Johnny Yokoyama

by Drago on November 1, 2013

in Uncategorized



Monday Morning Motivator

Quote Of The Week – When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it. (Henry Ford)

Word Of The Week – Profligate (prah-flih-gut) : wildly extravagant, very wasteful
eg : He earned quite a bit of money as a professional athlete, but squandered much of it on his profligate lifestyle.

Proverb Of The Week – Do you see someone who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for them. (Proverbs 29 verse 20 The Bible)


Johnny Yokoyama

This week we share a great message from best-selling author, Joseph Michelli. Joseph wrote, The Starbucks Experience and The Starbucks Way so he has first-hand experience into the lifeblood of one of the most successful brands on the planet. So what does it take to comeback from the verge of bankruptcy to becoming a regular tourist attraction? We find out from Johnny Yokoyama.

Check Out Our Video Of The Week – South Centre VW – 2014 Tiguan

 Johnny Yokoyama’s business was on the brink of bankruptcy. In fact, times had gotten so desperate, that Jonny had to turn to the place that no man likes to go for a loan – his mother-in-law. Johnny’s business suffered from a problem common to small, medium, and even large companies.  He had a quality product but a service experience that did not live up to the product and failed to differential his business from his competitors. In fact, of the four similar businesses in his area, Johnny’s sales productivity was dead last. 

In essence, he was fifth out of five in sales within his brand neighborhood.  In the aftermath of the loan from his mother-in-law, Johnny began to seriously explore why it was that his business struggled. He landed on two conclusions. First, that he had a negative attitude about the very business he was running. Second, he had not created a service experience that would draw people to his business. So, who is Johnny Yokoyama and what is his company?

Johnny is the owner of what is now known as the World Famous Pike Place Fish Market.  Johnny’s attitude toward his business was initially affected by the circumstances by which he came to own the Pike Place Fish Market.  Johnny had always imagined that he would take over his father’s business – a produce stand in the Pike Place Market region above Elliott Bay in Seattle, Washington. Unfortunately, his father’s business was not in existence for Johnny to assume it. Like so many other Japanese- American business owners, Johnny’s father lost the business when he and his family were relocated to internment camps secondary to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Johnny and his siblings were raised for a period of time inside of a barbed wire encampment and lived in a tar paper hut. After internment ended, Johnny’s family returned to Seattle and, having lost their home, resided in government projects. 

Subsequently, Johnny sought employment and found a job behind the counter at the Pike Place Fish Market. In short, Johnny was a disgruntled employee. He would look out each day from the fish stand and see where his father’s business had been. One day the owner of the Pike Place Fish Market turned to Johnny and asked him if he’d like to buy the fish stand for $10,000.  Johnny said no. Through a twisted set of negotiations, Johnny ended up purchasing the business for $3,500. 

Despite the deal, Johnny carried bitterness. From the standpoint of the service experience, Johnny was primarily focused on a product strategy. That is to say, he sought to provide the best quality fish possible and gain market share from the other four fish stands in a several block radius.  In the book When Fish Fly, Johnny and I detail the process by which he reinvented himself, changed his attitude toward his business, and ultimately created a craveable customer experience.  

For the purposes of this short article, suffice it to say that Johnny began to take an interest in others and encourage his team to do the same. In essence, daily staff meetings focused on encouraging everyone at the Pike Place Fish Market to treat customers as if they were world famous.  This simple but important and consistent message was transformative for Johnny and his business.

In fact it led to a best-selling training video called FISH! In turn, that video spawned 6 business books based on the fish mongers of the World Famous Pike Place Fish Market. Johnny’s little fish stand – 1,400 square feet of retail space – is not only the best-selling fish stand in the area, but it has become a tourist destination and his highly engaged team draws customers in with fish throwing, chanting, and an intense level of interest for the experience of those who approach.

If Johnny Yokoyama can transform himself and a business that sells dead fish, what is possible for you in the context of those you serve?

If your business needs a fresh perspective, give us a call or join us on November 18th for a conversation with Joseph. The details are below.

Have a great week unless you choose otherwise.


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Special Invite For Adam Ad Group Clients & MMM Subscribers

We would like to invite you to a conversation with Joseph Michelli, author of The Starbucks Experience and Leading The Starbucks Way on Monday, November 18 at 1pm pacific, 4pm eastern. Our friends Kevin MacDonald and Shelley MacDougall from the Extraordinary Leader Program will host an exciting hour with Joseph and talk about the business principles guiding leaders at Starbucks since the brand’s revitalization.

This tele-class expands on concepts presented in “Leading the Starbucks Way” so you can broaden and deepen connections with your team and customers. Teleclass participants will be provided practical ideas for building customer loyalty, engagement and advocacy. The call will take you inside Starbucks approach to human connection which is aided by technology, designed to transcend geographic boundaries, and committed to leaving a lasting service legacy. So grab your team, staff, managers and join us for this awesome opportunity to learn from one of the greatest brands in the world..

This is a free call, to register please email Jane Adams at


Success Profile


This week’s success profile is two of our clients, West Coast Mazda & West Coast Toyota.

The reason why we want to recognize Brad Hansen and Randy Saunders and their teams are that they are doing exceptional jobs of marketing. We speak a lot about the importance of “Content Creation Marketing” and being committed to providing great content for your customers.

Brad and Randy have done great jobs at being the faces of their businesses, their You Tube Channels have received over 192,000 views and 103,000 views of their videos respectively in just over a year. The impressive fact about these views are that no one ends up on a car dealers You Tube channel for entertainment sake, customers arrive their because they are producing content that they come across when they are searching for information about vehicles.

To view their channels and their videos click on the links.


West Coast Mazda

West Coast Toyota



Perfect for Staff or Client Gifts

Many of you know that my son Caleb has Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes. We are proud of our partnership with Greystone Promotional Productsto offer our clients and subscribers exclusive specials.. If you need gifts for your staff or clients, check out our specials.

You will also be helping us as a portion of all sales will go to support The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation! We have been able to donate over $25,000 so far. Thank You for your support and consideration. If you don’t see what you are looking for in the product specials you can call or visit the website and mention our promo code ADG 1013 to receive discounts on other products..


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