Mr. James is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of C.H. James & Co., an investment holding company with interests in wholesale food distribution businesses, and is Managing Owner of C.H. James Restaurant Holdings LLC, which owns quick service restaurants. Mr. James is the fourth generation of his family to own and run the wholesale food distribution business founded by his great grandfather in West Virginia. After joining the firm in 1985, Mr. James transformed the firm from a local food distributor to an investment holding company through acquisitions.
C.H. James & Co. is the one of the oldest African-American owned firm in the United States. It was founded in 1883 as a bartering business when 19-year-old C.H. James began bartering pictures of the recently assassinated President Garfield for vegetables.
In 1916 when his son, E.L., joined the company they quit the retail business and became a wholesale fruit and produce distributor.
Today C.H. James & Co. consist of three divisions; North American Produce (NAP), food processing; C.H. James & Co., the wholesale food distribution business which has been in operation for 123 years and Pinnacle, a produce grower, shipper and distributor.
Mr. James serves on the board of directors of Wintrust Financial Corp., Summit Housing Partners, Morehouse College, the Children's Memorial Hospital and Lake Forest Bank.