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THE MEN BEHIND "WE ARE WINTER GARDEN

Austin Arthur talks with Founders of "We are Winter Garden", Marc Jablon and Chris Chan.

If you live in or visit Winter Garden, you have seen the “We Are Winter Garden” brand all around the city. The brand is completely about the Winter Garden Community, promoting and embracing everything the city is and has, from the World Famous Farmer's Market to the West Orange Trail. Since its inception, We Are Winter Garden has become a staple within the spirit of the community and has helped to bring the growing city together in new and modern ways. Between their mobile app, digital Winter Garden radio channel, and various Facebook groups, their reach is in the tens of thousands. Members on social media and downloads to their mobile app combine to boast nearly 90,000 accounts, all from the West Orange area.

However, who is really behind this brand? I talked with the two men responsible for this community blessing. We Are Winter Garden Founders, Marc Jablon and Chris Chan. If you have been in the community, you have seen Chris running around with his team capturing beautiful imagery of our city on a regular basis. In community social media circles, he is a regular face that will pop on your screen, promoting or embracing something great about our city. If you have been in the business world inside our community, and within West Orange generally, then you certainly have met Marc. For nearly 20 years Marc has been a serial entrepreneur and business consultant here in Winter Garden, Florida.

When Marc was searching for someone to capture great video content for the swim school he owns with his wife, she suggested that he seek out "the guy who does all the cool videos for Winter Garden." Little did Marc know at the time, this connection would blossom into what is now known as We Are Winter Garden. Between the passion and talent Chris had and Marc’s entrepreneurial experience, these two founded the brand together in 2016.

Their brand, We Are Winter Garden, is much more than just a t-shirt, it is a brand that is helping the community by action-based initiatives. For example, a recent initiative, “Make Time WG” seeks to help out local businesses in our community by creating awareness regarding the need to support local businesses on “off days” such as Monday-Wednesday.

“Have you ever been Downtown on the weekend and struggled to find parking? Perhaps you found a favorite store and then decided to go back on a Monday, only to discover it was closed. Why is that? The reason is that local businesses in Winter Garden have great success on the weekends when visitors come from all over to enjoy our great City, but struggle on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday to survive,” Marc explained. This initiative exists to help create awareness in the community so businesses can be supported on their slower days.

An even more powerful way they have been supporting local businesses and community activity is through their free mobile app. Marc told me a bit about this aspect of their brand, while explaining how he feels it is the future of the brand and the most important aspect of what they do.

“Readers should definitely check out the Directory Map, Events, and Deals. My favorite part of the Winter Garden App is the Food Section. We have attempted to solve most Family fights about ‘Where should we eat?’ by adding a fun wheel. Next time you have this fight, just say ‘let the Winter Garden App decide’ and spin the wheel!” Marc stated enthusiastically.

As much as I tried to focus on Marc and Chris, they kept going back to their team and those around them in the community,

“We have a fabulous team. Patrick, Michael, Tracy, Michelle, and Bobbi are constantly going above and beyond to support the Community,” Marc said. "The brand is about the community and ensuring the city retains and expounds upon what makes it so wonderful, our shared values which are rooted in family-based community principles."

Their humility was on display with Marc’s comments on this subject and when the topic of legacy was discussed Chris had this to say,“My faith is my foundation … following Jesus and living a gospel centric life. I want His message of love to shine through me, I  want His name to be remembered and not mine.” It is clear that these good gentlemen have done great things for our community and for selfless reasons. I fervently believe that supporting the We Are Winter Garden initiatives and platforms is supporting our community at large, and I encourage our city to further embrace this brand.
 

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