Wynwood Yard celebrates successes after challenging, experimental first year

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Local entrepreneurs and community members gather to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Wynwood Yard, a small-business hub at the intersection of NW 29th St. and N Miami Ave. in the Design District. Shellie Frai // Social Media Manager.

Local entrepreneurs and community members gather to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Wynwood Yard, a small-business hub at the intersection of NW 29th St. and N Miami Ave. in the Design District. Shellie Frai // Social Media Manager

Nestled in the heart of the vibrant Wynwood Art District lies The Wynwood Yard, an outdoor incubation space where different kinds of entrepreneurs are able to create and grow sustainable businesses.

On Nov. 17, the incubation space celebrated its one-year anniversary.

Hundreds of community members came out to support the 12 months of hard work that has allowed The Yard to sustain 17 local start-ups. From Wynbox, a residential container home, to 12 culinary food trucks, retail airstream and the most recent venture, an edible urban garden.

The Yard also promotes local businesses by programming events where yoga and Pilates instructors host classes, chefs conduct cooking lessons and local bands perform live music.

“We started off with a very small team, four restaurants and a bar. Now we are working with 25 to 30 community partners and we run one to five events every day,” said Della Heiman, founder of The Yard.

However, The Yard was not an easy space to create. Heiman had her share of struggles sustaining the unique concept.

“Figuring out an economic model that works has been challenging. I didn’t have anyone else to talk to, so we had to just figure it out as we went along. For restaurants there are benchmarks you can reference, but for me, this is an unproven business model, a totally new space,” Heiman said.

Heiman also had no one to talk to when dealing with issues like the Zika virus outbreak, which forced her to close down The Yard in early August.

Nonetheless, after a year of growth, The Yard is more popular than ever. With a new lot, the space now takes up five city lots in the middle of Wynwood.

The Yard has been featured in numerous publications like New York Post, Vogue and The Miami Herald. The nationwide exposure has brought in customers that come from all over Miami and even fly in from other states.

Heiman said that her biggest victory is the customers and community members that keep The Yard alive.

“People always say, ‘You can’t be everything to everyone,’ but I think that at The Yard, we are a lot of things to a lot of different kinds of people. It’s one of the most beautiful things about this space. Whenever you walk in here, you see such a diverse crowd of people from all walks of life connecting with this space in many different ways,” Heiman said.

Keith Johns, a UM alumnus and folk musician that performed at The Yard’s one-year anniversary party, said The Yard “could have closed down. It was a huge risk, it is a lot of space and it is high rent. But they didn’t close and they kept going. I’m so happy and proud of our city that we kept this place alive.”

However, the future of The Yard is not set in stone. According to its lease, it has one more year in the five-lot space.

Heiman said that there are a lot of question marks, and she is not sure what is going to happen this time next year. Yet, she is optimistic and believes in the future of The Yard.

Help The Wynwood Yard expand their edible garden, which provides food for on-site culinary concepts, cooking and farming classes and farm-to-table dinners by visiting this link.

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