A Start-Up by Any Other Name 

Grou Plans to Do Just That – and Help Other New Companies Along the Way 

Since their days as high school sweethearts in Venezuela, Barbara Safina and Orlando Superlano have grown plenty: College in the states. Career starts in Texas. A new baby. 

Now, the couple in their early 30s wants to nurture a broader community. They’ve just opened a hip café and co-working space near the Village of Merrick Park, offering foods and drinks made locally. The name for their emerging community: Grou, a mash-up of the words grow, group and ground. “We want to help businesses grow, bring people together and serve as a platform for local brands who may not have a physical space,” says Barbara, 30, a graduate of the University of Miami. 

Start-Up Owners - Barbara Safina and Orlando Superlano
Owners Barbara Safina and Orlando Superlano Outside Grou, at Merrick Park Village.

The dual concept combines the couple’s individual personalities and their different ways of enjoying coffee. Barbara’s been a marketing consultant and sips to socialize. She runs the café, with 32 seats inside and four seats outside. Orlando was a tennis coach and drinks coffee to focus and become more productive. He runs the co-working space, with eight offices and a conference room. “We grow better together,” says Barbara, lovingly holding their months-old son Adriano. The idea for Grou came partly from the couple’s experience living in Fort Worth, Texas. They liked how local businesses there helped one another: A pizzeria offering desserts from a nearby bakery and then cross-marketing on Instagram, for example. And they appreciated how entrepreneurs there worked to develop a personal relationship both with suppliers and customers. 

Preparing to have a child, the pair chose to move to Miami- Dade to be near family and friends who’d relocated from Venezuela. Relatives had businesses in Coral Gables, so they followed that lead. But starting up Grou took longer than expected – more than a year, both because of Covid-19 delays and the complexity of permits, especially for plumbing and other needs for a new food business. Orlando says he initially left all permitting issues to their contractor, who was juggling multiple jobs across the county. Later he chose to work “hands-on,” talking directly to city employees about requirements and next steps – a shift that helped speed the process and calm his nerves. 

Grou Café and co-working space, has 32 seats inside and four seats outside with eight offices and a conference room.

His advice to other entrepreneurs entering Coral Gables: Get involved with the city. Ask questions. Learn the system. Get phone numbers for city departments. Be present when inspectors come. “The city building code is complicated, if you don’t know it,” says Orlando, 33, a graduate of Texas Christian University. “When we got hands-on, we found that people in the city were happy to help.” 

Opened in December, Grou’s café at 4100 Salzedo St. already is gaining a following. Customers like the distinctive wares made in greater Miami: coffee from Per’La Specialty Roasters, teas from My Tea Bar, vegan empanadas from The Plantisserie, and cookies from Madame Lecker, to name a few. And they’re keen on signature drinks like Mojito Brew, a coffee lemonade made with cold brew and fresh mint. 

Being co-entrepreneurs is a long way from when the couple first met in 2005 at a tennis center in Caracas, splitting to attend separate U.S. colleges and then reconnecting through friends, marrying in 2016. Now, says Barbara, “We talk things through all the time – so we can grow.” 


4100 Salzedo St #5
33146 (305) 639-8218