The very upward mobility that they celebrated forced event promoters Ron Gibbs and Jawan Strader to temporarily part ways.
Both men organized a successful run of events at The Ivy and Justin’s in Aventura, Barchetta on the Bay in North Bay Village, and other venues.
But earlier this year, Strader, a Channel 4 news anchor, was promoted to a new job as the station’s morning news anchor. This effectively curtailed his late-night partying.
His new work schedule made it virtually impossible for him to continue promoting and attending the “upscale and beautiful” networking dinner parties, for which he and Gibbs had earned a reputation.
“Because of his work schedule, he would have to go to bed pretty much at 8 o’clock at night,” Gibbs said.
Both men continued to plan parties, but on different nights. Recently, though, they decided to give the partnership another try. Strader, who used to be available every night, is now available only on Friday and Saturday nights, which is perfect for their newest venture.
“We decided that we were stronger as a team,” said Gibbs, who met Strader in 2006 when the news anchor visited the auto showroom where Gibbs sells luxury vehicles.
Gibbs is not shy about his showroom successes.
“I actually gave Dwyane Wade one of his first endorsement deals with Land Rover, Jaguar, Warren Henry,’’ he said. “I’m actually working to put together something now with the Dream Team [Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh.]”
Of his decision to join forces with Strader four years ago, Gibbs said, “I mentioned that I had a promotion company, [and] he was doing the same thing in Indianapolis, where he was from.”
The renewed partnership began about two months ago, and has already outgrown its downtown Miami venue, The Chop House. Gibbs, of Aventura, explained that the “Chop House is a very nice restaurant, but really was not built to cater to our events and parties, [which] just exploded.”
The men will christen a new waterfront venue at the Epic Hotel in two weeks with an event they are calling, “Uptown Miami.”
“The people at Epic saw what we had done and [invited] us to come and do our events there, which makes more sense for us because it’s a bigger venue, actually on the water, accessible by boat and a very, very nice restaurant,” Gibbs said.
Strader, who lives in Miami, echoed his friend’s excitement about the new venture, adding that the men are able to come back “bigger and better” because they learned to listen to their clientele.
“If you’re in this to try and grow and make it better, you always want to listen to your people,” he said, cautioning that being in it to simply make money is counterproductive.
“Word of mouth is more powerful than any, any form of advertisement,” the 38-year old father of three said.
Wherever they host, both men said, guests should expect to eat great food, dance to great music, and meet great people. According to Gibbs, not all of the networking leads to business deals.
“I get a kick out of people telling me that they met their significant other at one of my events,’’ the father of a nearly 1-year-old daughter said. “And when I get emails saying, ‘Thanks a lot for doing what you do,’ that's what it's all about, really. That's what really made me get into this.”
He continued: “We tell everybody, put their sexy on, dress up, come out, and have a good time,” but to leave any pretentiousness at home. “Don't come out with your nose up. Come out open-minded, open-hearted, to meet good people [and] laugh.”
PHOTO BY MYCHAL MCDONALD. Ron Gibbs, left, and Jawan Strader pose at Barchetta on the Bay in North Bay Village in 2008.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: “Uptown Miami” networking dinner party
WHERE: Epic Hotel, 270 Biscayne Blvd. Way, Miami
WHEN: Beginning Friday, July 30 and every Friday thereafter
COST: $10 for women, $20 for men, but there is no cover before 11 p.m., and no cover before midnight with RSVP.
CONTACT: For more information, contact Ron Gibbs at 305-323-3757 or RonGibbs1@me.com.