John Edward Smith, Publisher & Creative Director


Season’s Greetings!  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 “Main Street Happenings.”  We have many great family-oriented events happening in our hometown.Our two art festivals, Santa’s Parade of the Elves, Safe Streets Halloween and more are part of the fabric of what makes SOMI so special.

For the past thirty-plus years as an image marketing 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 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.

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 announcement of our tenth anniversary with our first issue of Volume X was well received.  Thanks to the many readers who passed on their congratulations; it was much appreciated. We came into our tenth year with a new neon SOMI logo and a special tenth anniversary masthead.  And we’ve got a whole new look online as well; check us out at somimag.loc.

And as we observe our milestone tenth year we acknowledge businesses in SOMI who are also observing 10, 20, 30 years or more.  In this issue we’ve highlighted John the Tailor and Big Cheese (“Il Grande Formaggio,” as we call it at home).  In upcoming Volume X issues other businesses will be visited.

In this our traditional holiday issue we’ve included some recipes for holiday champagne and cocktails and special traditional fish observances.  We’ve got some new businesses around town: arango, the iconic modernistic furnishings store has moved from the mall to main street, surf’s up on US1, Marhaba restaurant has re-opened, Mellow Mushroom is planning a mid-January opening as is a new entertainment concept at the Municipal Garage. Exciting things happening in SOMI!

I must commend the City of South Miami administration for their attention to the beautification needs in our retail and restaurant district with sidewalk repairs, tree plantings, attending to the flower planters and more.

And at long last, the Sunset Drive median strip at The Shops at Sunset Place is done!  This space was a turn lane into the shops that was never used from the get-go.  Rather it became a truck unloading zone right on our main street.  I’ve been advocating for the median strip for the last decade, and with the ebb and flow of city managers and planning directors, it had to be revisited time and time again.

And on my New Year’s Resolution List is to continue to push for more pedestrian safety concerns, with crosswalk lights in the street and how about some police enforcement.  We definitely need a landscaped pedestrian crosswalk across Red Road at 73rd Street – that’s something that simply has to get done with the cooperation of the county.

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.”

And so after, Grey Thursday, Black Friday, Shop Small Saturday and Cyber Monday, I hope you can enjoy the pleasant presence of family and friends in this joyous holiday season.

Enjoy the SOMI experience in 2015!

All the best,


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