Tell readers about Cornerstone Center. How did you come up with the idea and when?

The original idea of Cornerstone Center was born when I lived through the untimely passing of my loved one, Paulo Capela, who ran a small business in Flagler County.  I realized my purpose in life and passion is to connect with our community and do everything I can to help others. Our “tomorrows” are not promised, we need to make our “todays” count.

My first vision to connect and help people, was to follow in my dear friend and mentor in Real Estate, Julie Mathis’ footsteps, by creating a welcome center.  As the foundation was being laid, and the plans were taking shape, I realized I could help business owners with my experience, knowledge and passion.

When you ride a bike every day, riding a bike seems normal and you expect everyone else to know how.  I have worked for myself every day of my adult life, running a business or working 100% commission.  This isn’t a bike that everyone knows how to ride, that’s when I realized how I could really help more people, not only by being the open arms for residents, but also by mentoring and supporting our local small businesses.

Why was the location in Bunnell the perfect place for Cornerstone Center?

The reason Bunnell, Florida makes perfect sense for Cornerstone Center is because the City of Bunnell is not only the county seat of Flagler County, but almost all county business and residential resources are located in Bunnell, the heart of Flagler County.  Our office location is around 3 miles from the exact center of Flagler County, making our location highly visible and easily accessible to all residents and businesses.

Cornerstone Center has evolved into more than the original concept. How has it changed and why has this been a positive?

The original concept was in place for just a short time before I realized this vision was much more than a welcome center.  Looking for help to carry out the vision was not an easy task, as it would require a lot of time, energy, effort, skill and passion to build something new that positively impacts the lives of many.  I remembered a colleague of mine who shared a similar vision, Armando Gomez.   As we started collaborating, our vision and passion lined up almost to the tee.  What a blessing!  When you have 2 people who are both passionate about the community, residents and businesses alike, the vision becomes a reality.

The feedback we are getting from our residents is overwhelmingly positive and encouraging.  We appreciate the encouragement we have received from elected officials and public leaders.  As far as working with local small businesses, we continually evolve and grow as needs are identified and filled.  We surround ourselves with mentors and well established businesses who join us in our mission to make a positive impact on Flagler County. This team of experts embraces and encourages newly formed businesses, creating a community within our community, like no other.

We realized that we must be multifaceted to carry out our mission.  We have Cornerstone Center for resident resources and Cornerstone Center for Business Development both working together seamlessly.

To residents and business owners, please consider participating and supporting this vision by attending our Sunshine & Sandals Socials, Empower Hours, Lunch N’ Learns and Networking Nites.  You can find all the details for current and future events on our website

What services are being offered and how is this different than a chamber of commerce or traditional networking organization or co-work collaborative? 

We respect and value organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, Home Builders Association, Traditional Networking Organizations, BNI, PCPN, PWFC,  as well as Co-Work Collaboratives, such as Office Divvy and Ripple.  Each of these holds a unique and valuable place in our community. We, as business owners, together, with our members, see the value of working together and being there for each other for the good of the community.

We offer a variety of services for our residents, such as, socials and educational classes that showcase the knowledge of our business members. We are a resource for residents and businesses in our community.

Many of our residents have relocated from another area, our place is to make that transition as seamless as possible.  We cultivate the “feeling of community”, and encourage it to grow by being the Cornerstone that connects everyone.  As a resource for businesses, we know the only way to be the best you can be, is to surround yourself with experts in all areas of business.  While we don’t know everything, we partner with the local experts and make the connections that build success.

What are your goals for the next 12 months and how will you measure success for Cornerstone Center and the members? 

Our goal for the next 12 months is to help strengthen the relationship between residents and locally-owned businesses.  Building this bridge, creating camaraderie, in turn, will bring our community closer together. The successes of the businesses who support our vision and the happiness of the residents who are involved, is the way we measure our success.  If you have any ideas, suggestions or the ability that will help carry out this mission, stop by our location at 608 E. Moody Blvd.


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