Small Business Survival

When Bank of America issues a report on small businesses, listen up: It found that business owners remain resilient and flexible: 87% of small businesses in Miami have remained open in some capacity amid the pandemic and shutdowns—either by adjusting operations (63%) or as an essential business (24%). It’s a story that resonates throughout the greater Miami metro area.

“We had to transform how we did business and we’re still in a learning stage, changing every day,” says Tim Petrillo, CEO and founder of The Restaurant People. And we’ve recognized that since we’ve reopened that we’re no longer a high-touch game where people were taken care of. We used to have a network of teams and we had to break that down, and integrate as much technology as we can use, with digital menus. Now hospitality is all about safety. We want to make sure our guests feel safe and minimize interacting. One server is key, and we no longer have a lot of people approaching the table.”

Other members of that 87% owe their survival to the particulars of the pandemic. Beyond the obvious essential services like grocery stores, pharmacies and UPS storefronts, society has tilted toward two tangibles: the laptop and the sofa.

Digital services like PeakActivity have flourished as online lives have expanded even more. CEO Manish Hirapara says that COVID-19 pandemic only caused his business to slow for a few months last spring, “then came back with a roar.”

Home life has also expanded, which is why interior designers have kept active. “We have fared really well—thank God we are really busy,” says Giselle Loor Sugerman, principal of B+G Design. “We feel that since so many people are spending more time at home, they understand the value of good design. Clients want home offices, gyms, spas, outdoor areas for entertaining and media rooms.”

“We really haven’t had to adjust,” says Todd Davis, principal of Brown Davis Architecture & Interiors. “At the start of COVID, some clients put their projects on a temporary hold but most started back up after a few months. Other clients never stopped their projects. The big news is that many wealthy people from New York bought places in Miami and we have signed on new projects. Most of these transplants are making Miami their permanent home for tax reasons, and I see this as another step in Miami transforming to a large, multicultural, international city.”

Versatility—not just services, but services and goods—has also aided Brown Davis’ success: “Our furniture line has continued to sell well across the country.” Cue the couch, preferably with laptop close at hand.

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.