Here is an interview Sunshine International CEO Mr. Andrew Stocks; one of Hua Hin’s well known business personalities.
How long have you lived in Hua Hin?
ANDREW: I guess now around 14 years.
Has it changed much over the years?
ANDREW: Oh yes! When I first came to Hua Hin there was only a tiny old shopping mall, there were hardly any brand names here and the road coming from Bangkok was just a single track, mostly a dirt road.
How is Sunshine International doing as a company through Covid times?
ANDREW: It’s certainly much slower than previously, due to foreigners not being allowed in yet, but I am still hoping that very soon from now, they will be allowed into Thailand.
I also heard this morning that the Government is seriously considering giving foreign nationals a
resident permit if they purchase a condo here. This is awesome news for many people, who are considering moving to Thailand.
We heard that you have spent over 20 million baht on opening up a new Sky Bar and restaurant in the middle of nowhere. Isn’t that taking too big of a chance, spending all that money.
ANDREW: I don’t think so. We have a top international chef selling top class food, we have top class service, and we have an incredible 360° view.
I was never one for being a follower, I was always a leader and people always go where the food is good! My Chef uses only the finest ingredients and I sincerely believe, the restaurant will do well. It is already doing well now.
How about the protests going on in Bangkok now, do you get scared they will stop the tourists coming in?
ANDREW: Certainly not, Thailand has been having protests for years and years and it’s rare, if ever, a foreigner has been involved. Most of the protests are in Bangkok and tourists mainly spend their time in other areas.
How did the opening go of your new residence Sunshine Hills?
ANDREW: It went well. We had a few teething problems, but we have got most of them sorted out now. Some of our customers are already living there and enjoying their retirement.
Do you think once Thailand does open fully, people will still want to come back to Thailand?
ANDREW: Oh yes for sure. We get emails all the time asking when will Thailand open. Thailand is still a wonderful place to retire to. It has everything you could wish for – sunshine every day, cheaper living costs, better care, world class golf courses, excellent food, cheaper hospitals with better service and it’s just an amazing place to live.
How about your hotels in Pattaya and Chiang Mai, are they still going ahead?
ANDREW: Regarding Chiang Mai, the plans are still being drawn up by our architects, but we won’t start sales until Thailand is fully open again. Pattaya is still on hold due to lack of people going there, but I feel confident Pattaya will come back quickly once Thailand opens.
Do you enjoy your work and why are you successful?
ANDREW: Yes I do enjoy it very much! I would never do it if I didn’t enjoy it. I work for the challenge. I don’t work for the money. I am passionate about my work.
Passion is what makes my business go around. You can feel my passion all the way down throughout my company. Sunshine is not just a constructed building that makes money, it is built with passion and our guests feel that when they want to buy a pool villa or an apartment.
What things don’t you like about Thailand?
ANDREW: Well I guess we all have things we don’t like about any country. Thailand is far from perfect by any means, but overall it’s a wonderful country to live in with some wonderful people.
The local Thai people are so giving and generous. Sometimes I would like things to be done quicker, but I guess Thailand is too laid back for my expectations.
Where do you see yourself in ten more years?
ANDREW: Oh I am always one for vision, but I guess I will have retired by then. I don’t plan to continue to work for many more years. Life is too short, and I want a bit of time for myself too.
Over the past few years, I have been dedicating my life to helping others, dedicating much of my time to my business, and I feel, in another few years, I should spend the time on myself.
How do you control so much at one time?
Well I was taught to hire the right staff. Staff who are better than me. Staff who are capable of making good decisions. I still like to know everything and I closely watch what’s going. If i don’t like any of the decisions that have been made, in most cases, they can be reversed.
Tell me a little more about Sunshine Hills and your new hotel Sunshine Prestige.
ANDREW: Oh they are so different, Sunshine Hills is on a small scale, and is very personal. It is like a big family.
Sunshine Prestige, on the other hand, is for those who like big and luxurious living. Sunshine Prestige will be one of the finest first class hotels in Hua Hin and it will surely compete with the big brands in looks and services offered.
For much of my life, I have lived in four and five star hotels, and I loved every minute of the service, and that’s why I wanted to create this first class superior hotel where people can afford to live in one all year around.
Will you keep a residence in Prestige?
ANDREW: Originally I wanted to keep a residence in Sunshine Hills, but sadly it got sold as someone really wanted to buy it. Maybe in the future, if someone sells one on the higher floors, I could get it back! So I hope that I get to keep one of the Penthouses in Prestige this time.
Do you have lots of stress?
ANDREW: Normally I don’t, but I do feel the stress when new projects open, with things being rushed to be open on time. That stresses me a lot, but most of the year, no – I am ok. I don’t like being stressed. I try to sleep early by 8 or 9 if I can, so I am well prepared for the next day……
Why is Sunshine so successful?
ANDREW: Oh I think it’s because we concentrate on the small things. Everything we do comes with a personal touch.
We don’t tell people we are the best we, of course, make mistakes, we are human! But I am sure we try our best and we do everything with our passion, we genuinely love our guests, we care for them and that makes a big difference when someone comes to live here.