Lake Patricia Shopping Center welcomes customers for 60 years

Community By Alexandra Herrera, Reporter Wednesday, April 3, 2024

   Sixty years ago, Ludlam Road didn’t have traffic lights at Northwest 138th Street and riders would tie up their horses outside a convenience store at the new Lake Patricia Shopping Center, the first commercial development in Miami Lakes.

     It is named for Patricia Graham, wife of town developer William (Bill) A. Graham. He believed that residents in the new neighborhoods he built should be able to buy a gallon of milk or get a haircut and not have to travel more than a mile from home. 

     The shopping center and four others The Graham Companies would build in town are destinations, with tenants such as dry cleaners, small markets, gas stations and restaurants.

     The Lake Patricia Shopping Center had the area’s first 7-11 store and is where the United Church of Christ of Miami Lakes, later called Miami Lakes Congregational Church, held services in a storefront.

     The passing of time has not diminished the shopping center’s appeal as the place to complete errands, enjoy some self care or spend time dining with family and friends.

     Tenants today are Chase Bank; CR Liquor by Clark; The Nail Garden; Innovaciones Hair Studio; Miami Lakes A+ Day Care; Prime Cleaners; Subway; Vicky Bakery; Domenico’s Italian Restaurant and Always at Your Side Adult Day Care.

      Richard Ruiz owns Miami Lakes Barber Shop, a business his uncle Rolando Ruiz ran in the 1960s. It’s the longest renting tenant in the center.

     Ruiz feels the business is a part of Miami Lakes history. Barbers there including his uncle and father Mario Ruiz have clipped four generations of heads in the same families.

      “[It’s] the close relationship we’ve built with customers,” Ruiz said.  

     He said the family atmosphere they have created in the shop is a reason so many grandfathers, fathers, uncles and sons come back to them. 

    The shop, like its patrons, has adapted to the times. Ruiz said that they have done every hair trend, from long styles to buzz cuts. 

     Ruiz has never wanted to move the business or open his own place elsewhere because of his loyal customers and the location. 

    “We grew up with Miami Lakes, we became part of the growing community,” Ruiz said. “We’re like the oldest child in the family.”

     Ruiz mentioned how clients return to the shopping center because of what it provides.

     Customers can get their nails done, have breakfast, lunch or dinner or do their banking, all in the same plaza, just like folks did in 1964. 

     Ruiz recalled how after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, he bought a chainsaw at the old hardware store that used to be next to his barber shop. 

     “It’s a shopping center that has a lot to offer for the people who come in here,” Ruiz said.