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Congratulations to Gables Businesses for their Longevity

Coral Gables Dry Cleaning

Coral Gables Dry CleaningJoe and Jessica Lancaster, the third-generation family owners of Coral Gables Dry Cleaning, recently celebrated the company’s 75th anniversary. The business got its start in 1930 when Joe’s grandfather, Augustus Littleton “Gus” Lancaster, opened a small laundry at 250 Minorca Avenue, where it still stands today.

At the time, the 1926 hurricane, the Great Depression and the stock market crash of 1929 had taken a toll on the then-small community of Coral Gables. Gus Lancaster started taking in residents’ laundry, a much-needed service since there were virtually no home washing machines and folks had to either send their clothes to a laundry or wash them at home in tubs. At first, most of the dry cleaner’s “employees” were the wives, sisters, cousins and other members of the Lancaster family.

During World War II, Gus Lancaster was exempted from military service because his business was considered “a necessary service.” During those years, Coral Gables Laundry and Dry Cleaning, as it was formerly known, serviced many military installations in Miami-Dade County. War prisoners from a camp near Baker’s Haulover, North Miami Beach, worked at the laundry when the labor supply was short.

Throughout the years, the Lancasters’ customers have included some of the area’s most prominent residents. Among them: the Merricks, the Grosvenors, the Fairchilds and Bacardis, and more recently, the Miami Dolphins, the Miami Heat, Coca Cola Bottling Company, and the Jackie Gleason Theatre.

Long gone are the days when their drivers picked up orders wearing smart, white uniforms, black hats and bow ties, but the Lancasters still pride themselves on offering personalized service. The company still picks up orders four days a week throughout South Florida, and promises that drivers will be there on time, every time.

Congratulations to the Lancaster family on their continued success.

Jae’s Jewelers

Jae’s JewelersBruce Hornik is the second-generation family owner of Jae’s Jewelers, which had humble beginnings in downtown Miami as a watch repair shop. Recently, he celebrated the store’s 60th anniversary.

Watchmaker George Hornik, Bruce’s father, founded Jae’s Jewelers in downtown Miami in 1945. Back then, he repaired watches for $1 and sold .25-cent leather bands for the watches. In 1954, the Horniks moved their store to Ponce De Leon Boulevard in Coral Gables, just around the corner from where the store sits today. In 1956, they moved to its present location at 237 Miracle Mile.

George and Helena Hornik, known as “Mr. & Mrs. Jae,” ran the store until 1972, when their son Bruce took over the day-to-day management. Soon he became known as “Jae Jr.”

In 1996, Bruce helped found the Business Improvement District, a non-profit organization that still exists today to help revitalize the downtown Gables. In 2001, Jae’s received the Albert Friedman Outstanding Merchant Award for business excellence from the Miracle Mile Merchants Association.

Throughout the years, Jae’s has earned a long list of loyal customers throughout the United States and in Central and South America. Jae’s has earned the loyalty of its employees as well. Customer Service Representative Rosita Mendoza has worked at the store for 42 years, and Master Watchmaker Pedro Morera has been there more than 25 years.

Today, Jae’s sells fine jewelry for every occasion and buys and sells estate jewelry. Like the Lancasters, Bruce Hornik also believes in personal service. He has been known to deliver wedding bands at the altar if the bride and groom find themselves in a pinch.

Congratulations to the Hornik family on their continued success.

Christy’s Restaurant

Christy’s RestaurantChristy’s Restaurant, a Coral Gables landmark, is celebrating 30 years as one of South Florida’s most successful steakhouses.  Just to put that in perspective, in 1978, Jimmy Carter was president, the Bee Gees topped the charts and the first “test tube” baby was born. That year, when Christy’s opened its doors in Coral Gables, French restaurants were pretty much the fine dining standard. Anticipating an audience for an American steakhouse, the restaurant’s owners gambled on the concept and a stylish new dining destination was born.

From the heyday of disco through the crazy 1980s to the present, when steakhouses are one of the nation’s top dining trends, Christy’s has been a beloved, permanent fixture on the South Florida dining landscape.  Christy’s Restaurant has proven that hearty, well executed classic cuisine combined with great service and a welcoming environment equates to staying power. Locals, many who have been coming since the restaurant first opened, are shown to their favorite tables by tuxedoed staff, many of whom have been with Christy’s for more than 20 years; while the kitchen line boasts over 100 years of experience.

This type of devotion has helped Christy’s weather innumerable dining trends over the past three decades to the point where the restaurant is in fashion once again without ever having gone out of style.  The South Florida dining landscape is proof positive that steakhouses are in vogue, with national chains popping up on every corner and celebrity chefs attaching their names to prestige projects.

Christy’s Restaurant is located at 3101 Ponce de Leon Boulevard in Coral Gables. For further information, visit the Christy’s Restaurant website.

Last updated: 1/5/2012 1:46:50 PM