Category Archives: Feature Stories

Wellington The Magazine, LLC Featured Articles

From Oprah To ‘Shark Tank,’ Cheese And Charcuterie Board Company Boarderie Is On A Roll

From Oprah To ‘Shark Tank,’ Cheese And Charcuterie Board Company Boarderie Is On A Roll

It has been an outstanding end to a successful year for the locally owned cheese and charcuterie board company Boarderie, which offers beautiful and taste-tempting products for the holiday season and all year round.

Boarderie has truly been a group effort on the part of four partners — Aaron Menitoff (co-CEO and managing partner), Rachel Solomon (co-CEO and partner), Julie Larson Menitoff (co-COO and partner) and Angel Jerez (co-COO, partner, sommelier and cheesemonger).

The team operates very much like siblings who have strong opinions and rely heavily on each other for guidance and assistance to make it through the long days and stressful decisions. They laugh, agree, disagree, support each other, and at the end of the day, they love each other as siblings do.

Boarderie was honored by Oprah Winfrey in November on her exclusive “Favorite Things” list and featured on ABC’s “Shark Tank” TV show on Friday, Nov. 18, where they sealed a deal with Shark Lori Greiner. Boarderie is the first and only company shipping completely pre-assembled, catering-quality cheese and charcuterie boards overnight, nationwide.

Aaron Menitoff and his wife Julie Larson operated a gourmet catering company in the Palm Beach area for 20 years. With deep roots in Wellington’s equestrian community, and working with clients like Prince Harry, Ferrari International and StubHub at the Super Bowl, they were at the peak of their career.

However, when the pandemic hit, all events were canceled overnight, and they needed to pivot to keep their staff employed and business afloat. They knew cheese and charcuterie was one of the fastest-growing culinary trends, and that e-commerce was the only way to adapt to the new COVID-19 world, so they set out to create the first-ever completely pre-arranged cheese and charcuterie boards that could be shipped overnight from coast to coast.

Aaron and Julie literally bet the farm on Boarderie. They used all of their savings, took a home equity line against the farm, a Small Business Association loan and a line of credit against the catering business.

They used the money to retrofit their catering facility to accommodate board production, keep the staff paid and buy inventory. The company launched its first online sales channel with Goldbelly in October 2020, and by December of that year, they were one of the top-selling products out of 1,000 competitors!

The focus has been providing hassle-free, catering-quality displays that could be shipped overnight directly to customer’s doors… taking catering into the e-commerce space, where it has thrived.

But even after a storied life and career to date — including having built and operated a surf and yoga hotel in Nicaragua; living on a farm with chickens, goats, bunnies and horses; and having served thousands of meals doing disaster relief food service post hurricanes in Florida for the past six storms — they did not know or really anticipate that Boarderie would fill a major gap in the edible gifting market.

Traditional food gifts have fallen behind, Aaron Menitoff explained. They underserve their customers with inefficient, outdated and impersonal products. Boarderie, he said, serves customers whether they are hosting at home, sending a spectacular gourmet gift or simply want to indulge on their own. The company even does custom logo engraving on the keepsake wood boards for corporate gifting, which has been a big hit for companies looking to send a unique experience.

“One board has dozens of flavor combinations, so mixing and matching various ingredients in different assortments gives endless pairings for guests to experience,” Menitoff said. “We like to call it ‘Eventertainment,’ which we think is an experiential activity based around the sharing of food and friends, which are our two biggest passions in life.”

He is particularly proud of the wonderful boards available for this holiday season.

“This holiday season, we have our best boards yet and are shipping overnight nationwide all season long,” Menitoff said. “Don’t forget to schedule your holiday orders as soon as possible. At Boarderie.com, you can select delivery dates up to 365 days in advance and ship all of your holiday orders to multiple addresses in one simple order by selecting ‘ship to multiple addresses at checkout.’”

Visit www.boarderie.com to see the full range of boards available from Boarderie.

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’Tis The Season Ring

’Tis The Season Ring In The Holidays At The Mall At Wellington Green With Some Seasonal Celebrations, Epicurean Adventures And Thoughtful Gifts  

It’s holiday time, and you can wow everyone on your wish list with a cornucopia of Santa-approved gifts from get-noticed fashion to sweet surprises your little angels will cherish — all available at the Mall at Wellington Green.

FOR HER
Give the gift of glowing skin with Ella Bella Collection’s holistic skincare line of soaps, scrubs and moisturizers formulated with dermis-enriching vitamins and organic essential oils perfectly suited for any skin type.

For the lady who loves to make an entrance, look no further than Dawn Bacchus. The former beauty pageant winner outfits her eponymous boutique with lovely, one-of-a-kind separates, as well as her own vibrant, hand-painted pieces.
If a woman’s hair is her crown, then The Hair Doctor is her kingdom. Services at this state-of-the-art salon range from cuts and extensions to bespoke wigs and hair replacement.
Designer-inspired pendants, bracelets and stacking rings at the Jewelry Box offer exceptional value and make ritzy treasures your ice princess will love without breaking the bank.

FOR HIM
Indulge his sartorial, luxe-meets-street-style aesthetic at Laced, where outré designer styles and limited-edition athletic footwear are always on display.

A paradise for sports fans, Palm Beach Autographs carries hundreds of authenticated, autographed memorabilia and hosts in-store signings with current and former pro athletes like Pete Rose and Mike Tyson, who visit next month.

Lifetime Kitchen carries all the top-of-the-line tools and accessories your home chef needs, such as Staub grills and Miyabi knives — plus it will price-match anyone, including Amazon.
Treat him to an afternoon of pampering at ManCave for Men, a luxury barbershop featuring indulgent treatments, and hair and skin services are complemented with a mug of beer.

FOR THE KIDS
At GameStop, the world’s largest retail gaming destination, you’ll find plenty of top-rated games, consoles, gadgets and accessories to satisfy your favorite gamer.

Known for its alternative ensembles, Hot Topic also carries fandom apparel, pop-culture merchandise and geek chic ephemera that young fashionistas will love.

Celebrate her passions, accomplishments and milestones with a Pandora charm bracelet that doubles as chic wrist candy.

Making squishy slime is a cerebral and stress-relieving experience, especially for kids who can stir up their own batches with cool additives like glitter and beads at The Slime Factory, which offers full and express experiences and monthly passes.

FESTIVE FEASTING
While you’re shopping, explore the deliciousness of multicultural cuisine at the amazing ethnic eateries available at the Mall at Wellington Green.

Q’Bola Café — Transport your palette to the Yucatan Peninsula at this bright, fast-casual spot that prepares flavorful staples like salchipapas, Hispanic sandwiches and Cuban pizza.

Maoz Vegetarian — Falafel balls with healthful accompaniments ground the menu that also features fresh-pressed juices, fruit bowls and tasty handhelds like its signature hummus, egg and eggplant sandwich.

The Madre’s Mexican Fresh — At this Wellington outpost, diners can build their own Mexican-style meals with a selection of grilled meats, market-fresh ingredients and delicious sides. Churros drizzled with dulce de leche or Nutella sauce is the perfect finish.

Keywa’s — Owners Julian Sierra and Tania Eifert opened their dessert counter with an emphasis on savory and sweet crepes named after popular travel destinations, including Colombia and Peru to honor their South American roots.

The Mall at Wellington Green is located at 10300 W. Forest Hill Blvd. For more info., call (561) 227-6900 or visit www.shopwellingtongreen.com.

HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS
Get into the spirit of the season with an array of holiday happenings at the Mall at Wellington Green.

Saturday, Dec. 3: The Holiday Musicthon, hosted by the Palm Beach County Music Teachers Association, commemorates the sound of music with piano performances by school children from around the Palm Beaches.

Sunday, Dec. 4: Sensory Santa was founded so children with special needs can experience this classic holiday visit in a sensory-friendly environment. Beneath soft lights and falling snow, kids will enjoy structured, no-stress activities and a “slow” photo session with Father Christmas before the mall opens.

Monday, Dec. 5: Get your four-legged pals into the Christmas spirit with a Paws ’n’ Claus photo package that comes with a goodie bag full of scrumptious pet treats and a gift for their parents.

Saturday, Dec. 10: The Merry Little Breakfast is a pre-holiday shopping must-do with special appearances by the Ice Princess and Rudolph the Red Nosed-Reindeer, live entertainment and a scrumptious send-off from Chick-fil-A.

Tuesday, Dec. 13: Plié. Shuffle. Cartwheel. Repeat. At the Holiday Dance Recital, experience an evening of exciting acrobatic and rhythmic performances by students from the Academy of Dance and Acrobatics and BeastMakers Dance Studio.

Wednesday, Dec. 14: Skip gift-wrapping at home and head to the Mommy and Me Wrap-Up Party for fun activities like personalizing ornaments and singing Christmas melodies with Miss Chloe of Chloe’s Kids.

Saturday, Dec. 17: Part of the mall’s Share the Spirit Gift Card Giveaway, random recipients will receive gift cards in amounts of $100 and $50 one to keep and one to pay forward.

Wednesday, Dec. 21: Kick off the Festival of Lights with a Menorah-Lighting Ceremony featuring a bubble show, Hanukkah-inspired activities like dreidel-making and traditional treats like sufganiyot.

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Staffing Solutions For Households

Staffing Solutions For Households The Wellington Agency Can Provide Nannies, Housekeepers, Butlers, Private Chefs, Drivers & More

By Mike May

When it comes to finding domestic assistance, look no further than the Wellington Agency, which is based here in Wellington but serves households across South Florida and beyond.

Whether you need a maid, driver, housekeeper, house manager, laundress, baby nurse, nanny, governess, butler, private chef or a private security detail, the Wellington Agency can meet your needs. The firm is currently providing professional assistance to clients who own homes not only in Wellington, but in Miami, Palm Beach, Jupiter, Boca Raton, New York City, the Hamptons and even across the pond in London.

The roots of the Wellington Agency, operated by Founder/President April Berube, can be traced back to her small business in New England in the mid-1990s, and to Berube’s positive childhood memories of visits to Palm Beach County to see her grandparents back in the 1970s and 1980s.

“I started my own childcare business in 1995 when I was 23 and a new, young mother,” Berube recalled. “It was called Nanny Poppins.”

After a series of long, cold winters in Boston, Berube and her husband Mark wanted to live somewhere warmer in the winter. They discovered Wellington.

“We looked for somewhere that was warm and beautiful,” Berube recalled. “I remember visiting my grandparents when I was a child, and they lived in Palm Beach County. It was always beautiful down here. In our search for a place, Wellington kept popping up, so we moved here in 2004. In 2006, we started Wellington Nannies, which provided childcare services for families of young children. My husband and I wanted to contribute and make a difference in the community.”

The family did contribute to the community and continues to do so. According to Berube, the evolution of the Wellington Agency from Wellington Nannies was a natural one.

“Many of my clients started asking about my ability to provide staffing for their yachts and private planes, as well as looking after their children,” she recalled.

Clearly, there was a professional staffing niche that needed to be filled. So, Berube filled it. The Wellington Agency was founded in 2009. Based on one referral after another, her business has skyrocketed and continues to soar.

“The business community in Wellington has been very good to us,” Berube said. “Companies and residents of Wellington are good about doing business with one another.”

Just as the business has grown, her family has expanded, as well. She and her husband are now the proud parents of three grown children — Jordan, Joelle and Lily.

As for the rise of the Wellington Agency, its success is all based on integrity and a commitment to excellence.

“At the Wellington Agency, your satisfaction is so important to us that we guarantee all placements for the length of the commitment,” Berube said. “This is almost unheard of in a domestic staffing agency. We are also very thorough with our background and reference checks. When we are contacted, we provide staff for all the homes of any particular family. Many of them have multiple homes in Los Angeles, New York City or in Europe.”

Berube and her staff provide first-class individuals to clients because her clients require it.

“The domestic staff you’ll have access to at the Wellington Agency are the best in the industry because of our advanced training and previous experience requirements,” Berube said. “All candidates represented by our agency must have a solid background in the field they are applying for, along with excellent references from previous families. This ensures their competency and trustworthiness. All of our candidates have completed long-term assignments and are looking for families who recognize and appreciate their level of experience.”

The Wellington Agency only fills vacancies for full-time/long-term roles or seasonal work. There are no weekly or weekend assignments.

Berube values her relationships with her clients and works hard to help them develop long-lasting relationships with their domestic help. She also wants those employees to have a positive, long-lasting relationship with their employers, too.

The Wellington Agency provides continued support, placement counseling and even household mediation services, if necessary, to its clients throughout the hiring and employment process. The agency hires the best and most qualified domestic help and staff for clients. Currently, the four most commonly requested categories of help are for full-time housekeepers, private chefs, house/estate managers and drivers.

According to Berube, a housekeeper is much more than just a house cleaner or maid; talented and creative private chefs are in high demand; house/estate managers are becoming a common request; and many people who come from big cities, such as New York, don’t drive because they lived in a city where they either walked or used public or private transportation.

The role of the house manager is particularly popular for families who are always on the go and require help with daily demands in their multiple homes.

“The house manager runs the house and all domestic staff report to the house manager, not the owner of the home,” Berube explained. “The house manager makes sure outside vendors, such as lawn care professionals or pool companies, get access to the homes, get their jobs done and everything is in perfect running order for the owners when they arrive.”

If you need domestic help at your home in Wellington or elsewhere, call (561) 713-2663 or contact April Berube at april@thewellingtonagency.com. Learn more about the firm at www.thewellingtonagency.com. The office is located in the Chancellor Building at 12008 South Shore Blvd. in Wellington.

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Surfing The Wave Of The Future

Surfing The Wave Of The Future Khanna House Studios Is Wellington’s First-Of-Its-Kind Pod/Vlogcast Studio

Story by Mike May  |  Photos by Abner Pedraza

The next wave in high technology and internet content creation has made its way to Wellington. In September, Khanna House Studios, a full-service pod/vlogcast studio with livestream capabilities and dedicated content creation space, opened its doors in the community.

Khanna House Studios — located at 3361 Fairlane Farms Road, Suite 4, in Wellington — represents the future of digital communications.

The business is the brainchild of Julie Khanna, a longtime Wellington resident who has spent more than a decade connecting people and businesses through creative and exciting vehicles, such as public and community relations, strategic communications and media marketing.

Getting this new facility constructed was no easy chore for Khanna, as there were many late nights spent in July and August getting everything constructed, connected and operational. The new facility is a positive side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic seemed to yield a public distrust of the media, and people turned to creating and consuming their own content for entertainment and infotainment,” Khanna said. “Independent media is our future. In the near future, people will watch their hospital’s channel for the latest medical news, their salon’s channel for the latest beauty styles and their local real estate broker for market trends. People will customize their media consumption according to what’s important to them, their beliefs and their emotional connection to the host.”

For Khanna, the opening of Khanna House Studios was the next logical step in her career.

“My background is in public relations, strategic communications and media marketing,” Khanna explained. “My family and I have always been quite center on social media. We know the power of social media and how it can positively help scale a business, connect resources and share important messages — and now we enjoy helping others to do the same!”

According to Khanna, digital communications content takes many forms.

“Content is any online material such as social media posts, written copy, videos, blogs, web site information and photos. Creating content is necessary for anyone interested in having an online presence and audience, whether you’re a small business or an influencer,” Khanna said.

She runs this new creation space with her children, Lillian, Nikhil and Devi, as well as Akai Jackson, a social media entrepreneur who speaks to corporations and organizations on mindset and personal development.

Khanna House Studios is truly a one-of-a-kind facility.

“Our studio is very different because it is a content creation studio and podcast studio all in one,” Khanna said. “I don’t know where one could find another content creation studio with moveable walls, green screens for branding options, rearrangeable furniture and the ability to stage different photo opportunities anywhere near here.”

The services that the studio provides will create powerful connections between businesses and their clients.

“This new space will be a community-based location where solopreneurs, content creators, business owners and organizations can come together to grow and learn from one another, showcase their businesses and create affordable content, whether it is for their social media or any other means of communications,” Jackson said.

Even though Khanna House Studios has only been operational since September, many local groups and organizations have used the studio, especially for live streaming.

“Surprisingly, we’ve had scores of people and organizations use the studio already,” Khanna said. “And people are using it in some exciting ways. For example, we’ve live-streamed a hands-off CPR demonstration by Wellington Regional Medical Center and Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue live-streamed a presentation by Community Partners of South Florida.”

The list of local clients also includes the Palm Health Foundation, Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches, the Wellington Chamber of Commerce, the Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach County.

According to Khanna, groups are using the facility for different purposes.

“We’ve also had podcast parties for people creating milestone keepsakes, rented the studio to photographers and watched people become show hosts,” Khanna said.

The 1,200-square-foot space features a moveable green screen wall, enough room for a client’s step-and-repeat for personalized branding during photoshoots, livestreams and content creation, and an entirely brandable, industrial-chic, natural-light-filled studio slated for photographers and videographers to host their own photoshoots.

With seating for up to four people, three camera angles, optimal lighting and multiple background choices, podcasters can record an episode or multiple episodes in the customizable, sound-proof audio/video studio. Khanna House Studios is also equipped to mix and master any professional audio/visual content, and podcasters receive their edited episodes within five days, or clients can edit their own content at a discounted rate.

“Whether you’d like to edit your footage, have us do it, or are interested in creating consistent content, we are excited to be able to customize options for our neighbors and fellow business owners,” Khanna said. “It is important to give people options. The moveable green screen wall allows us to create fresh content in seemingly different settings. The option to be or bring your own creative professional or edit your own work allows people options.”

In addition to the rentable space, Khanna House Studios offers events and classes focused on ways that organizations or individuals can monetize their podcast, build an advertising deck for their show and entrepreneurship tutoring. Khanna will also rent the space to creative groups that want to host their events.

“Our space is the growth hub for all things creative and creative collabs,” Khanna said. “The future of media and content creation is changing, and we’re here for it!”

The services of Khanna House Studios are not just used by social media gurus and large businesses.

“I want everyone to know that content isn’t just for influencers. Content is for small business owners to solopreneurs to nationally recognized brands,” Khanna said. “Social media is changing. Quality over quantity is revered. I would rather have 100 loyal followers who buy my products than a million who look and don’t buy. We are here for you to start your content creation journey.”

The cost to do business with Khanna House Studio can be structured for any budget.

“Our pricing is fair. I firmly believe that social media and content creation are crucial to business success,” Khanna explained. “That said, I don’t want anyone to be disadvantaged by barriers in creating content, such as budget, lack of knowledge or technology literacy. We solve that. We offer membership pricing for those looking to make consistent monthly content, and transparent hourly rates for the studio rental, available at all times on our web site.”

Khanna House Studios is open seven days a week. For more information, visit www.khannahousestudios.com or call (561) 759-0801. Khanna House Studios can also be found on Facebook @khannahousestudios, TikTok @juliekhanna and Instagram @khannahousestudios.

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Wine Soiree Fundraiser

Wine Soiree Fundraiser Women Of The Wellington Chamber Event Supports The Talented Teen Club

By Deborah Welky

The Women of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce (WOW) held its annual wine-tasting soiree last month. The event attracted more than 50 guests and netted more than $1,000 for the Talented Teen Club, so that the nonprofit can provide gift cards for teens at holiday time.

Hosted Oct. 13 at the Hive Suites on Fairlane Farms Road and sponsored by the JH Massey Group, the wine-tasting was led by Sunny Hawkins of Scout & Cellar, purveyor of “clean-crafted” wines.

“Scout & Cellar is a member of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce, and, when we approached Sunny Hawkins about helping us with our fundraiser, she graciously agreed,” Event Coordinator Sherron Permashwar said. “We had 10 charcuterie boards around the room — everything from savory to sweet — and Sunny gave the guests samples of five different wines, while she explained the kinds of wine, the pouring of wine and the pairing of wines. Scout & Cellar also donated a dozen bottles of wine for a raffle, with the winners announced after the tasting.”

The guests also got to meet a grateful representative from the Talented Teen Club.

“That donation will help put some lovely smiles on faces at our Gifts for Teens event on Dec. 17,” said Shawn Ho-Hing King, founder of this local nonprofit organization. “We’ve been giving out gift cards for so many years to older kids who are sometimes overlooked by those donating to Toys for Tots. This year, we are estimating having more than 400 families at our Greenacres location. We are so, so grateful to the Wellington Chamber. They have really stepped up.”

Jennifer Massey-Hernandez, of the business brokerage JH Massey Group, was honored to be the event’s primary sponsor.

“We proudly sponsored this event to provide guests a rewarding evening out, coming together for an amazing cause of support and love, not only for Talented Teens, but also for women supporting other women and their businesses,” she said. The Women of Wellington is a collective group of like-minded businesswomen driven to make a difference in the community, while supporting one another’s business, thereby creating a network of sustainable contacts and resources.”

Formed nearly 10 years ago, WOW hosts approximately four philanthropic events a year, each with a different beneficiary.

“We love supporting our chamber community through supporting our chamber members,” Massey-Hernandez said. “Therefore, we always look for great ways to incorporate the various philanthropic types of nonprofits that are in our chamber. The Talented Teen Club has a great mission and was a perfect fit, especially leading up to the holidays. Teens are so often forgotten during the holiday season — and providing something to gift them for the holidays was our pleasure.”

The nonprofit Talented Teen Club was founded by King 17 years ago in an effort to build self-esteem and self-confidence in teens through various programs.

“I lost my mother when I was 10 years old and, to this day, it’s the biggest loss of my life,” King said. “But it was most difficult during my teen years. Fortunately, I was gifted the natural ability to do hair. I got into the beauty industry, and it literally saved my life. So that’s what I want our teens to do — go toward their natural gifts and abilities and use that vehicle to build self-esteem and self-confidence.”

She is particularly thankful for the ability to help teenage girls.

“In the beauty industry, I deal with so many women who don’t find their superpower early,” King said. “When I realized that, it really put the gas in my tank to form the club. What if I could give young girls and boys the ability to dream and to use their God-given gifts and discover their own superpowers earlier than I did?”

She works closely with her board to decide which programs to put in place by listening to what the teens’ dreams are. “We find a teen’s natural talents, and then get them a mentor in that area,” King said. “If they have leadership qualities, our Leadership Academy program will help them get into leadership roles at their school, or at least as a person, within themselves. Our Track-and-Field program is geared toward helping teens receive scholarships, as well as being good for their mental health and as an outlet for some physical activity as they navigate this crazy world. Our Youth Cosmetology program and the associated Cosmetology Apprenticeship program gives teens the skillset necessary to go into the beauty industry of their choice.”

The Talented Teen Club also works to make sure students, especially Title 1 students, have the school supplies necessary at back-to-school time and, of course, gift cards at holiday time.

“We make sure they get some love at Christmastime and throughout the year,” King said. “The families are so grateful. When you read the notes and letters that they write, just to get on the list… We try to open up our doors each year to new families that are struggling and really need our help.”

To donate in time for holiday giving, contact the Talented Teen Club at (561) 649-1234 by Dec. 10 so the group has time to wrap each gift. Volunteers are also always needed.

Learn more about the Talented Teen Club at www.talentedteenclub.org. For more information about the Women of the Wellington Chamber, visit www.wellingtonchamber.com.

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Treating Patients With Care & Compassion

Treating Patients With Care & Compassion Wellington’s Dr. Katherine Brazzale Is The New Chief Medical Officer At Trustbridge

By Deborah Welky

Dr. Katherine Brazzale, a Wellington resident who was recently promoted to chief medical officer at Trustbridge, grew up in England and was studying to be an architect at University College London when she recognized medicine as her true calling.

Brazzale then fell in love with an American and moved to the United States in 2004. She completed her residency in family medicine at the University of Florida, where she was chief resident at Shands in 2008 before becoming the first-ever physician fellow for hospice and palliative care by Trustbridge that same year.

Trustbridge is the nonprofit umbrella organization for Hospice of Palm Beach County, Hospice of Broward County and Hospice by the Sea. Having long worked with pediatric hospice patients for Trustbridge, Brazzale became chief medical officer for the organization this year.

“I love Trustbridge because it’s nonprofit,” Brazzale said. “Being English, I come from a National Health Service, and I am uncomfortable with the fact that money often delineates what kind of healthcare you get in America. Also, many people are under the impression that ‘hospice’ means that they’re going to take away all your medicines and you’re going to die. Not at Trustbridge. Most of our patients are on Medicare, but Medicare funding is fairly minimal. Here, we can apply to our foundation to get grants for treatments that are not available through regular hospice. For instance, if Medicare doesn’t cover it, but you need a month or two more of dialysis so you can attend your daughter’s wedding, we can go to our foundation for the funding.”

Brazzale said she loves working with her team, a 130-member group comprised of 30 board-certified or board-eligible doctors, as well as nurses, social workers, chaplains and volunteers. She loves their creative process of “finding a way.”

“Whenever a patient needs something, I’m never told no. I’m just asked how I’m going to do it,” Brazzale said. “You have to think outside the box. Some of the situations you walk into, it’s challenging. Most of the patients are very sick, and we get invited into people’s lives — the whole family’s lives. So, I feel it’s a real privilege. They’re in a vulnerable state, and they reveal so much to us. They allow us to get involved.”

What she tells her team, first and foremost, is to listen.

“You have to be so careful when you’re entering someone’s home,” Brazzale said. “You want to create a sense of trust. This person may be in real trouble, and you have to assimilate information very fast. I suggest saying as little as possible. Let them talk. If you look around, are observant, you’ll get clues as to how things are going. You may see a medical drip, an oxygen tank. You may be able to guess what religion they may be or whether they’re alone. In the 15 minutes we are there for a first visit, there are so many pieces of information we gain in homes that can help us, as opposed to in a clinic. I tell my team to remain humble and respectful. Don’t sit down unless invited. Create the relationship from there. Foster a feeling of trust.”

In hospice situations, that can be a challenge.

“Some patients are resentful, filled with hostility. Some view me as the Grim Reaper,” Brazzale said. “Or maybe the daughter thought it was a good idea, but the patient doesn’t want me there. These people typically have a lot of anger. They’re angry that they’re sick, and they’re frightened. The worst thing would be that they don’t let you in or ask you to leave. It can go horribly wrong. You need to tread lightly and listen. You want to meet the needs of the patient, rather than deciding what you think they need. If a patient asks me to leave, I leave. I’ll try to reach out again later, but it depends how much turmoil there is.”

In many situations, the whole family may be under stress. That’s when Brazzale may bring along another team member.

“If a patient is having a hard time with wound care or symptom management, that’s my job,” Brazzale said. “It often helps to have a joint visit that includes a nurse or chaplain. But if a family member or spouse is also having issues, I might bring along a social worker, who can be working with the spouse while I’m working with the patient. That’s the beauty of hospice — you’re working as a team the whole time.”

Trustbridge’s efforts extend beyond the patient in many ways. Among the many bereavement programs offered is Club Seahorse.

“Once a year, children who are bereaved come together in a camp run by Trustbridge volunteers,” she explained. “And we have a bereavement team who reaches out to family members after the patient has passed to let them know that there are bereavement groups out there if they need them.”

Pet therapy and music therapy are also Trustbridge offerings.

“Music therapy is not just entertainment,” Brazzale said. “Particularly in dementia patients, it’s wonderful to see their response to familiar music as the music therapist works with them. That’s what sets Trustbridge apart — inpatient or outpatient, we can supply our patients with these additional things.”

Under Brazzale’s leadership, there will also be increased participation with the Veterans Administration. “We currently partner with them, and we do hold a ceremony for our veterans, but veterans do have specific experiences and specific needs that we need to take into consideration,” she said.

Another push forward is Trustbridge’s partnership with the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundation, which works to provide philanthropic support to ensure the ongoing availability of safe, quality, cost-effective healthcare for children and their families, regardless of ability to pay.

“At Trustbridge, we do applicative care consults in hospitals and hospice for young patients who have six months or more left — as well as palliative care — but our focus is still on getting children home,” Brazzale said. “We always hope that, even with symptoms, people can continue to live their lives.”

As she continues to have a soft spot in her heart for pediatrics, Brazzale hopes her new administrative role doesn’t keep her from one-on-one contact with patients.

“I’ve been with Trustbridge 14 years now,” she said. “I still visit facilities and assisted living centers, and I’m learning a bit more about the administrative work. I’m thrilled to be in this position — a little scared, too. I think healthcare is such a difficult thing, ever-changing. Yet I would rather be in the driving seat, navigating the change, rather than experiencing the change downstream… I hope I never get disconnected from those home visits and become purely administrative and lose sight of that. It’s going to be an adventure.”

To learn more about Trustbridge and its services, call (561) 848-5200 or visit www.trustbridge.com.

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Show to Soirée

A lifestyle brand that captures the tradition of equestrian apparel while adding innovative elegance, Barn & Beyond provides apparel and accessories to all equestrian disciplines with style, elegance and a pop of personality.

At Barn & Beyond Equestrian Apparel, Nancy Grutschus has created a line of “athleisure wear” for the equestrian world after seeing a need in the market for comfortable, yet athletic clothing for riders.

These are your perfect, everyday pant — in and out of the saddle. Grutschus combined her passion for riding with her love of fashion to create this top new brand. Her experience as a fashion model gave her the knowledge to perfect design lines, which enhance everyone’s silhouette. Size inclusivity is important to Grutschus, as everyone should feel confident in their clothing. A tummy control panel smooths any imperfections. Go from a close-contact ride to the bistro, bunker and everywhere in between, while looking chic and stylish. Barn & Beyond has been referred to as the “Lululemon for riders.”

Offerings include the original legging made for flattering comfort with tummy control and CTP technology, which has a patent pending and offers super flattering design lines to hide imperfections, while being soft and flexible. Wear the Sydney for your victory gallop! These show tights with belt loops and faux pockets capture the elegance of tradition while adding elements of sophisticated style and unparalleled comfort. Focus on the ride with this second-skin-feeling pant.

With many styles and colors to choose from, you can leave your insecurities behind and feel comfy and confident all day, from barn to bistro. Barn & Beyond Equestrian Apparel allows for a close-contact ride without compromising style, fit or comfort.

Visit www.barnandbeyondapparel.com to learn more.

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Wellington International Has Big Plans For A New Equestrian Paradise

Wellington International Has Big Plans For A New Equestrian Paradise

By Elaine Shuster

Most residents of Wellington are familiar with Wellington International, the world-renowned equestrian venue located in the village that recently rebranded and changed its name from its former moniker of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

Known as one of the world’s premier destinations for equestrian enthusiasts, the venue grew to its current stature under the leadership of Mark Bellissimo and Wellington Equestrian Partners starting in the 2000s but changed hands in 2021 and is now entering its next chapter with Global Equestrian Group at the helm.

The Denmark-based new blood, along with its private equity partner Waterland, has impressive plans for its first foray into the American market, and it has already started to prove that it has the willpower, resources and commitment to transform the existing equestrian haven into something even more remarkable in the coming years.

“The Winter Equestrian Festival started here in Wellington, made its home here at our facility in 1989, and has continued its unprecedented growth ever since, along with the entire Village of Wellington and Palm Beach County, to become the pinnacle of equestrian competition throughout North America and beyond,” explained Michael Stone, president of Equestrian Sport Productions, which operates Wellington International. “We take great pride in our designation as the Winter Equestrian Capital of the World and have enjoyed welcoming thousands of exhibitors and visitors each year to experience the joys and thrills of the sport. Now, with the support of the Global Equestrian Group, we will be able to further expand upon that foundation to create an equestrian facility that rivals the best in the world.”

The first step in the long-term plan for the venue was to change its name and branding to represent its commitment to entering the next era. For years, the proximity and association with Palm Beach benefited the equestrian property as it aimed to attract customers and spectators that frequented the island, but the decision to remove Palm Beach from the name was a conscious one by the management team.

“When the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center was first founded, it relied on the reputation of the popular tourist destination of Palm Beach to bring participants and fans out to the horse shows,” said Vaneli Bojkova, executive vice president of Equestrian Sport Productions. “Now that the venue and community of Wellington have become their own lifestyle, sport and tourist destination, not just nationally but internationally, we felt strongly that the community’s name should stand on its own, thus the new name of Wellington International.”

With more visibility and increased capital comes raised expectations, and the management team behind Wellington International is intent on living up to the hype. As one of the newest members of the Global Equestrian Group portfolio, the venue is in good company, along with some of the most well-known equestrian brands in the industry, such as Helgstrand Dressage, Beerbaum Stables, Riesenbeck International and a host of other names that would cause any horse lover’s ears to perk up.

With a self-proclaimed vision “to become the world’s leading equestrian company,” Global Equestrian Group is certainly setting the bar high, but early looks at the company’s five-year plan for Wellington International are lofty enough to suggest that big things are in store for its South Florida property, and with it the broader community of Wellington.

“We have spent the first year of our ownership of Wellington International understanding how things have been done in the past and recognizing the areas in which we can improve. These insights have helped us to formulate a grand vision for the venue, and we are thrilled to be in the early stages of our long-term plan,” said Andreas Helgstrand, founder and CEO of Global Equestrian Group. “Visitors to the 2023 Winter Equestrian Festival will notice upgrades to the permanent stabling, the hospitality spaces and the riding arenas, but these items are just the first baby steps in a much larger and more ambitious strategy.”

The full scope of the five-year plan won’t be fully realized until at least 2026, but early reports of the construction plans are a horse lover’s dream and will surely catapult the venue into the next tier of equestrian excellence, a Disney World-like level that arguably only a few equine sport venues across the globe have successfully reached.

Proposed facility blueprints include doubling the acreage of the facility’s land, which would allow for a second equestrian center, complete with a stadium, grass derby field, and extensive amenities for guests, to be built directly beside the original property. The size and capabilities of the venues, which could be used independently of each other or as one unit, would be able to comfortably host hunter/jumper and dressage shows concurrently. Additionally, the impressive early renderings showcase modern spaces for shopping and dining, plus enhanced opportunities for hospitality offerings and VIP luxury, offering a comfortable experience for everyone, even those with no horse sense.

For such a massive undertaking, the executive teams have hired experienced contractors, architects and other advisors to spearhead the planning, but the day-to-day operations of the existing facility and events, which sits at close to 100 acres and number more than 40 weeks per year, are overseen by a local team and supported by the Global Equestrian Group team in Europe.

Wellington International’s Florida-based staff is composed of about 25 full-time staff members, split between two offices in the community — one on the showgrounds for the horse show operations team and another just down the street for the back-office team. Though the organization does big business and is an international attraction, the mid-size team behind the success still manages to foster a small-business feel, with all the employees knowing each other and every department chipping in where needed to benefit the group.

Wellington International’s team is not comprised of anonymous numbers, but rather integral employees whose skills, passions and ideas all collaborate to propel the company and its events forward. Now, with Global Equestrian Group behind this small but mighty bunch, the sky seems to be the limit for Wellington International as it aims to further extend its reputation as the most noteworthy equestrian venue in the United States.

As the team at Wellington International looks to the future and makes plans to better serve its participants and community, they are committed to setting new standards for the venue, as well as equestrian sport, guest experiences, entertainment and innovation. So, flip forward in your calendars to 2026 and set a reminder to check in on Wellington International, because exciting changes are coming for this storied venue and the community that supports it.

For additional information, visit www.equestriansport.com and www.globalequestriangroup.com.

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Newly Rebranded National Polo Center Gears Up For Inaugural Season

Newly Rebranded National Polo Center Gears Up For Inaugural Season

In June, the United States Polo Association purchased the core assets of what was formerly the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington. Now deemed the National Polo Center-Wellington (NPC), the USPA-owned property will showcase national tournaments, develop American players, and sustain an environment of excellence that will retain and attract new players to the sport.

First-rate facilities including five fields, the grandstand, restaurants, the clubhouse, the social club, the swimming pool, gym and tennis courts add to the allure of NPC and positions the property as the hub of world-class competition.

The purchase also creates a permanent center for polo in America similar to that of the Argentine Polo Association-controlled Palermo fields and Argentine Polo Association-owned Pilar fields in Argentina. Investing a large amount of time, energy and effort into ensuring the longevity and success of the facility, the USPA has spent the past several months developing and improving the property, as well as preparing the fields for use.

Welcoming players, spectators and visitors, NPC ceremoniously opened its doors to the public for the XII FIP World Polo Championship beginning with the opening ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 29 and continuing through Sunday, Nov. 6. While this global event serves as the catalyst for action at NPC, the facility’s upcoming winter schedule includes many new and returning tournaments that will cement the facility as the epicenter of polo in the United States.

Returning for the fifth consecutive year, the 2023 Gauntlet of Polo will serve as the premier spectacle of the season, showcasing the highest level of the sport in America.

The three-part Gauntlet of Polo series will begin Feb. 12-26 with the C.V. Whitney Cup, continue with the USPA Gold Cup from March 1-26 and conclude with the U.S. Open Polo Championship from March 29 to April 23. Any team that wins all three tournaments will be crowned the Gauntlet Champion.

Another marquee event, the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship, will make waves at NPC, bringing together the world’s most talented female players. The tournament will run March 9-19, with the final taking place Sunday, March 19 on U.S. Polo Assn. Field One. NPC will also debut high-level youth polo with the inaugural USPA Junior Open Final, which will take place on Sunday, Feb. 19.

A new addition to the season, the USPA, NPC and participating clubs are thrilled to be hosting the inaugural Florida Circuit 16-Goal Series. The series will be played across multiple clubs, with the championship hosted by NPC. The participating clubs include the Port Mayaca Polo Club in Okeechobee and the Sarasota Polo Club in Sarasota, as well as the Wellington Polo Tour (WPT), led by the Patagones Polo Club in Wellington, and a series of private fields falling under the WPT umbrella. The USPA tournaments that comprise the series include the Joe Barry Memorial Cup, the Ylvisaker Cup, the Iglehart Cup and the Continental Cup. Each tournament will serve as a qualifier for the Florida Circuit 16-Goal Series Championship, with each winning team moving on to the final event at the beginning of April.

A true testament to collaboration between South Florida clubs, there is a shared benefit in this new endeavor, allowing for participants to experience all the comforts of their home club, while also having the opportunity to play in front of a large crowd at NPC. The Joe Barry Memorial Cup and the Ylvisaker Cup will both be guaranteed three Sunday matches on NPC’s U.S. Polo Assn. Field One, while all championship games will be played at NPC. The innovative, medium-goal event is expected to draw more teams into competition than in previous years.

The series opens doors for a wide variety of players, including those looking to transition from low-goal to medium-goal, some who want to play at a competitive level outside of high-goal, as well as many who are eager to test the waters before taking their team to the high-goal level.

“The 16-goal level is the crossroads of medium-goal and high-goal. You’re going to have a lot of surprising winners and competitive games, and players who don’t normally compete at that level,” USPA Tournament Committee Chair Stevie Orthwein explained. “I think we are going to see some really interesting teams. The championship being at multiple clubs allows more people to be involved.”

Intended to raise the bar for medium-goal polo, the increased number of participants in these tournaments will force clubs to increase their competitive edge.

“It’s a way for clubs to measure themselves and to challenge other clubs,” USPA Executive Director of Services Carlucho Arellano said. “We’re hoping that it’s going to improve the level across the state and across the circuit.”

The National Polo Center-Wellington is located at 3667 120th Avenue South in Wellington. For more information, visit www.nationalpolocenter.com.

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Exciting 16th Anniversary Season Underway At The Grand Champions Polo Club

Exciting 16th Anniversary Season Underway At The Grand Champions Polo Club

Story by Sharon Robb | Photos by Candace Ferreira

The Grand Champions Polo Club in Wellington is celebrating its 16th anniversary with highly anticipated fall and winter seasons.

One of the nation’s busiest and most innovative polo clubs will host high-, medium- and low-goal polo highlighted by the Legends of Polo Carlos Gracida Memorial, the International Cup and two USPA 20-goal tournaments during the fall season that got underway in October. The fifth season of the World Polo League, the only 26-goal polo played outside of Argentina, begins in February with a star-studded lineup.

The fall medium-goal schedule features five tournaments, including the season-opening Pedro Morrison Memorial, now in its 13th year. Morrison was an avid polo player, patron of the Sympatico Polo team and helped develop Wellington into a thriving community.

The season opened with the Oct. 18-26 USPA North American Cup and continued with the Oct. 24 to Nov. 9 USPA National 20-Goal Championship. The season continues with a Nov. 12 doubleheader featuring the Legends of Polo Carlos Gracida Memorial and the International Cup. This year, the GCPC-USA team will put its 10-year winning streak on the line against Switzerland.

Last year, GCPC-USA (Grant Ganzi, Jason Crowder, Nic Roldan and Tommy Biddle) defeated Argentina, 10-5, for its 10th win in a row since the tournament’s inception in 2012. Ganzi, making his sixth appearance, and at 23 the youngest member of the GCPC-USA lineup, was named Most Valuable Player.

Since 2012, in front of sellout crowds and a worldwide ChukkerTV audience, the U.S. has defeated England, Chile, Mexico, South Africa, Uruguay, Brazil, Azerbaijan, France and Argentina (twice) in the annual battle for the coveted cup.

In addition to the Pedro Morrison Memorial, the fall medium-goal tournament schedule began with the Oct. 17-23 Fall Classic and continued with the Oct. 24-30 Fall Plates.

Next up is the Oct. 31 to Nov. 6 Tackeria Invitational and the Nov. 14-20 Banyan Final. The Tackeria Invitational has a special place in club history as the inaugural tournament when the club first opened in 2007.

The well-organized fall tournaments attract players from all over the United States and the world, including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, England, France, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria and South Africa. Grand Champions also attracts most of the nation’s top American players for the fall season.

Grand Champions had its finest fall season in club history last year. It was the only club in the nation to stage two USPA-sanctioned 20-goal fall tournaments and again is hosting two 20-goal tournaments this season.

“I think this has been the best polo season at Grand Champions I have ever been involved with,” said veteran player Tommy Biddle after the final tournament of the 2021 season. “I have played here a couple of times before, but I think that the polo has been the best polo. Everybody showed up with better horses.”

The successful World Polo League, now in its fifth year, again will feature some of the world’s best players, including Argentine 10-goalers Polito Pieres, Pablo MacDonough, brothers Barto and Jeta Castagnola, among others. The 26-goal league, created by club owners Marc and Melissa Ganzi, features extremely competitive polo.

The WPL season features the Feb. 7-25 All-Star Challenge; the Feb. 23 to March 12 Founders Cup; the March 8-26 Palm Beach Open; the Tommy Hitchcock Legacy Memorial on April 2; the March 22 to April 15 Triple Crown of Polo; and the Miami Beach Polo World Cup set for April 21-23.

The winter season also offers 6-, 8-, 12- and 16-goal leagues, in addition to a weekly Polo School Women’s League, WCT Finals, and Sunset Chukkers and Cocktails Polo Series.

Husband-and-wife team Marc and Melissa Ganzi and their children Grant and Riley, all accomplished players, take pride in teaching and sharing the exciting sport of polo with anyone interested in learning. The Ganzis are coming off a successful summer season at their Aspen Valley Polo Club, which ended in September.

The fall league features stick-and-ball sessions during the week; two medium tournament games every weekend; ambulance and USPA umpires for all tournament games; world-class polo fields; club-sponsored social events every weekend for all players; and top-of-the-line trophies for all teams every weekend.

The Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest private 100-acre polo facility in Wellington with more than 150 stalls in several self-contained barns, an exercise track, five climate-controlled tack rooms, a vet room, staff quarters, a guest house, and polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation and stick-and-ball fields.

Wellington-based ChukkerTV will live stream the entire fall and winter seasons. ChukkerTV’s state-of-the art technology, including 4K TV, also features team challenges and instant replay, which made their debut at Grand Champions in January 2014.

The Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm cater to men, women and youth polo players at all levels. Its expert staff can customize a complete playing experience, including horses, pros and certified umpires, in addition to lessons and practice sessions as part of its Polo On Demand program at the turnkey facility.

The Polo School, a nonprofit organization and stand-alone USPA club, is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grassroots youth. Its mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo at every economic and ability level. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through June and September through November.

The Grand Champions Polo Club is located at 13444 Southfields Road in Wellington. For more information about the upcoming polo season, visit www.gcpolo.com.

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