Peter B. LairdIf there’s anyone in Miami Tony Guerra doesn’t know, it’s probably just a matterof time before they meet. Outgoing, charming and loquacious, Guerra is a“people person” just like LeBron James is a “basketball player.”
As the owner of Citrus Miami
, a hospitality marketing and consulting company,Guerra prides himself on knowing who’s who in town. And there’s nothing heenjoys more, it seems, than meeting new people and introducing them to others.
Few people are as giving of their time, ideas and contacts. Whether or not there’sanything in it for him is unimportant.
“It’s not about money,” says Guerra over lunch in Midtown. “For me, it’s all aboutconnecting people and making good things happen.” A rising tide floats all boats,one might say.
Never content with just one thing on his plate, Guerra is in perpetual motion –constantly tweeting and meeting, posting and hosting, texting and connecting. Hedoesn’t sit behind a desk; his office is the restaurant, lounge, coffee shop or wherever he happens to be meeting someone.
Sit down with Guerra for a few minutes and you can almost see the wheels of hismental Rolodex spinning in mid conversation as he thinks of someone else you should connect with.
“Hey,” Guerra says excitedly as he whips out his Blackberry and scrolls through his 5,000-plus contacts. “You need to give this guy a call. He’s opening arestaurant and needs someone to help write his website.”
Guerra’s considerable people skills have played an important role in all aspects of his life, from club promoter and hospitality consultant to charity fundraiser andone-time city commission candidate.
When he takes on new clients he becomes their ambassador, talking up theirplace every chance he gets – in person or through e-mail, Facebook, Twitter andany of the other marketing tools in his arsenal.
“I’m always looking for ways to create and promote a great environment wherepeople can come together and have fun” Tony Guerra
Other than the four years he spent in Philadelphia thanks to a soccer scholarship at Drexel University where he earned a degree in marketing, Guerra, 41, has spent his entire life in Miami. A modeling career led to an interest in theentertainment world, which eventually led him to the exploding South Beach nightclub scene in the mid ‘90s.
As a nightlife impresario, Guerra has worked with some of the biggest clubs intown including Bash, The Living Room, The Forge, Jimmy Z’s, Opium, Prive,Crobar and his very own hot spots, Aero Bar and Amika.
In 2003, Guerra decided the Miami Beach City Commission needed a fresh faceand he ran for office against high-powered parking mogul Hank Sopher andincumbent Simon Cruz. “I lost the election by just 55 votes but I got more votesper dollar, by far, than either of the other candidates,” Guerra says with a smile.
Guerra’s life took an unexpected turn in 2007 when he became the father oftwins Noah and Nina. Born three months premature, each weighed only one-and-a-half pounds at birth and spent the first year of their lives in the NeonatalIntensive Care Unit at Mount Sinai Hospital. Noah never made it home, sadly, butNina is now a happy and healthy five-year-old.
Guerra channeled his grief into action and to this day helps fundraise for theMarch of Dimes through their two major annual events, March For Babies andSignature Chefs Auction. “I do it to honor my son and my family,” Guerra says.
Although he still does a lot of work on Miami Beach – as a promoter for Arkadiaand other clubs – Guerra now spends more of his time across the causeway,working with clients in emerging hot spots like Midtown, Wynwood, Downtownand Brickell, or places like Coconut Grove that are poised for a comeback.
If Guerra were to open a place of his own, where would that be? “North MiamiAvenue,” he says, without hesitation. “It’s the main connector betweenDowntown, Wynwood, Midtown and the Design District. It’s the next big thing.”