Thank you for thinking BIG and shopping small!

Mark Trowbridge, President and CEO of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce

On Saturday November 27, our Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce and the local business community celebrated Small Business Saturday in The City Beautiful. For the past 11 years, we’ve been at the forefront of this national laser-driven movement focused on small-scale purchasing and supporting our local businesses.

Whether it’s a local cafe, a neighborhood dry cleaner, a mom and pop retailer, or a favorite hidden gem for lunch, Small Business Saturday’s goal is simple: to buy. local, buy local and support local.

Thanks to the owners of Bliss Imprints & Gifts (located at 293 Miracle Mile), Eddy and Marilyn Martinez, we hosted an amazing launch event that morning, led by Coral Gables Mayor Vince Lago, County Mayor Daniella Levine -Cava’s Small Business Lead Danilo Vargas, SBA Deputy Director for the South Florida District, Althea Harris, and many members of the business community. Onsite, several news stations covered the event (Channels 6, 7 and 10), as well as Grant Miller, owner of Miami Community Newspapers, our partner in helping shine the spotlight on local retailers, restaurants and small businesses. companies.

After the launch event at Bliss, our chamber hosted an architectural walking tour, hosted by Jose Estevez, AIA and George Neary from ToursRUs. Twenty-five locals and visitors joined us for a stroll through downtown on a glorious day for a visit, a program offered monthly by our room’s visitor center, in partnership with AIA Miami and the Miami Center for Architecture and Design. For this special session, we complemented the visit with visits to local retailers in honor of Small Business Saturday, including Books & Books, Rose Tree Cottage and J. Bolado. What a great opportunity to see our retailers thrive after what has been a long, winding road to recovery.

After the tour, we had lunch at Craft on Giralda Plaza, known for their Neapolitan pizzas and amazing salads. Owned by two gentlemen who were best friends from their childhood in Argentina, Craft is a quintessential small business in the heart of the gables.

After lunch, the group rolled out for a few more store visits, including a new member, Veranda Plants and Gifts, a new store that just opened at 224 Miracle Mile. There I bought a beautiful plant and a basket, two peppermint candles and a super cool flamingo ornament. After a quick hello to Snow’s Jewelers, I ran into Violetas and had a great conversation with the owner, Patricia Anton-Himmel. I picked up a Jackie Kennedy Kokeshi Figure which will be a great Christmas present for a very special girl.

Then it was off to Artigiano for a new costume where the store was buzzing with customers and salespeople. Every year on SBS, I make a purchase for myself – and there’s nothing more beautiful than a new custom costume. Alex, George, Waldo and their team are not only excellent clothiers, they are extraordinary partners of our Chamber. I made my first purchase there in 2007 – a bespoke Guyabera which was beautiful. Today, almost 15 years later, they made me suits, shirts, sports coats and made sure my set of socks stayed strong! After going through a number of gorgeous fabrics, I went for a thin navy blue stripe that will not only get me noticed, but will be eight inches smaller at the waistline. Now how’s that for small shopping!

As the day progressed towards the start of the evening, I took my leave, thanked the gentlemen for their warm hospitality and returned home. It was a long but incredibly rewarding day. I know our small businesses are not just the backbone of our country’s economy (nearly 31 million people); but, it was the job creators who helped our South Florida economy rebound.

As we continue to grapple with issues related to inflation, supply chain issues, and labor needs, Small Business Saturday reminded us of a very important fact. Small businesses have had two difficult years dealing with the pandemic and its effects on the American consumer. Yet through it all, they have been the pillars, the pillars, the foundation on which we will rebuild our local economy.

For this we are eternally grateful and equally aware of the daily importance of small businesses. They take good care of us every day – so now let’s make sure to take extra care of them this holiday season. Let’s make each day a celebration of shopping small, buying local and supporting our independent businesses which are just amazing.

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