Taste of the Islands, taste of success

Taste of the Islands,
taste of success


Sober Pierre initially came to Charlottesville to get his MBA at UVA’s Darden School. This, along with his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering made him an extremely qualified candidate for corporate America and he held positions at Emerson, Caterpillar and John Deere. After reflection, however, he decided his passion wasn’t for the corporate world; he wanted to follow his heart and do something on his own terms.


In 2013 Pierre founded Pearl Island Foods, LLC to “showcase his Haitian culture, make this flavorful Caribbean food accessible to the Charlottesville community and to possibly create job opportunities in his family’s beloved country of Haiti one day.”


The company began with the production and sales of a unique brand of spicy coleslaw known as Pikliz. Since then, Sober has joined forces with Executive Chef Javier Figueroa-Ray and successfully launched Pearl Island Catering and Pearl Island Cafe, featuring authentic Caribbean cuisine accessible to the Charlottesville area.


Pearl Island’s success didn’t come without growing pains. Pierre, sought help from the Central Virginia SBDC along the way. Business Advisor Dillon Franks has provided research, financial advice and business strategy advice over the years and has assisted Pierre with funding strategy. In the wake of the 2020 pandemic, SBDC’s Small Business Communications Counselor Greg Dorazio assisted Sober and his team as they pivoted to a delivery strategy. To help Sober with personnel challenges caused by COVID-19, Sober leaned on Yolunda Harrell, SBDC Business Advisor.


Pierre has also found time to give back to the local community, serving on the Heal Charlottesville grant fund review committee (part of CACF) and on the board of City Schoolyard Garden. He is also a graduate of CNE’s Board Development Academy.