By Ellen Zoe Golden .Photos courtesy: Lock Cooper
To say that Lock Cooper wears many hats, would not do justice in describing his life here in Tamarindo.
Over the years, he’s helped tourists with their vacations, sold real estate, run a restaurant, created investment opportunities, found funds for other people’s dreams, and so much more.
After 17 years in town, he has, admittedly, settled down since becoming a father to Camilla a year ago with wife Antonella. Sitting amongst what seems like hundreds of bottles of wine at his Bones lounge, THE Tamarindo News listened to his story.
THE Tamarindo News: You are the definitely a Man for All Seasons. Can you run down how you got here from the United States?
Lock Cooper: I’m from Boston, growing up on the North Shore in the town of Essex in a 300-year-old house. Essex was old world rich, mixed in with the dirt poor, like fisherman and the working class. It was a bit of a nightmare. I got into a lot of fights. I’ve been coming here since I was 16, which was the best con I ever pulled off. I got my parents to agree to let me come down to learn Spanish. It was really loose-y goose-y. From there, I traveled down here every year, until after a backpacking trip, I moved to Guatemala. I always knew I would be in Central America. I didn’t know how I would make money, but I knew I’d be here.
TTN: How did you support yourself?
LC: I went to undergrad for two years at Harvard, and from then on became a distance education student studying things like the turtle population in a tent in Ostional. In 2001, when I was 21, I opened the Tamarindo Tourist Center with Ben Ziegler, now owner of Sharky’s. We had no money at the time, but we thought we’d be millionaires. During that time I still took online courses with three-hour lectures by going to Russell’s (Wenrich, owner of the old Tamarindo Resort) because he was the only one with internet. I took classes from MIT as well as Harvard. To this day, I take classes from both; I’m a super duper senior at 37 years old.
TTN:Why do you keep taking courses? LC: I like Environmental Science. I’m a bleeding heart tree hugger. TTN: What was Tamarindo like when you came in 2001?
LC: I have lived forever in Langosta. Back then, there was one house, I had no car, and getting out to Playa Negra was a really big deal. I’ve been surfing and selling real estate the whole time. Then in 2008, the market crashed, no one was making any money, so I started Pothole Magazine, DJed, everyone did a million things to keep alive because no one could sell a house. It’s been quite a path. My passions keep me here. And things have just gotten better. I think I’ve hit my stride in my 30s. Looking back, I built the RPM real estate company and elevated it to a different level of business. I’ve tried 1,000 things, still surfing every day. I bought the space in Langosta that used to be Lily’s restaurant and opened Bokas. I lived upstairs for seven years. I partnered with Laura Fadea. It did really well, and when I got married again in 2016, and had a baby on the way, I sold it because I needed to settle down. Camilla is now a year old and she means everything.
TTN: You said you like to spread yourself thin. What else do you do?
LC: I have Mint Capital, a hedge fund and private equity firm that finances projects in the US, Costa Rica, Belize, and Honduras. Super fun stuff like a powerhouse airport in Belize. And I have a waste water treatment company in the works called Biotratar. com, which is essentially a system where the waste water passes through plants and comes out 95% potable. I’m putting one in Sharky’s so everyone can see the system.
TTN: What is Bones then?
LC: Bones was a conscious decision to get away from just doing real estate and get into selling wine. I always go to Europe for vacations, and when I do I go to vineyards. The idea for Bones came when I saw this burnt out building where we are now when it was bare bones after the fire. Also, becoming a father allows you to figure out what’s important. I’m only open two nights a week, Thursday and Friday, and it gets pretty full in here. As a matter of fact, I’ll have 30 people on the balcony watching everything that’s my distributor within 24 hours.
TNN: Do you make a lot of connections?
LC: People I meet and have met in my real estate career are still some of the most important people in my life. The connections have blossomed into my capital business which have blossomed into my waste water treatment. Somehow it’s all tied together. But what’s really important to me, is still being able to surf, and if I’m not an asshole dad. I’m almost there.