In a world filled with challenges and uncertainties, the power of family and the strength in unity can often be the driving force behind success. This is evident in the story of the Lorenzo family, led by Carlos Lorenzo, a three-time stage 4 cancer survivor. The family’s journey to settling in the Keys is a testament to their resilience, determination, and unwavering love for one another.
Carlos’ connection with the Florida Keys began in 2013, during his initial battle with appendiceal cancer. Searching for solace and inspiration, he and his family would escape to the Keys, away from their busy lives of work, medical treatments, dance, and baseball. The Keys’ picturesque beauty and serene atmosphere provided Carlos with the strength and motivation to keep fighting and his family with the reprieves needed to endure the trials.
In 2014, after Carlos defeated his first bout of cancer, the Lorenzos decided to purchase a boat and vacation home in Key Largo. Little did they know that this decision would serve as a pivotal point in their lives. When the pandemic hit in 2020, the Lorenzo family hunkered down in their Keys home and realized their mutual desire to make it their permanent residence. Carlos transitioned from being a successful real estate agent in Miami to American Caribbean Real Estate in the Keys, with over $19 million in sales in 2022 alone.
Despite such success, 2022 was also marked with darkness as cancer reared its ugly head again. However, facing cancer as a Keys resident was a very different experience than Carlos’ first confrontation with the disease. He was amazed by the support he and his family received, reinforcing his belief that the Keys is a small-town, loving community like no other.
“The community was in tune with how I was doing, always checking on me and providing help,” Carlos says. “You don’t even have to ask for help; people here just do it. It’s as if we had a whole new family within months of moving to the Keys.”
During this grueling battle, the love Carlos felt from the community, combined with the unwavering support from his family, ignited a desire to dig even deeper roots for his family in the Keys. This desire fueled his victory over cancer once again and led him to acquire Keys Deep, a local apparel company rooted in the Keys’ lifestyle.
Carlos was introduced to the brand and its owners, Scott and Bobbie Grenfell, while visiting Islamorada’s Farmer’s Market. Carlos came upon the Keys Deep booth, and the designs and quality of the apparel immediately caught his eye. Upon closer inspection, he felt the soft material and noticed the inclusion of a Bible verse inside the collar.
Intrigued, Carlos asked Scott why his t-shirts felt better and looked better than other brands. Scott shared that Keys Deep apparel is made in the USA and uses a superior sublimation process that results in a crisp, high-quality design. Plus, a Keys Deep collection features the beautiful artwork of Sam Milazzo. As a professional fisherman, charter boat captain, and artist, Sam Milazzo embodies the essence of a true Conch, and his artwork captures the Keys lifestyle that Keys Deep apparel portrays.
Carlos became a loyal customer, and his appreciation for the brand soon merged with the desire to run a company with his wife, Belkis, and his grown kids, Jonathan and Amanda. An apparel company seemed like the perfect solution to put their individual talents and experience to good use. He pitched the ideas to his family, and they were all on board.
Carlos couldn’t help but think that acquiring Keys Deep would be a great fit but didn’t know if Scott would be interested in selling. It turns out the timing was serendipitous as they discovered Scott had just listed the business for sale. It was as if fate itself presented the Lorenzo family with the perfect opportunity to embark on a new endeavor together.
The acquisition of Keys Deep marked the beginning of a new chapter for the Lorenzo family. They are determined to honor the brand’s legacy while infusing it with their own passion and vision. Keys Deep fosters a strong connection to the Keys community, which reinforces their own desire to deepen their local roots.
Amanda, Carlos’ daughter, had been working as a substitute teacher in Monroe County, and her organizational, management, and creative skills apply perfectly to the role of Administrator of Keys Deep. She is in charge of custom orders, invoicing, creating mockups for designs, and more.
Jonathan followed in his father’s footsteps after high school and succeeded in real estate for a few years before discovering his true passion—boat brokering. His love for the water, coupled with his expertise in sales, made him a perfect fit for brokering and, in turn, makes him the ideal Director of Sales of Keys Deep.
Belkis, the matriarch of the family, is the glue that holds the entire operation together. Just like in their personal lives, Belkis knows how to manage, mediate, and motivate each member of the family team. She fills in the gaps, ensuring the different departments and separate roles work seamlessly together.
The Lorenzos starting this new chapter, however, did not put an end to Scott’s story with Keys Deep. Knowing how passionate Scott still is about the brand, the Lorenzos asked if he would like to stay on with the sales team, and he readily agreed. Now, Scott can focus on the apparel that he created while leaving the logistics to the Lorenzos.
“Scott and Bobbie have laid such a great foundation that it now takes a team to continue building upon it,” Carlos says. “We’re thrilled he’s continuing on our team while being able to release the stresses of owning a business.”
Outside of their work with Keys Deep, the Lorenzo family doesn’t take life in paradise for granted. Jonathan embraces his passion for boating, spending most of his free time on the water. Amanda, a lifelong learner, is about to start her master’s degree and spends her downtime reading. Carlos and Belkis, self-proclaimed foodies, enjoy exploring different restaurants and inviting friends and family to visit whenever possible.
The Lorenzo family’s commitment to community and charity is another driving force in their lives. Amanda is a member of the Breanna Vergara Foundation, an organization dedicated to raising awareness about cardiac screening and care in children. She volunteers in honor of a dear friend who tragically passed away from an undiagnosed heart condition.
“Bringing awareness is half the battle of most non-profits,” Amanda explains, “and Keys Deep helps spread awareness through apparel. It is very fulfilling to play a role in helping dozens of non-profits get their message out into the world.”
Designing and providing shirts for non-profit organizations is a big part of Key Deep’s business, which was a big attraction to the brand in the first place. As Carlos says, “Our vision with this brand is to grow organically within the community together with local non-profits, captains, and shops.”
Even the name ‘Keys Deep’ aligns with the vision and goal of the Lorenzo family. It reflects their deep love for each other, for the Keys community, and their desire to deepen those connections even further. To view their collections or place a custom order, visit KeysDeep.com.
– Jerrica Mah is a writer, Army wife, and freelance book editor, who loves to travel with her family.