3 grams of sugar only 15 Calories, only 5 carbs, and no caffeine. Finally a great tasting energy candy that kids & adults can have without the jitters. Plus it’s good for everyone. Kabang Energy Candy at all Walgreens nationwide, participating Rite Aids, and at your nearest convenient store, gas station, candy store, health food stores, health clubs, college bookstores, stadiums, hotel gift shops, night clubs, and delis.
Anything new planned for 2011?
In April 2011 we are bringing the the first patented lip gloss called Bangalicious Lip Gloss. Bangalicious Lip Gloss is made with the highest grade ingredients. Bangalicious Lip Gloss contains Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Plus SPF 20. Bangalicious Lip Gloss is cruelty free, super shiny, has a luscious shimmer, a splendid sparkle, and a cooling tingle. The Bangalicious Lip Gloss retractor is imbedded with the world’s finest Swarovski crystals. The Bangalicious Lip Gloss formula was created by US chemist who holds over 30 years working for the Estee Lauder company and is a leader within his industry. The Bangalicious formula is made with the highest grade ingredients that are purchased within the USA.
Any mistakes along the way?
I should of kept more money than spending it when I was young. Spending money on stupid things was very stupid, money means so much more now than when I was young and immature.
What motivates you to keep creating business after business?
I get bored if I’m not making money. I love to think of great ideas and one after hundreds of ideas that go through my head one will click and then I go and get that idea to the public.
What is South Florida Toys about and what kind of members can join?
In 2006 I bought my first Lamborghini Murcielago and then got my friends together and started South Florida Toys. South Florida Toys is an elite club for guys and girls that own the most exotic toys in the world. South Florida Toys gets together once a month to have the most exciting weekends with their toys. SFT Elite Club gets families together for fun times everywhere they go. SFT elite club is for anybody that owns supercars, offshore powerboats, custom choppers, and private jets that want to have fun. All our events are shot in HD with camera crews on the ground and in the air to give our elite members an HD DVD that they can share with friends and family. I have been putting together these awesome events for the last 5 years.
What kind of cars are in your stable right now?
Mansory Bentley Continental GT
Custom Yellow Lamborghini Chopper
Mercedes CLS55 AMG
What is your definition of success?
Work your ass off don’t ever work for someone else.
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
Making more money and spending time with my wife traveling around the world.
We want to thank Alex for sharing his success story with us all. For more information on his businesses, you can find their respective websites at: