Upon entering Aventura Mall’s shops, restaurants and venues, visitors are greeted by a team of smiling faces – and one person, in particular, who truly makes the magic happen: the manager.
Dedicated to ensuring a stellar in-store experience not only for guests, but also for employees, our store managers are the best of the best, bringing their impressive leadership skills and knowledge, diverse backgrounds, and vibrant personalities to Aventura Mall every day. We’d be remiss to say they aren’t a huge reason why visitors continue to make Aventura Mall a part of their lives and one of the most successful shopping centers in all of Florida.
As part of our Meet the Managers series – which you can also view on our @AventuraMall Instagram – we’ve highlighted more than 10 managers this holiday season who constantly go above and beyond. Better yet, we’ve asked them to share their insider tips, style advice and suggestions, including go-to spots for lunch, coffee, sweets, art, and more (you may even pick up a parking hack and discover your next favorite view of Aventura…
Without further ado, let’s get to know these wonderful store managers and their tips across style, culture and taste:
Daphna is the manager at GANNI, one of our newest and most talked-about stores this season. She and her team guide an excited influx of “GANNI Girls” seeking the brand’s top pieces, including the Georgette and Crepe midi dresses (“our clients love the statement silhouette”) and advise on the latest trends, from long hems and 90’s grunge to mixed prints. Daphna is proud of GANNI’s continued dedicated to environmental responsibility – it’s one of the highest rated responsible contemporary brands – and wants GANNI Girls to know they should never be afraid to take risks when it comes to style. An Israel native, Daphna loves enjoying lunch at Motek Café. You may also spot her at Naughty Coffee, Rosetta Bakery, or snapping a photo at Robert Indiana’s LOVE Sculpture (“we could all use a little more love!”). Her favorite hidden gem is the Chica Morada vendor at the weekend Aventura Farmers Market. Her parking advice? “The higher the better. Bypass that first floor and drive up!”
Jo Malone London: Jamie Coley
San Diego native Jamie Coley loves to help Jo Malone London clients discover their individual “scent wardrobe” and create unique scent pairings. His team of in-store stylists offer signature services and can even help guests engrave and personalize their fragrances – a great option for holiday gifts! While English Pear & Freesia is the brand’s best-selling scent, it’s also a great time to purchase the Peony & Blush Suede 100ml Cologne, for which Jo Malone London is donating 50% of the purchase price (up to $60,000) to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation® now through June 2023. During his breaks, Jamie enjoys a healthy and delicious lunch from Zuuk! (ideally, on the Outdoor Rooftop) and indulging in Ladurée macarons. The Aventura Slide Tower is his go-to Instagram spot, and as for our Arts Aventura Mall Collection, he loves Arrows and Flowers 2018 by Takashi Murakami & Virgil Abloh: “It makes me smile.”
Philipp Plein: Rinko Wilkins
Originally from New York, Rinko Wilkins is the store manager at Philipp Plein, where he reminds shoppers to have fun with their style and express themselves. Currently, the best-selling pieces at his Philipp Plein store are the Notorious Crystal Sneakers and Skeleton Sports Watch, but he encourages shoppers to keep their eyes open for the new Plein Sport launch! During his free time at Aventura Mall, Rinko can often be found enjoying a mindful moment at the Koi Pond, a delicious meal at JRK! or something sweet from The Cheesecake Factory. His favorite piece from the Arts Aventura Mall Collection is Julian Opie’s Walking Portrait, which is just outside his store. You may also spot Rinko snapping a photo with the luxury cars in our center or Outdoor Courtyard.
Victoria’s Secret: Kristen Vespa
Thirteen years ago, Kristen Vespa moved to Miami from New York to build her career with Victoria’s Secret in one of its hottest retail markets. Today, she’s a proud store manager encouraging shoppers to choose styles that “adapt to their body and enhance their uniqueness.” This holiday season, she suggests opting for “luxe jewel tones, shine and gold hardware” and reminds shoppers that the VS Virtual Backroom offers an extended range of bra sizes. Kristen is very proud of the VS & Co. Essentials program, which supports women and young adults in need by providing them with quality, essential undergarments. Kristen enjoys lunch breaks at Pubbelly Sushi, treating herself to the carrot cake at Carrot Express and staying caffeinated (yes, she’s excited Ralph’s Coffee is now open!) Gorillas in the Mist is her favorite spot for a mindful moment, but she also loves Snarkitecture’s Twinkling Snowfall installation, adding, “it’s magical and mesmerizing!”
Ladurée: Luis Montenegro
From Venezuela, to New York, to a little slice of Parisian paradise in Miami, Luis Montenegro is the culturally experienced store manager at our outpost of the beloved French patisserie Ladurée. Naturally, Luis says Ladurée is his favorite spot at Aventura Mall for coffee, tea or a bite to eat! As always, his best-selling items are the iconic macarons – but also the Salad Bonapart. “We’re seeing a trend of customers who want to eat healthy,” he says. Luis believes authenticity is the best style tip. He suggests visitors park in the Nordstrom Garage – “it’s convenient, especially for employees and shoppers visiting the luxury stores” – and recommends the Outdoor Courtyard as the best Instagram spot. His favorite piece from the Arts Aventura Mall Collection is Donald Baechler’s Walking Figure. After his shift, Luis can be found enjoying a yoga class at our on-site Equinox Aventura.
David Yurman: Craig Bremer
South Florida native Craig Bremer is a go-to for knowledge on both David Yurman style and Aventura Mall experiences. At present, his clients are all about layering, bold jewelry, and men’s chains – “they are always our best-sellers; we have an amazing selection!” – but Craig’s favorite piece is the simple 5.2mm Box Chain in yellow gold: “It’s strong and classic; a powerful piece without being overstated.” He also reminds clients to take advantage of David Yurman’s complimentary cleanings of their pieces. Craig’s favorite lunch is the Cilantro Lime Shrimp Salad at Nordstrom Café, and he enjoys the decadence of Läderach chocolates. He also loves visiting the Outdoor Courtyard – “the foliage and sound of the water are so peaceful” – and sitting by Jaume Plensa’s Florida’s Soul sculpture. His insider secret? “Go to the sixth floor of the parking garage and look east at the water or watch the sunset. It’s a beautiful view.” Craig’s style tip is one we truly love: “Don’t be constrained by convention. Get creative! Think outside the box, express yourself, and wear what makes you feel good.”
Zadig & Voltaire: Katherine Corona
Originally from Puerto Rico, Katherine Corona is happy to be in Miami, a place that reminds her of home and “has the best weather.” While managing her Z&V store, she’s consistently up to date on all the trends, such as cowboy boots, flared pants, and the brand’s best-selling Rock handbag. She encourages clients to exchange contact information with a Z&V Stylist to learn about in-store promotions, events and the best times to shop for specific pieces. Katherine believes an oversized blazer elevates any outfit. She enjoys getting her caffeine fix at Naughty Coffee, CVI.CHE 105 is her go-to lunch spot and she loves the chocolate desserts from PANI. Her insider tips for guests? “Play games on the Outdoor Rooftop in front of LEVEL THREE – and park close to the Outdoor Courtyard if you come to the mall at night.”
ANINE BING: Michelle Byrne
A Chicago native, ANING BING store manager Michelle Byrne moved to Miami for “love and sunshine” – and she’s done so in style. This year, she’s excited the brand is celebrating its 10-year anniversary with a tribute to some of its iconic looks, such as the Madeleine blazer in houndstooth and matching Jocelyn trousers – “a must-have statement look” – and Lizzie slides, “an everyday essential for Miami.” Michelle says the 90’s and early 2000s are still seeing a major comeback and directly influenced the brand’s latest collection. Her shoppers should also remember that the Miami graphic sweatshirts from the University & Myth Collection are only available at the Aventura Mall store. During her breaks, Michelle often eats lunch at Carrot Express, enjoys a warm chocolate chip cookie from Little Brittany Creperie or relaxes in the comfy chairs at Quore Gelatos’s scenic location. She also loves sitting in shaded chairs by Gorillas in the Mist – “I’m an animal lover and it brings so much joy!” Her style advice? “Don’t overthink it. You can never go wrong with a simple and classic approach.”
Sandro: Walky Torres
Born and raised in Venezuela, Walky Torres is now a proud Miamian and the store manager at Sandro. Right now, he’s seeing a major trend in warm outerwear as shoppers enjoy their winter travel. “For men, I’m seeing everything from puffer coats, long coats and parkas to bright colors, cargo trousers and varsity jackets. For women, oversized coats, micro skirts, fringe, baseball caps and shades of brown, bright red and ultraviolet are very popular.” The Ecru sweater with pink tulip is Walky’s favorite best-selling piece at the moment. During his breaks, Walky enjoys lunch at CVI.CHE 105, gourmet treats at Cielito Artisan Pops, Oakberry’s acai bowls and coffee from Imperial Moto Café. His favorite piece in the Arts Aventura Mall Collection? “Hello Sunshine. It reminds me of the Selaron Steps in Brazil.”
Jimmy Choo: Jennifer Amaya
Miami native Jennifer Amaya is the friendly face greeting shoppers at Jimmy Choo, where “platforms are back,” the Azia sandal is a best-selling, “must-have” shoe, and brides-to-be can say “Yes to the Choo” with the brand’s beautiful bridal assortment and special shoe customization. Jennifer encourages her clients to accessorize with a pop of color, adding “it can be more versatile than you think! If you have a closet full of neutral tones, pair them with bold hued shoes and handbags.” She enjoys dining at Motek, indulging in Bombonoles from Rosetta Bakery and sipping on coffee from Amazonica. On the weekends, she loves to stop by The Aventura Farmers Market and visit Emotion Growers “the best rose florist.” Her inside tip? “Go straight to the third floor of any parking garage for a spot!”
Aritzia: Ray Henry
Ray Henry has truly poured her heart into Aritzia’s success. Just like the popular fashion brand, she’s Canadian – and she moved from Alberta to Florida to open our Miami boutique (Florida’s first Aritzia!) She and Aritzia stylists advise clients on all the hottest trends, like “cargo pants and parachute pants” and best-sellers such as the Sculpt and Contour collections. “There are so many ways to wear our clothing. Each of our Style Advisors has their own unique way of representing the brand – find someone who speaks to you!” Ray proudly admits she frequents Swiss chocolatier Läderach once a week. She’s also a fan of Jrk! and Naughty Coffee, loves sitting in the Outdoor Rooftop, and enjoys the Arts Aventura Mall Collection. “I love how heavily art is incorporated here! My favorite pieces are Robert Indiana’s LOVE Sculpture and Laurence Wiener’s All Within the Realm of Possibility.”
Now that you know our managers a bit better, be sure to stop by, say hello and see all the holiday wonder they have in store (pun intended) this season!
For more information on our shops, restaurants, holiday happenings and more, visit AventuraMall.com or call 305-935-1110.
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