Red Sunset Merchant Association unveils new board at Shula’s 347

(From l to r) Mary Scott Russell, Amy Donner, Oliver von Gundlach, Ivan Mladenovic, Mercedes Garcia, Hans Huseby, Karla Cooper and Francesco Balli

In the elegant black leather and silver chrome lounge of Shula’s 347 Grill, Red Sunset Merchant Association (RSMA) members gathered together recently to sample horsd’oeuvres and enjoy a glass of wine while catching up with old friends and business acquaintances.

It was another big turn-out for the monthly “Merchant Night” gatherings where members and guests meet in the spirit of connections and commerce. Chamber South President Mary Scott Russell spoke above the chatter of a happy restaurant crowd to share RSMA achievements in the past year and introduce the new executive board and board members.

Some of the accomplishments mentioned from President Hans Huseby’s out- going term included a new interactive website that allows members and guests to sign in and share dialogue regarding concerns of area business people. The online merchant survey is one example of the forum where proprietors and patrons can share highlights of what is working downtown and lowlights that need improvement.

Another notable mention was the continuing tradition of RSMA support for annual showcase community events such as Halloween’s Safe Streets and the December Parade of Elves. Quarterly merchant workshop events were also launched to increase communication and ideas for improvement along with fine tuning the email connections where merchants and the community can talk to each other.

Shula’s 347 Grill Managing Partner and new RSMA treasurer, Francesco Balli, said now is the time to come together and reintroduce South Miami to the entire Miami-Dade County community. “We have tremendous opportunity to improve and grow,” said Balli. “The time is right for us to lead the efforts to share what South Miami is all about as an active and diverse opportunity-laden city within the county.”

Plans for the 2012-2013 year under the leadership of incoming President Ivan Mladenovic include: launching a billboard campaign on US 1 to promote area shopping area and related media outreach theme campaigns, evolving Merchant Night into “Pop Up Street” events where potential mobile restaurants and businesses can set up shop to introduce a new dimension of social life and business, and an RSMA Reward Card program.

The new 2012-2013 RSMA executive board is: President Ivan Mladenovic, Vice President Hans Huseby, Secretary Karla Cooper, and Treasurer Francesco Balli. Board members are: Amy Donner, Oliver von Gundlach, Brandon Lurie, and Mercedes Garcia. To find out about RSMA visit:

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