One of the best parts of my job leading our Coral Gables Chamber over the past 13 years has been the relationships I have forged over time, not just with our members, but with our members’ businesses and the amazing products and services they provide.
I am a consumer too, and being a 26-plus-year power purchaser in Greater Miami means that I do my grocery shopping, service buying, personal grooming, professional networking, big picture procurement and individual business here, as well.
I am a long-tenured, hometown-proud, taxpaying Miami-Dade resident who — like you — spends my money right here in the community in support of our local economy. I buy my groceries at our member Publix, get my hair cut and beard trimmed at member Well Groomed Gentleman (thank you, Al, Rick, Brad and Willian), drive a gorgeous silver GL 450 thanks to our Trustee Mercedes-Benz (thank you. Greg, Denie and Robert), buy my coffee and protein shakes at members like House of Per’la, Crema or Cafe Demetrio, watch movies at members Landmark Cinema and Coral Gables Art Cinema (thank you, Steve for always making it great) and I dine every single weekday in The City Beautiful at a chamber member restaurant with prospects and partners and chamber stakeholders.
By the way, my beautiful suits are hand crafted and tailored by Artigiano (thank you, Alex) and it is my great honor to represent the store and its owners in a way that is so organic and authentic. There is no other way to create this magic without me as a literal walking billboard. And, when I have the opportunity to step across their threshold as a consumer, it is like an invitation to being treated like royalty, something that every customer has the opportunity to experience each time they shop in and around the Gables.
Honestly, there is no greater feeling than being a shopper and our chamber president — invested and engaged in our local marketplace. And, to also be a satisfied customer of one of our member businesses, who in turn not only appreciate my businesses, but how I share this gratification with others. We are indeed a community of small and medium-sized businesses and my patronage is as important as your return investment in our community. You are the job creators, taxpayers and every single day investors.
In truth, the calling card of our chamber always has been our ability to connect so significantly at the local community level, while we think, lead and produce at a much higher echelon. This work is what sets us apart from all of our peers and is a personal point of pride as our leader. Our growing and diverse membership is what validates this every day and I am pleased to tell you that as a result, more than 100 new members have joined our chamber in just the past six months. Now that is confidence in us!
While other business organizations constantly re-focus, re-brand and re-tool and offer up what can only be referred to as gimmicks, we remain true and focused on our members and local community. There are no stunts, over-edited press releases and no smoke or mirrors. There is just us, a championship chamber you can trust to be there.
Over the past 94 years, we have relied upon the one thing we know works — supporting each of you and your good work. And so, I remain eternally grateful for the role our chamber plays in your ongoing success.
Mark A. Trowbridge has served as the president and CEO of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce for the past 13 years and has been a proud Miamian for more than 26 years. His is passionate about history, humor and his faithful canine companion, Sir. Winston Churchill.