Village Life, Work

Flowers & Coffee on Grand

Razzy Ghomeshi, 36, has given the American dream a new twist. He’s an entrepreneur and a perfectionist who, so far, succeeds brilliantly at  whatever he attempts. His latest effort is Navi: Coffee and Flowers, at  3213 Grand Ave. He’s taken a forlorn little space next to CVS and turned  it into a stylish and gracious setting for people who want a coffee  break in the company of beautiful flower displays, which, in addition to  a variety of beverages and pastries, are on sale. The store, open from  7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, made its debut a month ago and is already  attracting a following among neighbors and passers-by. That’s exactly  what Razzy dreamed of more than a decade ago.

But the route from South Miami to Grand Ave. in Coconut Grove wasn’t direct.

Born and raised in South Miami, Gomeshi comes from a solid  Iranian-American family. He did well in school and went to university in  St. Louis, where he undertook a triple major in business, international  marketing, and finance. He spent one semester in London at a think tank  where interns worked with experts doing deep dives on topics related to  nonprofit management that demanded critical thinking. He loved it.  After graduation, he got a job offer at a major bank in New York City.  “I thought New York seemed like a great place to spend two years and  learn a lot before coming back to Miami,” he says. Thriving in Wall  Street’s high-pressure work environment, he rose early, went to bed  late, and landed a job at one of the country’s most prestigious hedge  funds. He was living the dream. “Two years turned into about 13,” he  says.

While in New York he met his wife, Neela, a New Jersey native from a  similar background. Eventually he persuaded her to move with him to  Miami, where together, surrounded by a loving family, they now have a  three-month-old boy named Rumi.

They share what has become a family-driven business. Navi is named after  Razzy’s mother. She’s in charge of the flowers. Neela is a graphic  artist who designed the store’s simple but elegant logo. The coffee shop  and café was always the dream, Razzy explains. Success on Wall St. was a  stop along the way.

“I’ve wanted to open a coffee shop for as long as I can remember in my  adult life,” Razzy says. “Being in New York, which is a beautiful city  for cafés and coffee shops, constantly reinforced that. I love the idea  of being able to sit down and have a conversation with someone over  something as simple as a cup of coffee. I said to myself one day I will  do it.”

Razzy gets help from the whole family—his wife, his father, his mother,  and his sister, an attorney who works at the federal public defender’s  office. A big plus is they’re working for free. Instead of seeking  investors, Razzy is backing the business himself.

“I always had a very entrepreneurial spirit,” Razzy says. “My major  interest is in the world of hospitality and service. My first job out of  college was not an entrepreneurial job, nor was it in hospitality. It  was a really good job in finance. During my time on Wall Street, I said  to myself eventually I’ll do something entrepreneurial. Finally, it  happened. When I moved back to Miami, I could feed the entrepreneurial  flame. This, Navi, is my first real go at it.”

Razzy and his team have transformed a tiny and completely neutral space  (with ample parking behind) into a little oasis of color and liveliness.  There are a few seats indoors and an area for socializing near the  espresso machine. Outdoors is emerging as an attractive, shaded garden  with chairs and benches. He’s already thinking about how to make it  livable in Miami’s steamy summers. Fans and misters are on the shopping  list.

“I’m amazed by how quickly the neighborhood has embraced this,” Razzy  says. “But I have so much left to do. I tell my wife the goal is to  plant roots in this neighborhood in this space and for those roots to  grow and to put a lot of love into it. But in my mind the roots are only  an inch deep. There are certain things you can’t shortcut or  fast-track. You have to be there long enough to do what you’re doing  consistently. Doing a thousand little things really well, with attention  to detail, is how you create a place where people may not be able to  put their finger on it, but they feel special.”        

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