After a while, someone comes to let me in with apologies. "Sorry for the wait. We´ve got a major job that has everyone tied up at the moment." For the rest of my visit, the pace of activity around the shop never flags until quitting time late in the afternoon. From all appearances, that´s the normal business code around Miami awning, a family-run enterprise that can trace its beginnings to the early 20th century, managing to survive and thrive through the Great Depression and several dozen recessions.
The Miami Awning Co. has a history of quality craftsmanship and has arrived at the door of the 21st century under the leadership of a fourth generation of Reillys. Michael (Mike) Reilly, his sister Joanne Garvey, and his brother-in-law Bill Garvey are, respectively, president, secretary/treasurer and vice president.
Their business started in 1929 as the Miami Beach Awning Co., with several clients from the wealthy arrivistes from the north who settled in Miami Beach in the 1920s. Among their early clients was notorious Chicago gangster Al Capone. The company´s work order book from the 1920s and 30s is currently displayed in a glass case in the front office, open to the Capone listing-- an order for a complete set of awnings for Capone´s mansion on Palm Island in Biscayne Bay. In more recent times, clients have included such luminaries as former Miami Dolphins´ quarterback Dan Marino, NFL Hall of Famer coach Don Shula, Florida Senator Bob Graham, Latin recording artist Julio Eglesius, and two brothers from the rock group The BeeGees. "All of them were very nice people to work with, says Joanne.