Amy Donner.

In what part of town do you live?
High Pines

Where are you originally from and what brought you to town?
My family migrated from Chicago, Illinois in 1965. I was one of eight kids. We grew up in Coral Gables. Ironically, my father, Martin, came here to start a magazine – called the Beachcomber. It had Johnny Walker on the inside cover and Jane Fonda on the cover. He published a single issue. Then he became the village cobbler in Coconut Grove and also made Martin Burgers on the patio of the Taurus. He would hijack the patio at lunchtime and make burgers. He was a Coconut Grove character.

Following in your father’s footsteps, you too publish a magazine. Would you share about your role?
I’m in local publishing. My most recent project is as the associate publisher of the Coral Gables magazine. We’re a journalistic magazine that’s on par with the city. We’re coming up on our second anniversary in April. It’s been a whole bunch of fun. We’re a small team, six of us, just cranking it out every day. J.P. Faber is the editor and Richard Roffman is the publisher. They have published a lot of things together, including Miami Magazine in the 80’s. They saw what I saw in Coral Gables. I was looking to start something, and then they came in, and it was even better. It’s been super fun. The reception from the community and the kind of communication that we’re having is exhilarating. 

I also work at Miami’s Community Newspapers. There’s a local newspaper called the Coral Gables News. They’re different in style and format, but together that’s sort of the local Coral Gables news. There are a lot of blogs and newsletters and different things going out, but they always have an agenda. Our magazine is very authentic – with a true separation of church and state between the editorial and the advertising department. I haven’t seen that kind of separation since I worked for Conde Nast at the New Yorker.

What types of things are you covering?
We did an innovation section in June. We wanted to show all the great innovations in the city and we thought we were going to have stories about the little offices at WeWork. We ended up with a 56 page special insert and almost all the stories were about the city itself. From the police department in parks and recreation to the IT department working with Florida Power and Light, everybody at the city is really working to solve problems.

What is the role of an Associate Publisher?
My job is to make the magazine profitable. We’re a small team, so we all contribute to the direction that we’re going to take on different issues, but my primary responsibility is to bring in the money. I do that through ad sales in print and online.

From your perspective, can you give advice on what makes an ad campaign successful?
A campaign works when it includes all of the elements. For example, your fruit won’t grow if it has water but no sun; it needs to have all the things to work. Your ad campaigns work the same way. You need to reach people in email. You need to have a good website. You need to also reach them in some printed material. You need all of the spokes of the wheel to be operating together and then the machine starts to work. It’s this magic mix that comes together and makes your brand come to life for people. We are sensory individuals and your message resonates differently through each of the senses. If you want to be remembered, you should touch people in all of the ways that you can. For LNB, it would start with a taste. And you have a great new website and you’re doing these newsletters that are very powerful.  

What do you enjoy most about your job?
I literally love the city of Coral Gables. When my family moved here, I knew my life had changed. I could ride my bike to the youth center. I could walk, as a five year old, to Venetian Pool. Consistently through the years they’ve done the right things. It’s beautifully run and it’s a beautiful city. There’s five arborists that work for the city of Coral Gables and the business leaders in the community are tremendous leaders. I love uncovering new places and working with people to connect in the community because the local market is the most significant part of their businesses. I love figuring out a digital strategy that works for them at a price they can afford. It’s challenging and fun.

How often do you come to the Pinecrest Market?
Every other week.

What do you enjoy about the Pinecrest market?
The setup is precious. The trees are beautiful. I love to ride my bike there.

What’s your market ritual like?
Sometimes, I park the car, go to you to get my turmeric and guacamole and leave. Sometimes, I eat and wander around and go into the cafe at the garden. It’s very nice. Sometimes, I go to Flip and get pickles or buy some fancy chocolate. There’s really no good vegetables anymore because Margie’s not there.

How are you using our turmeric?
I consider it very critical for my health. I had some tightness in my hands, which I think is arthritis. and I had a knob on a finger that I don’t have anymore. I’m pretty confident that it’s a factor.

What do you think would make the market better?
I’d like a way to pay just once, like in the grocery store where you checkout and pay once. What if everybody gave me a receipt and then somehow I checked out. Also, music too!

What restaurants do you like to go to?
I do like to try new places, because we’re covering new restaurants all the time. There’s a new place on a new Mediterranean place called T U R on Giralda. It’s super clean and very good. I like my food deconstructed, I like to see what it is. Caja Caliente is really good Cuban food done by a young 25 year old named Monica. I like to eat at the bar at Zucca at St Michele. It’s super fun and the hotel is beautiful. Their charcuterie board is great. It has this European feeling and I feel like I’m somewhere else when I go there. Also, soup at Miss Saigon on Giralda and they have a location in Pinecrest. It’s very good and you can eat there all the time.

Where do you like to go for a special occasion?
We have some new places that are incredible. Fiola’s is pretty special. You feel like you’re in DC. I like to feel transported. On Biscayne, there’s Cafe Roval. It’d be a great Valentine’s date place.

What’s Miami’s best kept secret?
I ask people all the time if they’ve been and often, they say no, to me it’s Venetian Pool. They’ve renovated it back to its historical feel, with all of the waterfalls. You’re not allowed to dive off the top anymore, because you know, you’re not allowed to do anything anymore. It’s such a beautiful place to go if you just want to take photographs or bring someone who comes into town. There’s nothing like it. You don’t need to spend the whole day there, just a couple hours.

What’s a worthy splurge for you?
Ballroom dance lessons at Fred Astaire in the Gables. I get a lot of out of it, including good posture.

What’s a good rainy-day activity?
Anything that you do when it’s sunny, just do it in the rain. I love the rain.

What community events are coming up that you might like to promote or share?
On February 22nd, we’re having the first ever great Coral Gables scavenger hunt. It’s starting at the Coral Gables museum around noon. You’ll meet at the museum, get your clues, head out across the city with your crew or by yourself, fill out your sheet, get all your answers, and come back to the museum. We’ll have some libations and some prizes and it’s going to be a lot of fun.