Ron Gibbs is on a mission to help corporate America reach the urban professional market around the world.
The leading South Florida night club promoter recently acquired Thursday nights at the prominent Karu & Y nightclub in downtown Miami.
He has also partnered with CBS 4 reporter Jawan Strader in kicking off 4 Play Fridays, the first upscale black professional event in Aventura.
Born and raised in Miami-Dade County, Gibbs grew up with one parent in the Air Force, and spent most of his childhood traveling through Europe. The experience, he said, was quite rewarding.
“Coming from the ‘hood in Miami then experiencing Europe really opened my eyes to a whole ‘nother world … It gave me so much different views of cultures from different foods to meeting different people. It really helped mold me to who I am today,” Gibbs told the South Florida Times.
Gibbs also hosts Recoup Sundays at Nikki Marina in Hollywood, AeroBar on Tuesday nights. 4play Fridays, formerly at Barchetta on the Bay in North Bay Village, debuted March 20 at Justin’s Bar and Lounge in Aventura.
With so many events under his belt, it is no wonder Gibbs is on his grind.
He is no stranger to the spotlight. He was once signed to a record label as a performer in a Jackson 5-like children’s group back in the day. After his stint as an artist, Gibbs came back to South Florida to complete his high school studies.
He later made his way to Atlanta, where he spent almost 10 years immersing himself in the “chocolate city” scene. With a business degree from Georgia State University, he said, always knew he had a gift beyond his charm. He then decided to bring his talents back to South Florida.
“Entertainment was always in my blood, but I knew I was always going to be at the top of my game in sales and marketing,” Gibbs added.
Gibbs soon began doing just that for a local Honda car dealership, and then transitioned to a Jaguar dealership. That experience opened his eyes to the lifestyle of the luxurious patron.
It was the 1996 grand opening of the first Hip-Hop recording studio to hit South Beach, the launch of Penthouse parties at the Omni hotel and sporadic launch parties with DreamWorks that cultivated his natural switch from sales and marketing guru to club promoter.
“It was just natural to do high-end urban professional parties,’’ he said. “People knew when they came to my events that it was going to be upscale, professional and a great place to network.’’
Strader came onto the club scene with Gibbs in 2006. The partnership will be three years old in September. Coming from a background of throwing lavish events back home in Cleveland Ohio, Strader said he knew that working with Gibbs would connect the community to the upscale and professional scene for which it thirsted at the time.
The two men began collaborating on many different club ventures and kicked off the 4 Play Fridays, which was the first upscale black professional event to take place in Aventura.
The event has now made its way from Aventura to Miami Beach, and is now coming back to Aventura.
“It’s just been a blessing and we’re still going strong. I could remember Club Ivy was such a huge success and because of that we have maintained such a great following,” Strader told the South Florida Times.
But it’s not all glitz and glamour in this game. One of the challenges Strader and Gibbs face as African-American promoters in the Miami scene is simply convincing many of the venues and venue owners that the urban market can come out, be dressed well, and can respect a nice establishment.
“Some of the venues I’ve approached just see you and will quickly say ‘no I don’t want that party’ and refuse to accommodate us. It’s a serious situation that a lot of promoters of color are dealing with here in South Florida,” Gibbs stated.
Currently, Gibbs has a day job marketing for Warren Henry automobiles, which includes high-end vehicle brands such as Land Rover, Jaguar, Volvo and Infiniti.
Through it all, Gibbs remains focused. The club portion of his mission allows business professionals to mingle and enjoy a night out.
He also maintains an urban professional network, urbanpronet.ning.com, that he established to build relationships, contacts and business opportunities.
At the end of the day, he said, it’s all about the people you serve.
“That’s the key to it. People serving people,’’ he said. “If you serve the people you want to come to your event, they’re going to serve you.”
Photo by Mychal McDonald. Ron Gibbs
IF YOU GO:
What: 4Play Fridays Upscale Black Professional event
When: Every Friday; Doors open at 10pm
Where: Justin’s Bar and Lounge; 17813 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura.
Cost: Everyone is admitted free before midnight; $20 thereafter.
Contact: Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.