Hello All –OMG – where did the last 10 years go.
I am beyond thrilled and full of pride that AF&Co. will celebrate its 10th Anniversary on 11/21/15!! Can you believe it?
I remember the day I decided to start the company. I had actually dreamed of doing it every time I watched Sex in the City. I was convinced I was going to have a hot agency like Samantha’s! I’d be wearing sexy outfits, taking Fridays off, hitting the Hamptons and having a new boyfriend every week! Folks, I’m here to tell you I was soooo wrong. I have had the most amazing experiences, launched 34 new restaurant concepts, developed 75 more along with 40 hotels and had easily over 2000 delicious meals but this is damn hard (and rewarding) work. And none of it would be possible without the extraordinary cast of team members, clients, mentors, consultants, friends and mascots that have guided this agency along the way embracing my crazy New Jersey Jewishy some say neurotic personality.
It would be impossible for me to name all wonderful team members that have come through our halls – our alumni list is killer but a huge thanks to the team past and present who have helped to make AF&Co one of the most prominent restaurant and hospitality consulting companies in the universe. (A bit much I know). A special shout out to Kechia, Leith, Laiko and Sasha who helped me get it all started, Farryn Lewis who kept it and me going for years and Amanda Marcello who has really shaped this company in the last two years. And then of course there is Erin, Yasemin, Candace, Madison, Liz, Maya and Jamie who have been amazing allies for many years now. And our current team that inspires me daily — Lib, Lauren, Kyle, Kerryn, Angela, Angelo and Alex. THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART.
Next up, the amazing clients that we have had the opportunity to work with – from openings and concept launches to PR/marketing programs we’ve done it all for the very best restaurants and hotels coast to coast (London too). Again – I can’t begin to name names but I will say a big thanks to Niki Leondakis who was our first client when she was at Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Umberto Gibin/Staffan Terje of Perbacco/barbacco and the soon to open Volta who were our second clients and Larry Mindel/Amy Svendberg of Poggio/Copita who were the third to believe in us. Along the way we have had the joy of working on wonderful projects such as Eat. Drink. SF (formerly SF Chefs), the wonderful hospitality programs at Wente Vineyards, James Beard Taste America for three years and now Flavor! Napa Valley. And then there’s our chefs – from Martin Yan, David Burke and Tony Mantuano to Tyler Florence and Joanne Weir – we have had the honor to work with stars, rising stars and their wonderful management teams. And of course we’ve slept around thanks to our hotel clients – we have been lucky enough to work with Ritz Carlton, Marriott, Destination Hotels and Resorts, Red Lion, Greystone Hotels and Kimpton of course. THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR BELIEF IN US.
Finally there is the support system – Jean, Nick and Joe who keep us flowing and legal. And my true blue, understanding and lovely group of friends and family. This includes all my work wives (we shared offices with Kimberly Charles for almost four years). Seriously — the sleepless nights, the “what should I do” phone calls, the” can you believe this happened” moments have all been endured by my besties – Stuart, Sharee, JP, Linda, Kim, Anne, Beth, Ken, Joe, Doug and Chris. And lastly there are the people that are most important to me (and who I do a lot of this for) –my beautiful family. Heidi, Jay and Zach you have been beyond supportive and I love you very much. A BIG THANKS TO ALL OF YOU FILLED WITH HUGS AND KISSES.And that leaves our mascots – the yorkie twin sisters Daisy and Tulip who also turned ten this year! These furry little ladies have kept me going on so many levels I can’t even begin to explain. Yes, I have become a crazy dog person and I am filled with love for them. And I also love their wonderful dog nanny Ariel who has been their other Dad for over 6 years now.
That’s it – 10 Years! And yet it feels like we are just starting. The company is thriving, we are introducing new services and specialties, we have a partner in NY and we have big plans for continued growth and success.
So to all of you –our supporters, I say thank you, thank you, thank you. Keep eating, drinking and traveling because the more you support our clients the more we get to keep thriving and doing the work we love.
With gratitude and love ––
Read on for news on our 2016 Trend Report, new team members, holiday happenings and so much more. (and if you are really an AF&CO fan, check out The Road to Now for fun pics of our journey and many more alums.
Read the full newsletter here!