THRIVE GLOBAL — JULY 6, 2020 — BY STEPHEN BITTEL The past year has brought about feelings of uncertainty and anxiety unlike any many of us have known. The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent sheltering in place has put all of us in unprecedented levels of isolation, and while today’s technology has allowed us to remain social with our friends and family via social media and video chats, the same can’t be said about the small daily interactions you have with the members of your community on a daily basis. Whether it be help from the owner of your local hardware store, a friendly chat with the barista at your favorite coffee shop, or a weekend barbecue with your neighbors, these are all pieces of the puzzle that make up the community you reside in.
As a native of Miami whose family has lived in the area for generations, I was raised to understand the importance of building a strong community around you. My grandparents were small business owners, having opened a wine and gourmet food store in the 1950’s, and their shop would not have survived without the support and patronage they received and subsequently gave back to their local community. As someone who has been a commercial real estate developer for over 40 years, I myself have witnessed first-hand the positive effect of building a community, whether that be in the suburban shopping centers of the 1980’s or the urban streetscapes being developed in downtown communities today.