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Monday, May 12, 2014

Mixing village life with corporate life

The complexion of the village is changing, and what I mean is that it's going from a small village which consisted of retail and restaurants to the addition of being a corporate place with the addition of SapientNitro, the large ad agency that took over most of the Shoppes of Mayfair space from Mary Street to Virginia Street.

For almost 150 years, the Grove has been a small place where everybody knew your name. And where people chose to come and live or work. Now it seems like a lot of people come in at 9 and leave at 5 (I know ad agencies usually work many more hours than that). That is giving us two Coconut Groves, there is the daytime office group and then at night, another group, the bar and dinner crowd come in, which has always been the way it was. To their credit the daytime office workers are out in force at lunchtime spending time and money in the village, which was quiet on weekdays before they arrived. I'm sure the restaurant owners love it.

I sometimes wonder if the newbies like it, they don't say much to the locals. They come out in droves at lunchtime, in small groups of three to seven, and they keep to their own cliques. I guess they are still feeling their way around. But 
I see it as this, they were told one day to pack their stuff and move to their new office in Coconut Grove. They had no say in the matter. So do they like the small village feel or would they prefer downtown or Brickell or South Beach where they came from?

A couple of times recently, a Ben & Jerry's truck stopped in the Grove. In the past, food trucks would come to the Mayfair and also to Food Truck Friday at the Coconut Grove Bank. The best part of this wasn't the food, it was the friendly atmosphere where everyone got to visit with each other for that short time. It was fun. I used to meet so many great people from the local offices who I would then get involved in various Grove activities from the Bed Race to the Chamber of Commerce. Here's hoping these new faces will eventually be part of our village life.

Last week a bunch of the office workers had a birthday party for one of their co-workers at the Bookstore, they hung balloons and streamers and had cakes and cupcakes and it was great seeing them take advantage of the community space there. Under normal circumstances they would have said, "hi," and mentioned whose birthday it was and maybe they would have asked if I wanted a cupcake, but they don't seem to be at that comfortable stage yet.

But they are getting there. SapientNitro did make a splash at the Bed Race this year, beating our Grove-50 cops in the corporate category. I'm sure they will be back this fall to challenge the police again.

One interesting thing happened a couple of weeks ago, though, it was late on a Friday afternoon, I was with two friends standing and talking on Grand Avenue, one friend had his dog, you know it was a typical Grove scene. A couple of the Sapient people came out and told us to be quiet (in a polite way), because they had a meeting going on. Perhaps we were too loud, but we were out on a public street, near the bus stop, doing what we always do - we were being village-y. On a Friday afternoon.  It was just an interesting experience. I didn't know how to take it. I wasn't insulted or anything, I just didn't know how to react.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, how rude! Maybe they should have sound proofed their offices. I cannot believe they told you to be quiet! Big Balls! You should have said NO. What if you were tourists and someone told you to be quiet you would never come back!

May 12, 2014 1:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So sad whats happening in the grove.the mayfair should be full of nightlife like it onces was :( please lets get rid of these old farts and bring are old grove back.

May 12, 2014 3:24 PM  
Blogger Tony Scornavacca Jr. said...

For a village like the Grove, retail stores are a lot better than offices. Unfortunately, it's the lack of pedestrian traffic that caused this change to occur. The owners of the buildings (like Mayfair) need tenants who will survive, so they seek out office tenants. The employees will likely gravitate to the Grove when they want to live in a desirable place with a short commute.

May 13, 2014 5:52 AM  
Anonymous kerri bermont said...

More people in the Grove during the day! Yay!
There have been too many empty store fronts and failed restaurants for too long. Hopefully as the new workers continue to discover the pleasures of working in our village, they will shop in our stores, go to the florist shop, stroll our shaded streets and enjoy the ambiance. Since the Playhouse closed (that has been truly a tragic loss for the Grove), the restaurants near it have had to struggle and most do not survive. Hopefully the hundreds of new workers will help that situation. I, for one, am delighted that Mayfair is occupied and welcome them to our very special and unique village.

May 13, 2014 8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was down in Key West over the weekend, and a group of older "locals" (like the Grove, nobody was born or raised there) there had the sack to yell at a bunch of us in Duval Street watching a free concert that we were all "tourist jackasses." It reminded me a lot of the older Grovites who always need to remind us about how great the "Old Grove" was when they were young and they were the ones who wanted to more here, work and play here. Jon Stewart tells a funny joke about his grandfather immigrating to the US and when he gets off the boat he turns around and yells "all you foreign bastards go back to where you came from!" Its sad that so little changes in the Grove.

May 13, 2014 8:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess the windows of the office space are not hurricane proof windows because if they were they would be sound proof. Their landlord should modernize and install hurricane proof windows.

May 17, 2014 12:43 PM  

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