Coral Gables businesses dress to impress – and win awards
Someday soon, New York City may have nothing on the “City Beautiful” when it comes to dazzling lights and window displays.
Coral Gables now has a Festival of Lights and Holiday Storefront Display Awards programs to encourage businesses to indulge big-time in the holiday spirit. The goal is to make the city lighter and brighter than ever, attracting holiday shoppers and lifting the local economy.
One business taking part is Reminiscence Fine Gifts and Antiques, 357 Miracle Mile, where a staffer explained that “a great window display reflects what’s inside, especially at Christmastime.”
The city “wants to highlight those businesses that are going the extra mile to attract shoppers and visitors,” City Commissioner Frank Quesada explained in an announcement on the city’s website about the programs.
The Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce and the Business Improvement District (BID) are collaborating on the effort. Composed of merchants and property owners, the BID promotes the commercial vitality of Miracle Mile and downtown Coral Gables.
In the Coral Gables Festival of Lights, launched Nov. 17, businesses in the district and the Village of Merrick Park vie to outshine each other with all-white illuminations. The competition ends Jan. 13, when winners are announced in each of three categories: best retail store lighting, best restaurant lighting and best office lighting.
The Storefront Display Awards program started Nov. 24, the weekend after Thanksgiving on Small Business Saturday, which American Express organized to support shopping locally. Open to all businesses in Coral Gables, the program promotes the creation of elaborate window displays for the holiday season and Valentine’s Day. Winners will be announced on Thursday, Dec. 20, at the chamber’s Good Morning Coral Gables breakfast.
Residents were urged to nominate businesses for awards in either program by filling out the form (and, it is hoped, attaching a photo) at www.coralgables.com/holiday. The awards committees of both events are composed of representatives from the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, BID, the Village of Merrick Park and the city.
Winning businesses are presented awards and proclamations of appreciation at a chamber of commerce event, promoted around the state and provided a one-year membership in the Florida Retail Federation. One winner has the chance to register for the two-day Retail Smarter Conference in June where diverse retailers engage participants in panel discussions and networking.
Kerri Arfa is a sophomore majoring in public relations at the University of Miami. A New York native, she is celebrating this year’s holiday in her new home in the Residences at Merrick Park.