Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

A Florida market for crafts from India


Crafting a Business

Boca Raton-based Mela Artisans uses a proprietary sourcing platform to obtain handmade goods from craftsmen in India and then sells them through, among others, TJ Maxx and Home Goods and online platforms such as Popsugar, plus the company’s own melaartisans.com.

Mela’s goods are in approximately 5,000 stores in America, says founder and CEO Navroze Mehta. He won’t disclose sales volume. The company presented earlier this year at the Florida Venture Capital Conference to raise capital. Mehta says he’s following up with a few funds. The handicraft sector is India’s second-largest.


  • Port Everglades Director Steve Cernak died March 16 of cancer at age 63. He joined the port in 2012. Glenn Wiltshire, deputy port director since 2006, was named acting port director.


  • The city of Fort Lauderdale approved SeaQuest Aquarium’s plan to build an exhibit of 1,200 marine creatures, birds and reptiles at the Galleria mall on the site of a former Lord & Taylor store.


  • Scientists from Nova Southeastern University’s Save Our Seas Foundation and Guy Harvey Research Institute, the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and Monterey Bay Aquarium completed mapping the great white shark genome. One finding: Sequence changes — unique to the sharks — tied to DNA repair, damage response and damage tolerance, as opposed to the genome instability that predisposes humans to certain diseases.


  • The Breakers Palm Beach promoted Tricia Taylor, senior vice president and general manager, to executive vice president and general manager, and Denise Bober, vice president for human resources, to senior vice president for human resources.


  • Chef Emeril Lagasse and his Emeril Lagasse Foundation raised $800,000 at its third annual Line, Vine & Dine fishing tournament in Fort Lauderdale for the foundation and two organizations devoted to training young people with developmental disorders, Arc Culinary and Dan Marino Foundation.
  • Quantum Foundation donated $143,136 to provide clinical patient simulators to 20 low-income middle and high schools in Palm Beach County’s Medical Sciences Career Academies, part of $1 million in grants to 14 local organizations. Students will get experience toward becoming licensed or certified health-care providers.


  • A group of Broward bankers led by CEO Joe Dorsey, previously COO for Community Bank of Broward before its acquisition by Stonegate Bank, is forming Coastal Community Bank, headquartered in Hollywood, the first new Broward-based bank in a decade.


  • Luxury home builder Toll Brothers promoted Southeast Florida Division Vice President Fred Pfister in Boca Raton to division president.
  • A joint venture of Deerfield Beach-based general contractor RCC Associates and Fort Lauderdale-based general contractor Gulf Building will be the general contractor for the $25-million renovation of the Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale.


  • Florida Atlantic University opened its first university-run primary care doctor practice near Boca Raton Regional Hospital.


  • Three South Florida chambers of commerce launched the South Florida Business Council to work on regional solutions to issues including traffic congestion. The chair of the new council is Christine Barney, CEO of rbb Communications, from the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce; the chairperson-elect is attorney and former Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber; and the chairperson-elect designee is attorney Joseph Chase of the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches. Each chamber put up $10,000 to fund council operations and sends three representatives to the council, whose leadership alternates each year. The first task of the council is forming a mutual-aid agreement for service to chamber members in the event of disaster.


  • An investor group led by San Francisco-based Hellman & Friedman and including Blackstone, GIC, JMI Equity and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board will acquire Weston-based human resources software company Ultimate Software in an $11-billion deal that takes the 5,144-employee company private. Founder and CEO Scott Scherr will remain CEO of the $1.1-billion company, which will remain in Weston.
  • Beacon Pharmaceutical plans to build up to a 200,000-sq.-ft. life sciences accelerator and biologics facility in Jupiter in about a year. The facility will support up to 50 early-stage companies in which it plans to invest.


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