My Sanford Magazine - Winter 2021-22

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THE MAGAZINE FOR THE SANFORD FLORIDA LIFESTYLE

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BILINGUAL MAGAZINE

DEC 2021–FEB 2022 QUARTERLY

SANFORD FLORIDA | SEMINOLE COUNTY

MYSANFORDMAGAZINE.COM

Sanford's Positive Community Magazine

FREE

Happy Birthday MY SANFORD MAGAZINE!

Cheers! TO ALEXIA

EMERSON

The Rapid Rise of New Local Neighbor Business Woman

SISTER CITIES

SANFORD and RIONEGRO, COLOMBIA VISIT

SANFORD FOODIE GUIDE SEE INSIDE

SANFORD LOCAL EVENT 365 LOCAL CALENDAR EVENTS


Since 1963, WorldOrlando has served as the local implementer of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). Launched in 1940, the IVLP is a professional exchange program that brings up to 5,000 international leaders to the U.S. each year. More than 200,000 IVLP participants have engaged with Americans, including more than 500 current or former Chiefs of State or Heads of Government, 10 Nobel Laureates, and thousands of private and nonprofit sector leaders.

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IVLP project themes cover a wide range of topics including: cross-border safety and security, combatting human trafficking, countering extremism, cyber-security, democracy, journalism, entrepreneurship, education, human rights, global health, energy security, and more.

The goal of IVLP is to cultivate lasting relationships between current and emerging professionals around the world and their American counterparts, and provide opportunities for foreign opinion makers to gain firsthand knowledge about U.S. society, culture and politics.

The IVLP advances U.S. National Security and boosts our economic competitiveness by connecting Americans with their international counterparts in business, government, and civil society to address shared global challenges.

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ESTABLISHED 2014

VOLUME 8, ISSUE 1

WINTER 2021-22 | QUARTERLY

This Issue was published by MY SANFORD MAGAZINE LLC, with project management by:

Editor in Chief & Founder Perla B. Crosby

Cover Photography Andrew van Tilborgh, Charming Sanford

Associate Editor Samantha Montgomery

Advertising Director Jessica Morales

Art Director Renée Blair

Digital Marketing Director Brian R. Ambrosini

Photographers Johanny Becerra Photography

Social Media & Marketing Specialist Jessica Carvajal Photography Daniella Hume Daniella Hume, Mastropieces Photography Contributors: @Mastropiecesphotography

Perla Bello-Crosby

Jack Miller

Caroline van den Berg Garcia

JP Photography Nicolet Severe One Source Branding & Media Andrew van Tilborgh, Charming Sanford

Leon Konieczny Izzy Mendez Samantha Montgomery Nicolet Severe

My Sanford Magazine disclaims all liability for any and all advertisements, promotions, articles, and other affiliated content contained within this publication. The opinions of the authors are those alone. We do not accept any liability for information or advice provided by any advertiser, sponsor, or associated business provided in this magazine.

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LETTER FROM THE

EDITOR

Happy Birthday My Sanford Magazine! Years ago, when I was sworn in as an American citizen, the local television station of the city where I resided at that time interviewed me. They asked me what I was going to do as an American citizen, and I answered without any doubt: help my community! In 2013, already residing for two years in Sanford, and tired of hearing so many negative comments about this community, I felt that the commitment that I made years ago had arrived and that it was time to make my contribution. Having little English, with experience as an editor years ago, I challenged myself to help change and highlight the positives of our Sanford. My Sanford Magazine was born on that day seven years ago. During these years I have been able to see the fruits of hours of work and sacrifices. Thank you to our advertisers who have supported the magazine since the beginning. I want to thank the Volusia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for the honor of being selected as Entrepreneur of the Year 2021. I want to thank God for giving me the opportunity to serve my community and humbly be able to inspire others. I believe that if you dream something and commit yourself, you will achieve it. But we must be willing to be consistent, respectful, loyal, tireless, humble and have integrity. These have been the tools and values that have accompanied me during this wonderful journey.

This winter edition is very special to me, as we celebrate Christmas, holidays, and Valentine's Day! I invite you to be happy—with yourself, with your neighbors, and with your family. I hope that 2022 will be the beginning of the best years of your life. Wishing you a merry Christmas and a very happy new year!

WRITE TO US | ESCRÍBENOS A EDITOR@MYSANFORDMAGAZINE.COM Perla is the founder, Editor In-Chief and publisher of My Sanford Magazine. Her goal was to produce a local magazine that would foster unity and promote good will in Sanford’s culturally diverse community. This was accomplished and the magazine has been declared a resounding success. Perla also conceived and brought to fruition the Sanford Tourism Office and serves as its first Chairperson. Proceeding her long career as a Diplomat in Rome, Italy, she served as the Director General of Tourism in Italy where she also founded a successful tourist and business magazine.

ON THE COVER State Farm agent Alexia Emerson in front of the former Wells Fargo Building. The six-story building located in the heart of Historic Sanford was designed by Mowbray & Uffinger of New York and was Sanford’s first “skyscraper." It was constructed in 1922 by George A. Fuller Co. The former Wells Fargo home is vacant and is currently for sale. Photo: Andrew van Tilborgh, Charming Sanford @andrewvt @charmingsanford

TABLE OF CONTENTS COMMUNITY & PEOPLE 2 Cover Story: Introducing Sanford’s Good Neighbor, Alexia Emerson, State Farm Agent 12 Cities of Sanford, Florida and Rionegro, Colombia Sign a Sister-City Agreement

20 Getting to Know Nicolet Melissa Severe, 23 Be Social: My Sanford Magazine the Newest President of the Sanford President and CEO Receives Award Chamber of Commerce from Volusia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce LIFESTYLE 4 Holiday Gift Guide 5 Experience Love this Valentine's Day 6 4 Real Estate Trends to Expect in 2022

FOOD & DRINK 14 A Sanford Foodie Guide 18 Downtown Sanford Food & Drink Map

MYSAN FORDMAGA ZI N E.COM | MY SAN FOR D MAGA ZI N E

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COVERSTORY

Introducing Sanford’s Good Neighbor,

ALEXIA EMERSON,

STATE FARM AGENT

Living the Logo and Embracing Life’s Teachable Moments. BY S A M A N T H A M O N TG O M E RY

M

eet one of Sanford’s newest neighbors, Alexia Emerson, State Farm agent. Alexia knew Sanford would be the perfect location for her new business when she attended a car show at Henry’s Depot during the height of the pandemic. Despite the situation that was going on in the world, Alexia saw that 1st Street was alive with people shopping, vendors selling and an overall energy that made her feel at home. She related to the city’s resilience and perseverance—no matter what, Alexia finds a way.

Raised by her single father Ferman Lopez II with the help of her paternal grandparents, Ferman and Susie Lopez, who are of Afro-Cuban descent, Alexia has felt like her path was a clear one to becoming a State Farm agent, because she knew she wanted to help people. The Lopez family live by a simple mantra instilled by her grandmother: Our service to others is our prosperity in this life. With that message in her heart, Alexia’s career took all the right turns to lead her to where she is today, and she couldn’t be happier. While attending UCF, Alexia took on an internship as a private investigator at J. Mike Kelley Investigations. This was a family-owned business, and they welcomed her with open arms. The owner Mike was a retired homicide detective for the Orlando Police Department and quickly became her mentor. Alexia refers to this decade-long career as her dream job. She 2 M Y S A N F O R D M A G A Z I N E | W I N T E R 2 0 21 - 2 2

Alexia Emerson

KELLY ANDREW CLORE VAN WITHTILBORGH, KABIKI STUDIOS CHARMING SANFORD

Alexia and her husband Shawn have two children, Isabella who is 15, Liam who is 9, and Glacier, who is a two-year-old Siberian Husky fur baby. Shawn is a surgical tech in neurosurgery with AdventHealth. He is also a published artist and illustrator. Alexia and her family have been enjoying life in Seminole County for over 15 years and especially like trying new things, which Sanford always has to offer.


was able to travel and help people. Of that job, she says, “Nobody calls an investigator on a good day.” Since the agency specialized in criminal defense and divorce, they dealt with many domestic cases involving children. Having been raised by a single father, she felt extremely sympathetic toward fathers. Sometimes a father would be overlooked as a primary caregiver for his child because outdated laws were reluctant to pull a child from his or her mother. She says, “People do make mistakes, but deserve the same level playing field to tell their stories.” She learned some very valuable lessons working at the agency: “Investigators are fact gatherers; they don’t change the facts.”

ANDREW VAN TILBORGH, CHARMING SANFORD

The reason she was so drawn to becoming a State Farm agent is because, “State Farm agents and team members are ‘relationship people.’ You get deeply involved with people and their day-to-day lives and circumstances.” Her goal is to get to know people on a personal level, so that she can serve them. No matter what the stages of life: getting married, buying a first home, planning for your kids’ college education or your retirement, Alexia is there to help people plan for the future, protect themselves and recover from the unexpected. “Life is full of teachable moments. It is my goal to educate my customers before something terrible happens. Not all lessons need to be learned the hard way.” The opening of her new business was a bittersweet moment because, just days after her opening, she lost her father and greatest fan. However, she says, “Everything that I have done has been to make my father and grandparents proud. I want them to know that their sacrifice and investment in my life and education meant something. I want to share this agency experience with my family because my success is also their success. I want my children to remember how hard I worked to achieve my goals. No matter how many times I was knocked down, I got up again. On the day of her father’s passing, she dried her tears and attended the Sanford Food Truck Fiesta. Her father would have wanted her to honor the commitment she made to the Sanford community. Every setback was a teachable moment. Those lessons have made me the woman that I am today.” Alexia takes tremendous pride in her family’s perseverance. She says, “My great-great grand

Alexia with her husband Shawn, Isabella and Liam

“Our service to others is our prosperity in this life.” —Susie Lopez, Alexia's grandmother parents moved to Ybor City from Cuba, where they worked in cigar factories and restaurants and cleaned houses. My grandmother has an amazing green thumb. She grew her own fruits and vegetables and peppers as a young girl to put food on the table. My grandmother was not only a talented gardener and seamstress, but she was the valedictorian and prom queen of her high school class. She married my grandfather and was a stay-homemom until her thirties, when she started her civil service career.” Her family has a long, proud lineage of public servants serving the residents of Hillsborough County in multiple capacities: law enforcement, corrections, environmental and civil service. Alexia also likes to be a part of the Historic Downtown Sanford business community by opening her doors to local writers and photographers in need of a space to host a book signing or conduct a photo shoot. She says, “In August, we hosted a book signing for local

Seminole County teacher Brenda Richardson McGee, who recently wrote book two of her three-part series Harlot’s Heart.” Alexia and her family love participating in community events like Food Truck Fiesta and Alive After 5. If a fellow business owner needs a sponsor or donation, Alexia doesn’t hesitate to help. She is living the State Farm logo and honoring her family legacy with hard work and service to others. n Make sure to stop by and say hello to your new neighbor and State Farm agent Alexia Emerson. Her office is located at 109 W 1st Street and her business hours are Monday – Friday 9am – 7pm and Saturday 10am – 3pm. For more information about State Farm products and services, visit www.alexiaprotectsfl.com

MYSAN FORDMAGA ZI N E.COM | MY SAN FOR D MAGA ZI N E

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LIFESTYLE

HOLIDAY

GIFT GUIDE

BY IZZY MENDEZ I love the holidays because I love finding the perfect gift to give someone. When you find an item and it immediately makes you think of someone—that is the best feeling in the world. I especially love shopping at local shops, so I rounded up some of my best ideas for this year’s gift-giving season.

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ROSIE LEE TEA CO.

WONDERMADE, DOWNTOWN SANFORD

For the person who loves tea or anything cozy, this is the place. From their huge wall with all kinds of tea to their cute local gifts, you can create the perfect gift basket. If you are new to the world of tea, their team is always happy to help you find the perfect flavor. Putting together a gift basket filled with goodies is always a winner, and they have everything you need to do so.

We all know Wondermade for their amazing ice cream and marshmallows, and what better way to share the love then surprising a loved one with a box. I think these are the perfect stocking stuffer—from their 4-pack bundle of boozy flavors (gin, fireball, bourbon and beer) to their famous gold champagne mallows covered in 24k edible gold, they make the perfect holiday treat.

www.rosieleetea.com

www.wondermade.com

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DINING EXPERIENCES

Giving the gift of an experience is always a great way to support local business while giving people something they can enjoy— especially if they already have everything. Heading to local restaurants such as The District in Sanford, The Old Jailhouse, Tuffy’s Bottle Shop & Lounge, Sanford Brewing Company or Henry’s Depot and picking up a gift card for a family member or couple is a great way to encourage them to try somewhere new while giving them a well-deserved night out. www.districtsanford.com • www.theoldjailhousesanford.com • www.tuffyscider.com www.sanfordbrewing.com • www.henrysdepot.com

MAGPIES MODERN GENERAL

If you are looking for a gift for the person who has everything, Magpies Modern General is the way to go. Their large display windows are always filled with funky and delightful items, most made right here in central Florida. Their soaps and cocktail mixers are perfect for him, while their accessories are that perfect something for her. www.magpiesmoderngeneral.com 4 M Y S A N F O R D M A G A Z I N E | W I N T E R 2 0 21 - 2 2

COLONIAL ROOM COUNTRY STORE

The newest addition to downtown Sanford is the expansion of your favorite local restaurant. The Colonial Room has added The Colonial Room Country Store. This is the perfect place for those cute stocking stuffers of handmade treats or gifts from local artists and shops. They get new items in weekly, so be sure to stop by.


EXPERIENCE LOVE THIS

VALENTINE’S DAY BY IZZY MENDEZ

While everyone loves to unwrap an actual gift, giving an experience creates lasting memories for you and your loved one. Sanford has so much to offer when it comes to local things to do, and I’ve rounded up some of my favorites for you to enjoy.

SEE A SHOW

Sanford has two local theaters that put on the most amazing shows: Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center and Theater West End. Attending a play or musical is a great way to support local business while having a nice night out. There are so many fantastic restaurants next door to both venues to stop by for dinner beforehand and create a romantic and fun evening.

D E TE AC or RD G VO PL AST FO NIN ST KF AN DI BE EA N S ME I R I r B H YT fo UNC DA T BR BES d an

Colonial Room R E S T A U R A N T

Banquet Facilities & Catering Available Open 7 Days A Week Monday–Saturday: 6:30am–2pm Sunday: 7am–2pm

www.wdpac.com • www.theaterwestend.com

BOARD & BRUSH

Board & Brush entices you into a DIY experience where you and your loved one can create a project to add to your home. Pick one of their fun-themed workshops or their “pick a project,” where you can become inspired to create something beautiful together. www.boardandbrush.com

BAR HOP

Owner: Michelle Simoneaux

105 E. First Street, Suite A • Sanford 407.323.2999 • alishelle@yahoo.com

Bar hopping is great fun for couples, especially in downtown Sanford. So many bars and restaurants are known for their amazing service and incredible craft cocktails. Renting a golf cart and exploring each one is a great way to spend time together and get a scenic tour at the same time. My favorite suggestions are: The Basin, The Old Jailhouse, Brix & Mortar Urban Winery and Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Café, which has a beautiful rooftop space.

DANIELLA HUME, MASTROPIECES PHOTOGRAPHY @MASTROPIECESPHOTOGRAPHY

www.henrysdepot.com/the-basin • www.theoldjailhousesanford.com www.thebestwineryever.com • www.hollerbachs.com

BOWLING NIGHT

When is the last time you went bowling? Airport Lanes in Sanford offers a unique date- night experience, where you can eat, drink and bowl. They have an amazing restaurant and bar with great service and food that can be delivered to your own bowling bay. www.alomabowlingcenters.com

SAILING LESSONS

Hop on a sailboat and learn the ropes in a variety of classes given by U-Sail of Central Florida. They offer basic sailing lessons to sunset sails, so take a boat out on beautiful Lake Monroe and enjoy a ride together. https://www.usailflorida.com

Izzy Mendez, her husband James and their dog Charlie moved to Sanford in 2017 and fell in love with it the moment they walked down the beautiful streets of downtown. She currently works in the event industry and at a fitness studio after retiring from dancing professionally with Orlando Ballet, but loves to spend time exploring new places to eat, drink, and have fun with loved ones and share adventures with all of you! Follow along on Instagram (theizzymcknight) for the latest and greatest that Sanford has to offer!

GIFT SHOP • CANDY BY THE POUND PLUS: A ‘SHOP LOCAL’ SECTION SUPPORTING OUR LOCAL COMMUNITY!

Located Next Door to Colonial Room Restaurant! Thursday: 11am–7pm Friday: 11am–8pm Saturday: 10am–8pm Sunday: 10am–4pm MYSAN FORDMAGA ZI N E.COM | MY SAN FOR D MAGA ZI N E

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4 LIFESTYLE

REAL ESTATE TRENDS

TO EXPECT IN 2022 BY C A RO L I N E VA N D E N B E RG GA RC I A , R E A LT O R ® w i t h F L O R I D A O N E R E A L E S TAT E

more negotiation power. During the height of 2021's frantic market, buyers were laughed out of the room when they asked for seller concessions toward home repairs. More so, paying more than a home's appraised value has practically become routine.

The combination of slowing sales activity and price gains doesn't mean the market will shift in favor of homebuyers. It will be a seller's market for the next few years, and Sanford will be no exception.

Sales of single-family houses and condos dropped sharply in the third quarter of 2021, in part due to fewer out-of-state buyers. This shift may give an opening to local buyers who have had to sit out the market for months. A seller may receive 4 or 5 offers rather than 15 to 20 – creating a more approachable situation for buyers while still ultimately working in the seller's favor. These factors will make sellers more confident about finding a new home at an attainable price and lead them to list their current homes for sale.

RATES WILL INCREASE BUT WILL REMAIN HISTORICALLY LOW

While I don’t anticipate the massive price increases that we experienced this past year, 2022 will continue to bring house price gains. Realtors consistently recognize historically low-interest rates as one of the most significant factors currently affecting home demand. Rate hikes are expected; however, only a significant increase would diminish home demand.

SUPPLY-CHAIN IMPROVEMENTS WILL IMPROVE THE LACK OF INVENTORY

The wide gap between supply and demand created a red-hot market in the first half of 2021. In September, Central Florida had less than a month's supply of existing homes on the market. A balanced market is six months of supply. Shortages in construction materials and labor are causing new developments and renovations of existing properties to take longer to complete. Expected improvements in supply-chain will alleviate our lack of inventory and gradually balance the supply of our housing market.

CURRENT HOMEOWNERS MAY CASH IN ON RECENT EQUITY

A housing market is often considered a reflection of the local economy's overall health.

Caroline van den Berg Garcia

In Sanford's case, we are just beginning to come into our prime. Downtown Sanford has a median listing home price of $325K, making it the most expensive neighborhood in the city. As many residential and commercial developments come to fruition, local shopping and dining options will expand. Coupled with the city's unique special events that draw huge crowds, this is just the start of Sanford's positive economic growth. Along with low rates, the appreciation of home values will support move-up buyers who can tap into their increased equity when purchasing a new home.

HOME PRICES WILL INCREASE, BUT NOT AS QUICKLY AS IN 2021

With a seller's market expected to continue, buyers may be wondering if they have any hope in a more even playing field as we enter the new year. My two cents: While home prices won't be falling, I expect to start seeing a lot

6 M Y S A N F O R D M A G A Z I N E | W I N T E R 2 0 21 - 2 2

So, while price increases are slowing and competition could be a little less intense, overall, we're still looking at a hot market. Understandably so, the morale of many would-be homebuyers is low these days. And, while sellers will still mostly have the upper hand, the frantic pace of the market will calm. As we head into 2022, prices may go up, rates may rise, and inventory may increase, but one thing is sure: People will keep buying houses. n Having grown up in a family of real estate investors, Caroline specializes in residential buying and selling as well as consulting for investing purposes. This knowledge, coupled with her bachelor’s degree from Rollins College in International Business and Entrepreneurship, has provided her with valuable skills that she uses in daily real estate negotiations, educating homebuyers and sellers, and effectively marketing her listings. During her spare time, Caroline can be found spending time outdoors with her family, tackling projects in her 1920’s Sanford home, and tending to her vegetable garden.

COURTESY CAROLINE VAN DEN BERG GARCIA

T

he rush of buyers in Florida's housing market was like a gold rush. My prediction: Central Florida's growth over the past year wasn't just a fluke of the pandemic. So, what does the future hold for Sanford real estate as we enter 2022?




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CARE

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900 W. W. 25th St. 900 Sanford, FL 900 900 900 W. W. W. 25th 25th 25th St. St. St. Sanford, FL (407) 878-5848 Sanford, Sanford, Sanford, FL FL FL (407) 878-5848

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M Y S A N F O R D M A G A Z I N E | CO M M U N I T Y & P E O P L E • 14


COMMUNITY & PEOPLE

Cities of Sanford, Florida and Rionegro, Colombia

Both Mayors and Staff Delegation from the City of Sanford and Rionegro, Colombia

SIGN A SISTERSISTER-CITY AGREEMENT BY NICOLET SEVERE

O

n November 20 and 21, 2021 the Consulate of Colombia and Consul Maria Bustamante hosted The First Services Fair of Colombia at the Wyndham International Drive Hotel in Orlando.

Although both cities are in different hemispheres, Sanford and Rionegro have much in common. Each has an international airport offering services to nearby towns, and each is concerned about environmental issues and interested in expanding goodwill cooperation. This agreement is the first of 200 sister-city agreements promoted by the Colombian Embassy in the United States to expand relations, cultural and commercial exchanges, and support. Luisa Maria Lord, a Colombian American and vice president of Lord & Lord Consulting, an

international consulting company located in Sanford, was the liaison for this agreement, and coordinated other meetings during the visit. Her firm sponsored the booth where Tom Tomerlin, Economic Development Director for the City of Sanford, and Nicolet Severe, President of the Sanford Chamber of Commerce, promoted Sanford during the two-day event. On Tuesday, November 23, the City of Sanford welcomed the Colombian delegation from Rionegro. The delegation received a procla-

12 M Y S A N F O R D M A G A Z I N E | W I N T E R 2 0 21 - 2 2

mation from Mayor Art Woodruff, enjoyed lunch at the Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Café, and toured the Orlando Sanford International Airport, where they were greeted by Tom Nolan, the CEO and president of the Sanford Airport Authority. Mayors Art Woodruff and Rodrigo Hernandez Alzate signed a sister city agreement to promote exchanges between Sanford, Florida and Rionegro, Antioquia, Colombia. n

JACK MILLER

On Sunday, November 21, the cities of Sanford, Florida and Rionegro, Antioquia, Colombia signed a sister-city agreement. As part of the ceremony, Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte received a key to the City of Rionegro from Mayor Rodrigo Hernandez Alzate as a symbol of openness between officials from both administrations to promote cooperation. Mayor Alzate said at the ceremony: “This is a historical moment, a union between Colombia and the United States.”


COMMUNITY & PEOPLE

Las ciudades de Sanford, Florida, y Rionegro, Colombia,

Firman acuerdo de cooperación ‘Ciudades Hermanas’ POR NICOLET SEVERE

E

l 20 y 21 de noviembre de 2021 el Consulado de Colombia en Orlando, FL y la cónsul María Bustamante organizaron en el Hotel Wyndham International Drive de Orlando la Primera Feria de Servicios de Colombia.

TOP: NICOLET SEVERE; CENTER: JACK MILLER; BOTTOM: SUBMITTED NICOLET SEVERE

El domingo 21 de noviembre, las ciudades de Sanford (Florida) y Rionegro (Antioquia, Colombia) firmaron un acuerdo de ‘Ciudades Hermanas’. Como parte de la ceremonia, el administrador de la ciudad de Sanford, Norton Bonaparte, recibió una llave de la ciudad de Rionegro de manos del alcalde Rodrigo Hernández Alzate, como símbolo de apertura entre los funcionarios de ambas administraciones para promover la cooperación. El alcalde Alzate dijo en la ceremonia: "Este es un momento histórico, una unión entre Colombia y Estados Unidos". Aunque ambas ciudades están en hemisferios diferentes, Sanford y Rionegro tienen mucho en común. Cada una tiene un aeropuerto internacional que ofrece servicios a las ciudades cercanas, además ambas se preocupan por temas medioambientales y están interesadas en ampliar la cooperación de buena voluntad. Este acuerdo es el primero de los 200 acuerdos de ciudades hermanas promovidos por la Embajada de Colombia en Estados Unidos con el fin de ampliar las relaciones entre países, así como los intercambios culturales y comerciales, y el apoyo mutuo. Luisa María Lord, colombiana-estadounidense y vicepresidenta de Lord & Lord Consulting, una empresa de consultoría internacional ubicada en Sanford, fue quien posibilitó este acuerdo y coordinó una serie de reuniones durante la visita. Su empresa patrocinó el stand en el que Tom Tomerlin, director de Desarrollo Económico de la Ciudad de

Sanford, y Nicolet Severe, presidenta de la Cámara de Comercio de Sanford, promovieron Sanford durante los dos días del evento. El martes 23 de noviembre, la ciudad de Sanford dio la bienvenida a la delegación colombiana proveniente de Rionegro. La delegación recibió una proclama por parte del alcalde Art Woodruff, disfrutó de un almuerzo en el restaurante Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Café y recorrió el aeropuerto internacional de Orlando Sanford, donde fue recibida por Tom Nolan, director general y presidente de la Autoridad Aeroportuaria de Sanford. Los alcaldes Art Woodruff y Rodrigo Hernandez Alzate, firmaron un acuerdo de "Ciudades Hermanas" para promover los intercambios entre Sanford, Florida y Rionegro, Antioquia, Colombia. n Para más información sobre "La Primera Feria de Servicios de Colombia", visite https://bit.ly/FL-Latino-News MYSAN FORDMAGA ZI N E.COM | MY SAN FOR D MAGA ZI N E

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FOOD & DRINK

A SANFORD

FOODIE GUIDE BY LEON KONIECZNY

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owntown Sanford has become, over the years, a central Florida destination for outstanding food and much more. I am a Sanford Foodie, and I can help you find the best food in Sanford. Those of us who live in Sanford know the secrets, and now you can too. Sanford’s newest addition to the foodie scene is The Station Bar & Grub, which recently opened in what was once Sanford’s firehouse, built well over 100 years ago. With a firehouse theme throughout, it also has a restored vintage fire engine inside. As the name implies, The Station Bar & Grub is also about good pub grub, too.

Downtown Sanford also has its own destination restaurant, a place to which people will travel many miles just to eat and have fun. Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Café recently celebrated its 20th year in downtown Sanford. With live music every Thursday through Sunday you will find the Gemütlichkeit flowing indoors, outdoors, and on the rooftop Biergarten accompanied by great German food. The My Sanford Magazine (MSM) 2021 Chef of the Year is Nat Russell from The Tennessee Truffle. It is open three nights a week (and brunch on 14 M Y S A N F O R D M A G A Z I N E | W I N T E R 2 0 21 - 2 2

Saturday). Make sure to make a reservation for Sanford’s ultimate dining experience. You will not be disappointed. One of my personal restaurant favorites (in part because I live nearby) is The District in Sanford, which offers a great dinner menu and has a nice happy hour weekly as well. Their dinners are always fantastic and complete meals. Always try the soup! They are just one of many great restaurants we have in Sanford. The Breezeway is just what its name implies, with a great menu of dinners, sandwiches and much more. Or you can wander two doors down for Irish pub fare at Sanford’s Irish pub, The Sullivan. Try the fish ‘n chips, my favorite.

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Next door, you can eat your meal behind bars at The Old Jailhouse. That’s exactly what the historic building is—it once served as our jailhouse, and many of those features have been well preserved. You will have a fine dining experience when you dine here, without a doubt.


One of Sanford’s oldest eating establishments is the Colonial Room, a diner established in the late 1900s, and always popular, especially with locals. Sanford has several places that blur the line between primarily a restaurant or primarily a bar. They are Gastropubs, bars that also serve great food. Florida’s oldest and only Belgian beer bar, Buster’s Bistro is one such gastropub. You can drink fine beers from Belgium here (and more), but they also have a very robust kitchen with a great menu. Just down the street is Sanford Brewing Company. Though their primary activity is brewing delicious and creative craft beers, they also have a full kitchen and varied menu—it is southern gastro comfort food. Sanford’s first craft brewery is on the same block as Sanford Brewing Company, just across the street. Wop’s Hops Brewing also serves great food. Every Thursday is Italian Night with a great special, too. Another gastropub is Tuffy’s, Sanford’s first cidery. But they are so much more than that, inside you’ll find Swine and Sons, a gastronome’s delight. Recently opened Dee’s Brothers Brewery serves bar food, as does Deviant Wolfe Brewery. Several other bars have pretty good bar grub, including the West End Trading Co. and Throwback’s. If you’re not sure what you want to eat or are with a group with varied culinary tastes, I suggest you head to Henry’s Depot, Sanford’s version of a food court. Sit in The Basin, the bar area, order from any of seven great places, and everyone in your party is sure to find something they like, from pizza to hot dogs to seafood to vegan—and more. If you prefer an outdoor party atmosphere, head to Celery City Craft where they have 51—yes, fifty-one—taps, plus more, and on site is Sushi and Seoul, which gives you just what you’d expect, great Japanese and Korean food in downtown Sanford. Sanford has several other basic restaurant types, so there is something for nearly every taste. El Zocalo is a very popular Mexican restaurant—so popular that they’ve expanded three times. The Corner Café is just that, a café on the corner serving lunch six days a week. Is smoked meat your thing? Then head to Fuel BBQ and you will not be disappointed. Craving soul food? Shantell’s Just Until will fix that craving. Want to grab a slice of New York-style pizza or a cheesesteak? Then head over to Slam! Need a fix of Jamaican food? Negril Spice will give you that. The Greek and Italian food at Zorba’s never disappoints, nor does St. John’s River Steak & Seafood, great food with the best river view in Sanford. And the best dessert counter in Sanford is at Christo’s—you’ll want one of everything in that display.

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Enjoy our large open air taproom with a view into the brew house. Savor handcrafted beers, meads, ciders and specialty sodas. Taste the fresh, locally sourced ingredients, made to order. Relish the sounds of our performing musicians. Soak in the quintessential southern hospitality, make new friends, discover history. Sit outside, enjoy the beautiful Florida weather with your furry friends. Bring you kids for mac ‘n cheese while you sip our handcrafted beer.

COURTESY LEON KONIECZNY

The number of establishments with really good food in Sanford seems nearly endless, but a handful of new places are coming, too. Some of these are on the drawing board, some in development, and some are under construction, so read future issues of MSM to learn more. You can be sure I’ll give them a try and report back. Sanford is growing and no foodie will ever go away hungry or disappointed. It’s a food lover’s gastronomic paradise here in downtown Sanford, and that is only one of the reasons why we love Sanford so much. n Leon Konieczny is a local Central Florida foodie and food blogger who’s been writing about Sanford and Seminole County area “good eats” restaurants for the past twelve years. He’s big into eating at local mom ‘n’ pop shops where high quality ingredients, love, and a dose of home cooking make all the difference. While he occasionally eats at the big chains, he claims it’s only to remind him where a real quality dining experience lurks — in the small restaurants which are the heart and soul of every neighborhood and community.

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DOWNTOWN SANFORD FOOD & DRINK MAP DOWNTOWN SANFORD FOOD & DRINK MAP 18

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1. Best Fish & Chicken Wings 2. Buster’s Bistro 3. Caffe Di Riverwalk 4. Christo’s 5. Colonial Room Restaurant 6. El Zocalo Mexican Restaurant 7. Fuel BBQ 8. Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Café 9. Magnolia Square Market 10. Moon’s Subs 11. Slam Pizza and Cheesesteaks 12. Negril Spice Jamaican Restaurant 13. Palate Bubs And Ice Cream 14. Raw Press Juice Co.

Linked Map.indd 1

15. 16. 17. 18.

Sanford Pizza Company Shantell’s Simply Homemade 1913 St John’s River Steak & Seafood 19. Sushi & Seoul At Celery City Craft 20. Sanford Poke 21. The Breezeway Restaurant & Bar 22. The Corner Café 23. The District In Sanford 24. The Healthy Buddah 3 25. The Old Jailhouse 26. Brix & Mortar Urban Winery 27. The Tennessee Truffle 28. Wondermade 29. Zorba's Greek Restaurant 30. Swine & Sons

18 M Y S A N F O R D M A G A Z I N E | W I N T E R 2 0 21 - 2 2

1. 1st Street Lounge 2. Celery City Craft | Celery City Cigars 3. Dees Brothers Brewery 4. Deviant Wolfe Brewing 5. Ellen’s Wine Room 6. Executive Cigar Sanford 7. Henry’s Depot Food Hall & Cocktail Bar: • The Basin • Dharma Southern Kitchen • The Greenery Creamery • Maggie Dog • Mahogany Coffee • Oak Flame Pizza • Salvatore's Prime Sandwiches • The Current, Seafood Counter • Red-Eye's Git N Messy Smokehouse Sanford 8. New business coming soon

9. Loggerhead Distillery 10. Palate Coffee Brewery 11. Off The Leash 12. Sanford Brewing Company 13. The Alley 14. The Imperial Bar At Washburn Imports-sanford 15. The Maniki Lounge 16. The Sullivan, A Public House 17. The Wet Spot 18. Throwbacks Sanford 19. Torch One Cigars 20. Tuffy’s Bottle Shop & Lounge and Suffering Bastard Tiki Bar 21. West End Trading Co. 22. Wop’s Hops Brewery 23. Sanford Avenue Tavern

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GETTING TO KNOW

NICOLET

MELISSA SEVERE

The Newest President of the Sanford Chamber of Commerce When I received a visit from Nicolet in our offices, our chemistry immediately clicked. She is a very intelligent, positive person who in just a few months became committed to the Chamber, the City of Sanford and the business community. My conversation with Nicolet is an invitation to get to know her better and learn more about her plans leading the Sanford Chamber of Commerce.

B Y P E R L A B. C R O S B Y

I was born in New Jersey and raised primarily in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico. I like to call myself a "HatiaRican" because my dad was Haitian and my mom was Puerto Rican. My father emmigrated from Haiti as a political exile. My mom relocated to New Jersey at the age of 18, where she met my father. Both of my parents were hard-working business owners. My dad built two businesses, a tailor shop in New Jersey and a fabric factory in New York. My mom opened the first school-supply business in Vega Alta, Puerto Rico. It was called "Nicolet's School Supply." My work ethic and passion for helping businesses thrive had its genesis growing up with my entrepreneurial parents before the word "entrepreneur" became trendy.

Growing up, my mom would relocate between New Jersey and Puerto Rico. That is why I like to say that I am from both New Jersey and Puerto Rico. In my later years, I lived mainly in Puerto Rico. After completing a year at California State University at Northridge, I completed my B.A. in Public Relations and Advertising from the University of Puerto Rico, then earned a Master's degree in Business Administration and Marketing. Now, I proudly consider myself a Floridian living in Seminole County for the past ten years.

You have recently been appointed president of the Sanford Chamber of Commerce. What is your impression as the first minority woman to lead this organization? It is an honor, privilege and blessing to be the first black person, female or male, and also Hispanic, to lead such a great Chamber that is

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rich in history and city pride. I am grateful that I count on such a supportive Board whose goal is for the Chamber to thrive for the next 100 years. Without a doubt, I recognize that I have taken on a challenge. I understand that changes are always hard to navigate through. However, I feel welcomed by the community, especially by those who have taken the time to meet me. I am very transparent, and I am very welcoming of constructive criticism and feedback, which I think is vital for maximizing opportunities, ultimately leading to improving an individual or an organization. So, I am up for the challenge!

Regarding your previous experience and background, what do you hope to bring to the Sanford Chamber of Commerce? Indeed, I have a very eclectic career background. I have served in diverse capacities, including community outreach, public relations,

JP PHOTOGRAPHY

Would you please tell our readers about yourself, your family, your background, and where you grew up?


business development, marketing, tourism, and government relations. Some of the organizations I have worked for are the United States Department of Commerce, Institute of Internal Auditors, Visit Orlando, Hispanic Business Initiative Fund (now Prospera), and the Puerto Rico Convention Bureau. The Sanford Chamber has a strong history and identity. I hope to strengthen the Chamber's partnerships and relationships with the local community, government agencies, and other Chambers. Those who know me well call me "the strategist" because I am always thinking of new ways to build stronger relationships with and add value to an individual or organization. My goal is to continue fostering partnerships that will help grow our membership and add value to the members and the Chamber as a brand.

businesses, and leverage it in the community. I plan to do that by reinstating the Ambassador program. I am currently working on putting together three committees for 2022. These committees are the Diversity committee, the Young Entrepreneur Network, and the Membership committee. These committees will help the Chamber touch all sectors of the business community and help us identify their needs and develop solutions to solve their business problems.

In addition, down the road I want to shift the Chamber to become a 3C chamber—catalysts, conveners, and champions. Additionally, bringing back a Government Relations committee will aid us in becoming a vocal advocate for our local business in governmental affairs, which will add value to the Chamber's already established brand and strength to our business community. All things considered, I look forward to having the Chamber be at the forefront of business development. n

We have seen that the City of Sanford is constantly supporting the Chamber’s activties. In what ways could members of the Sanford Chamber realize that benefit? The city's support of our activities is a testament to their understanding of the Chamber's value to the City of Sanford. Indeed, their support and that of Seminole County adds value to our members. We have recently begun to invite guest speakers to both of our monthly Business Connections’ meetings. Our networking event is hosted every first and third Wednesday of the month. The members have expressed that they enjoy having access to the elected officials and city representatives in a more intimate environment where they can freely ask questions and speak to them on a more personal level.

JP PHOTOGRAPHY

What future long-term plans do you have for the Chamber? There are several things that I have planned to add value to the Chamber. One is to reach out to various business sectors in Sanford that have not been fully engaged. We know that Sanford has become very diverse in the past few years. The city is growing and attracting new businesses. Many of them are owned by Hispanics, African Americans, Native Americans, and Asians, among others. We are all aware that the pandemic has inspired many to leave their jobs and start businesses. This means that we have many young and new-business owners who need help navigating the entrepreneurship life. I want all of these businesses to know that we will help them promote and grow their MYSAN FORDMAGA ZI N E.COM | MY SAN FOR D MAGA ZI N E

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BESOCIAL

My Sanford Magazine President and CEO Receives Award from Volusia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce B Y M Y S A N F O R D M A G A Z I N E S TA F F

O

Perla said, "With great pride and humility, I receive this recognition as Latina Entrepreneur of the Year 2021 for the Volusia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Inc. I want to dedicate this important award to all Latinos who, with much sacrifice and perseverance, have earned a space in their communities and in this country that has received us with open arms. Let's stay united, for a better world. Thanks to all the people I love.”

JOHANNY BECERRA PHOTOGRAPHY

n November 19, the Second Annual iLatina Awards Gala was held at the Deltona Center, where the Latina woman was recognized as a strong, passionate, dedicated and inspiring woman representing the communities in Volusia, Seminole and Flagler counties. This elegant awards gala was hosted by the Volusia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Our CEO and president of My Sanford Magazine, Perla Bello-Crosby, received the award as Latin Entrepreneur of the Year 2021. The theme of the evening reception was Mardi Gras.

MYSAN FORDMAGA ZI N E.COM | MY SAN FOR D MAGA ZI N E

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