In what part of town do you live?
And how long have you lived in the area?
Over 30 years. I’m a native. I grew up in Miami Beach and have lived in South Florida my whole life.
Would you tell us a little bit about what you do during the week?
I’m a procurement manager for a local casino.
What does ‘procurement’ entail?
Imagine a casino and imagine all the things that go into it. I procure everything. If you look around the room you’re sitting in right now and said, I have to buy all these things. The volume of items add up quickly. Everything from pencils to phones to computers – everything in that room. The paint that goes on the wall, the dry wall, all of those things and then all the elements that you use when you game, the furniture, fixtures, equipment – even vehicles. I’ve purchased all of those things.
What is it like working in the casino business?
It’s very exciting. It’s never boring, I learn something new every single day. You get a lot of new faces and you get a lot of familiar faces. It’s a very stimulating and exciting environment to be in.
How did you get into this role?
I’ve always been drawn to hospitality – everything from cruise ships to hotels to gaming facilities. I am just fascinated by working with people and serving people.
When we think of experience being one of the most important parts of a business these days, hospitality seems like the profession of the future. How can we learn to improve our hospitality in everyday business?
I would agree with that. I think it goes back to putting a smile on guest’s faces. It’s about exceeding expectations and doing that on a consistent level. We always talk about striving for a high bar and maintaining that consistency is always the challenge and the hard part. If you can do that, you establish your brand, your standard, and when you exceed that while making people happy – that’s what hospitality is all about.
At scale, how do you strive for consistency?
Well, you must have a standard. First of all, you have to establish a standard, whether it’s a product standard, a performance standard, or a service standard. And you need to perform to that level, at a very minimum, every day, each and every time. You know, one of the things I look forward to on Sunday morning is your stand.
At no time have I had an inconsistent smoothie. I wouldn’t say this, and I wouldn’t even agree to have to talk in this kind of a setting, if I didn’t respect the job that you all do. Your smoothies are so consistent. They never have varied one bit. That’s the flavor profile and it’s your personality. You all come across as you thoroughly and genuinely enjoy what you’re doing. It’s all an extension of what you want to portray. Again, I’m repeating myself, but that’s what hospitality is.
You can draw the analogies and comparisons for what I’m talking about and what I do in my work because it’s fundamentally the same as what you do every weekend. We want to connect in every which way. We want to learn as much as we can about you so that you come back, have a great time, and have a great experience. And your newsletters are great avenue in which to connect.
You and Bonnie are usually our opening bell each Sunday morning. We know the market is starting when you arrive. What is your Sunday ritual like?
We wake up in the morning and we’re there right around 8:30. We’ve got our little Yorkie who looks forward to it every Sunday. I have no idea how the dog knows that it’s Sunday morning, but she does, it’s incredible. We have our little things that we like to do. Bonnie calls her daughter to see what she wants us to bring home. We pick up produce and walk around. And, I look forward to your smoothies. This Sunday I was in line and there was a customer in front of me who said to your wife – ‘I make smoothies all the time and they are never quite as good as yours.’ And I agree. Your wife responded, ‘it’s part of the market experience.’
It’s an impressive operation and you’re excellent in what you do. Whatever you have, they’re delicious flavor profiles. And I see every week, you’re always looking for what can you do to raise your bar – whether it’s those plastic cards and numbers or whether directing traffic so you can improve the flow for your customers. I sit there quietly and nod and always marvel at what you do from week to week to week. That’s what separates you from many other similar businesses.
What do you enjoy most about the farmer’s market?
When we talk, there’s both conscious and subconscious. There’s overt things and covert things that influence your mind when you’re making a decision about doing something in particular. Our particular market has that small town kind of feeling to it. It’s a local market feel. It has an ambiance and setting that is very unique in Pinecrest and it’s special. Then you have the kinds of vendors and the kinds of people that are drawn to them. It is a combination of everything put together to come away with an experience. You say, ‘I want to go back again.’
What would make the market better? What is it missing?
Gosh, I’m so old school. I enjoy it just as it is. I may have a different perspective if I was there when there’s lot of traffic, but we go early just for that reason.
What local restaurants do you like to go to?
Our kitchen, because we both love to cook. We go some Italian restaurants from time to time. We used to love going to Anacapri in Pinecrest all the time.
Where do you go for a special occasion?
Joe’s for sure. Or, this week – we’re going to Captain’s Tavern. That’s an iconic, signature place, where everybody can go and hang out.
What do you all enjoy cooking?
Italian foods. I had a couple of Italian restaurants way back in the day. Italian pizzerias and salads and subs and stuff like that up in Hollywood.
What’s Miami’s best kept secret?
I think one of them is the market for sure.
What is a worthy splurge?
A very expensive bottle of red wine. And some great meat to go with it.
What’s a good rainy-day activity?
Going to a move or hanging out with family. We have a big family on both sides.
What community groups are important to you and Bonnie that you might like to share?
Bonnie does a lot of work with CancerLinQ. They do a tremendous job with breast cancer awareness and they have a great annual event in the fall.
We ask people if they would like to share a pitch about their business, is there anything you would like to add about gaming in South Florida?
You know, Miami and South Florida are such a diverse community with so many different backgrounds. The activities here are as diverse as any place in the world. It truly is a melting pot of culture. Gaming certainly falls in that melting pot and diversity of activities. We have something for everybody. It’s very exciting. But, everything in moderation.
What question would you like to ask us?
I have a question. I am very much impressed with your success that I perceive every Sunday. I actually came one time at 9:30 and I saw your line going already and I just marvel at how you’ve got it down. And so – are you surprised at your own success and how your area has evolved?
(A+W) I guess we don’t see it as success or failure as much as a continuing story every week seeing old friends and meeting new people. It’s continuing a conversation from week to week with each person we meet. After eight years of being there, we have so many conversations going that our stand is always full. Every Sunday morning, in the truck on the way to the market, we ask each other if we’re excited for market day and the answer is always ‘yes.’ It’s the most fun day of the week.
(AS) We can see that. And when I think of success, it is all of those things. All of the things that you just touched upon is what makes it a success. It’s not work.
What question or challenge would you like to pose to the community?
We have very serious challenges with the environment, global warming, and violence. These are not easy problems. There’s a solution and we have to do a better job. There are way too many guns out there. We have global warming as a fact and we really have to find an answer. Money is the reason why we can’t get things done -and that’s the problem. It will take a serious commitment on all of our parts.
Thank you very much. Any final thoughts?
I’m looking forward to my smoothie on Sunday!