My daughter, Ashley Waters Smith, joins me in wishing our friends, readers and advertisers all the best for this holiday season.  May you enjoy the companionship of family and friends as you celebrate the season.


Did you survive Grey Thursday, Black Friday, Shop Small Saturday and Cyber Monday?  We’re now fully engaged in the frenzy of the holiday season, and as the catch phrase coined years ago says: “The Holiday Season Starts in South Miami!”  

If you have a moment, pour yourself a cup of coffee and let me spend a few minutes with you as you pore through our latest issue.

Thanksgiving fittingly ushers in the holiday season.  It provides us a good time to reflect and express gratitude before the hustle and bustle otherwise distracts us.

Our cover feature is “Celebrating on Sunset.”  We reflect on the many great family-oriented events happening in our hometown.  Our two art festivals, the Parade of the Elves, Safe Streets Halloween and more are part of the fabric of what makes South Miami so special.

For the past thirty years as an image marketing/public relations consultant with my offices here in South Miami, I’ve had the privilege to work on and help develop some of these events.  In the first Parade of the Elves, my then seven-month old daughter was the littlest elf in the parade riding in a car seat with me as I drove the Grand Marshal’s convertible.  The parade would forever be part of our family, as it is for many other parents (and children), as over the years Ashley would be decked out as a cute elf.  The parade also brought me to a greater awareness of how important celebrated events are in the life of the community.

And now with publishing SOMI Magazine, our philosophy is that the magazine is here to support initiatives to build community.  For example, I’m pleased to see the increased response to SOMIartwalk© among our businesses – it’s a great night to stay open late one Friday a month.  I’m delighted with the participation of our local schools with their presentation of performing and visual arts, and local students serving as Artwalk Ambassadors greeting visitors to our community,

Community events shape who we are, and whether you dress in a Halloween costume with your kids, put on a pair of running shoes for the 5K run, stroll through the artist tents on Sunset Drive for not one, but two annual art shows, or pack a picnic for the July 4th celebration, the experience of coming together is a refreshing and exhilarating experience.

The building of our town center is a significant “branding” effort that requires a sustainable marketing campaign and other infra-structure improvements that will require support from our municipal, county and state elected officials, commercial property owners, our merchants association, other retail and professional businesses, the chamber of commerce – and you, our shoppers and diners, who walk the tree-lined streets in our “hometown.”

While we can be proud of our accomplishments, there are other and equally important initiatives to be undertaken in promoting a unified image in our business and civic districts – our Town Center.  There is a pressing need to work together in realizing this effort, and your input in creating a unified vision for the future is critical – we’ve got much to do together.  I’d like to engage you in a discussion on reaching these goals and creating a vision of this decade: SOMI 20/20 Vision.

And when you hear about an annual “Shop Small” campaign, know that you can do that year ‘round right here in South Miami.

Now it’s your turn to BE PART OF THE CONVERSATIONsm.  Let us know what your take is on what’s happening in SOMI.   In our last issue with the cover feature “SOMI Hot Spots,” many commented on the cover image with the flamenco dancer and the flaming cocktail.  Many also asked for updates on what’s happening in town.  So, you’ll see in this issue on page 41, that we’re looking to list our Hot Spots activities at our various restaurants and bars.  And over the course of this year, we’re working on putting that GO TO list online.

I’d like to thank the many readers who have commented on the magazine’s appeal in capturing our SOMI lifestyle.

Enjoy Volume IX, Number 2, and thanks for sharing SOMI Magazine with friends.

All the best in 2014!


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