Patrick “Count de Kabob” Rayer was born in Paris and raised in Normandy. He graduated from business school in France and then moved to Dallas to complete his MBA. Patrick loved Texas and traveled to Houston fairly often because he loved Houston’s international flair. While in the city, he learned a lot about different cultures and entranced by Houston’s spell, he decided, with the loving encouragement of his father, to move to Houston. After graduation he landed a job as the buyer for a German company that specialized in building materials. The career move began Patrick’s traveling adventures; he traveled to Brazil, Italy and all around Europe. Once the company split, Patrick found himself looking for new opportunities – one came in the form of a lovely Armenian woman from Iraq who had very close ties to the Armenian community and was close to Bob and Arpi Tcholakian. He married his sweetheart in 1982 and as he says fondly, “Sometimes in life, things turn out good.”
A new grocery chain had moved into Houston from France and it seemed a perfect spot for him until the chain closed its Texan doors. In short order, Patrick moved to France where he found a position with Leroy Merlin, one of the largest European distributors of home improvement products. There was a lot of travel associated with the job and Patrick made over 30 trips to Asia alone! He returned to the states in 1998 to manage Leroy Merlin’s American offices, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.
In early 2000, Patrick’s wise words, “life is about timing,” rang true. Life-changing experiences defined his path. His much-loved father passed away, his wife was involved in a major car accident and his Leroy Merlin contract would soon end in Chicago. In a decision to slow down and travel less, Patrick and his wife moved to Houston. In the city, Patrick worked on several ventures, but found nothing fulfilling to him. Around this time, his son, looking for a job, applied at Phoenicia Specialty Foods and Patrick discovered his fascination with the store and its concept. After a conversation with Bob and Arpi, Patrick found himself with a job! With his incredible buying experience, his accounting acumen and his jovial, kind nature, he has become an integral part of Phoenicia’s management team.
When asked about a few of his favorite things, Patrick mentions a love of French food, model airplanes and shish kabob.