Well-known businessman Gerardo Seferlis, owner of Gerardo’s Marketplace in Miami Lakes, died Thursday after a long illness.
Seferlis embodied the immigrant success story after arriving in the U.S. in 1984 from Panama to attend college and study computers, according to a 1998 profile in The Miami Herald.
To Miami Lakers, Seferlis was known to be honest, warm and friendly. Many of his customers became like family after they visited the store that he ran with his wife Sabrina Seferlis.
Alex Penelas, an attorney and former mayor of Miami-Dade County, has an office near the market and was a regular customer.
"Gerardo loved his family, cared about his clients and friends and was a tireless worker with a fantastic disposition," Penelas posted on Facebook, along with other mourners. "He was very generous and always available to assist the community with any worthy cause. During the past two years Gerardo worked through the impact of the pandemic and later fought valiantly against an awful disease which ultimately took him from us way too soon."
Seferlis opened the market in 1998 at age 34. He was already well known in the community from when he was on the staff at Gardner’s Market in Miami Lakes. During his 10 years at the store, he worked his way up to manager before it closed, according to the Herald profile.
Shortly after, Seferlis opened a gourmet gift basket business. His gorgeous baskets were filled with goodies including wine and chocolate.
The big ones cost up to $500 and he continued to create them as the business grew. Some of his corporate customers ordered them by the hundreds for their clients during the Christmas holiday season.
Today at Gerardo’s Marketplace, along with those baskets customers can still get deli and sandwiches, cooked foods and will find a well-stocked salad bar, homemade soups, fresh fruit shakes and produce, too.
The market at 15509 Bull Run Rd. is a destination, especially for the lunchtime crowd who linger to eat indoors and outside on the patio. It recently underwent a facelift, with new awnings and a freshly painted interior.
“I always wanted to do something extraordinary that people would notice,” Seferlis told The Miami Herald. “I didn’t want to be just one more face in the crowd.”
Seferlis is also survived by his daughter Gabriella, who recently graduated from Nova Southeastern University.
The family lives in Miramar but spent a lot of time in town; Seferlis was often seen at the Miami Lakes Athletic Club.
A celebration of Gerardo Seferlis’ life will be held Monday in a ballroom at the Miami Lakes Hotel on Main, (formerly Shula’s Hotel) at 6842 Main St., from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
A GoFundMe account was established to assist the family: https://bit.ly/39J9zAP.