Coral Gables: A Stage for International Companies

A Global Reach 

Coral Gables has long been heralded for its international business prowess, punching well above its weight for the past 50 years. Whether it be our Sister Cities efforts, celebrated Flags on Ponce program, the 22 trade and consular offices that call the Gables home, new projects eager to relocate to and expand in Coral Gables, or the 130-plus multi-national headquarters found here, we have a tremendous global story to tell. 

Much of this work began under the auspices of the Committee of 21 in the 1970’s, a Chamber initiative that had 21 business members (representing the public and private sectors) whose sole purpose was to grow our international profile. Members were bold in their recruitment, reaching out to corporate brands across the US to bring their Latin American HQ to the Gables. Early arrivals included a regional HQ for Chevron, followed by a cadre of such stars as Bacardi, AmericanAirlines, HBO Latin America, Del Monte Fresh, and Diageo. 

I recently shared the early days of our multi-national footprint with the CEO of Del Monte, Youssef Zakharia, a transplant from Monaco (by way of Lebanon), and the brand’s top man here in The City Beautiful. In just five short years, he and his team have weathered many challenges, including maintaining a global supply chain during the pandemic. With Zakharia’s vision for innovation, he has also introduced a new fast-healthy concept to the office tower, the FRSHst Market, where all the food is fresh, healthy and bright, and ready for a “grab and go.” 

Some days I pinch myself as I walk around the business district of Coral Gables. Iconic names on the façades of our buildings represent some of the most incredible global brands we know, love, trust and patronize. Earlier this year, we welcomed PNC Bank’s regional HQ to the Gables, soon to be joined by a new Loew’s Hotel, ACI Worldwide (from Nebraska – already working with 18 of the 19 top banks in the US), and Friesland Campina, a Dutch-based dairy with a small, but mighty team nestled along the North Ponce Corridor. 

And all of these “gets” have happened in the past six months despite the pandemic, ably recruited by our Chamber, City Economic Development Department, and Miami-Dade’s Beacon Council. This triumvirate of advocates work each day to sell South Florida – and in our case, Coral Gables – to identify relocation projects, promote the assets of The City Beautiful, align our common goals, and leverage our relationships to close the deal. Acting together makes good sense, including workforce development, skill training, incentives, permitting, and integration into the local market. 

As a Chamber, that is what we do best – rolling out the red carpet for the world. Being a player on a global scale is a calling card for our team, and we know that with the current business climate in Florida and the robust recovery already underway, we are poised for incredible results. So, let’s think even more globally as we act locally to ensure collective success.