Downtown Owners Reception

Jacksonville Junior Chamber Photo: Spottswood Collection

July 26 (Thursday)

5PM – Reception

5:30PM –  Remarks

6PM – Photo on front steps of JAX Chamber

I’m a partner in a business Downtown. I know a lot of business owners Downtown. I’ve been working on and off Downtown for more than a decade. In 2002 I went door to door to put local art in 100 windows Downtown. This was the first art meets city project that I did with Downtown Vision, which later produced the still thriving First Wednesday Art Walk. When installing 100 Windows of Art I got to meet a good many building and business owners. This year I’ve been going door to door again. Many of those same faces are still around compromising not just the 90 plus ground floor retailers, but also many law firms, eye doctors, dentists, barbers, book sellers, consultants, accountants, and nearly any kind of small business you can think of. Because of its supreme walkability and other assets, Downtown is the most diverse business environment in the city.

And opening a shop Downtown can be difficult. We have different challenges from parking (not finding it, paying for it!) to transportation, to garbage pick up, to cable access, to package delivery, etc. etc.. Many of us work hard and head home. I wanted to create an opportunity for all Downtown business owners to get together. The occurances where Downtown business owners get together are too few and too far between. With so many new entreprenuers opening their doors Downtown I feel this is a great time to get together and network.

In the remarks portion of the program I also want to explain my job as Director of Downtown Engagement and JAX Chamber’s role in revitalizing Downtown. The Chamber has been a huge win for my Downtown business (we joined before I became DDE) and I want to relate that to our group of owners as well. This isn’t a sales pitch, however, we’ll have Chamber representatives on hand if you desire to join or just need more information. We’ll get feedback about being a Downtown business and Chamber member from one of my partners in the Burrito Gallery as well.

Speaking of Burrito Gallery, we’ll have light snacks provided by BG to go along with ICE COLD INTUITION CANS! Provided by our sponsor Champion Brands! Like the event, the beers are free!  




Our Sleepy Downtown


There are some great new photos at the City’s Jazz Fest Facebook. You should like their page. I know you really love it. Just another boring weekend Downtown. Yawn.

Jazz Fest, Fourth of July, the Symphony, the Jaguars, the Suns, food truck rallies, skate day, the fair, World of Nations, The Great Pirate Party,  Eat Up Downtown are excellent yearly events and Art Walk is a huge draw monthly and the Florida Theatre has a couple events each week, but this isn’t even scratching the surface.

What are your favorite events or past times Downtown?


Downtown is WHITE HOT!


New businesses are flooding in. Residential is at capacity. And the art scene is ON FIRE! We’re number 15 in the top 25 large cities for Arts and much of the art we feature can be found in the center of our city.

Get on your mobile device and go to and check out DVI’s really handy mobile site. Everything Downtown in just a touch away, and you can just scroll down for today’s events and activities. Many art and cultural events happen Downtown every day!

Tonight, for example, you could catch emerging performing arts group, the 5 & Dime Company opening of Next Fall.

New American plays aren’t the only edgy art we feature Downtown tonight. MOCA is featuring a lecture of artist Tristin Lowe about his newly installed Project Atrium (shown above).

It doesn’t have to be Art Walk to soak up art and culture Downtown. Do some digging and find out for yourself why we rate so high for creativity and the arts here in our beautiful river city.

Have a great weekend! Don’t miss the Arts Market and Mutiny on the Bounty!


Who wants to go to Downtown Jacksonville?

Photo: Orlando Sentinel

I don’t know, the leader of the free world? Roughly half of Jacksonville is excited to see our President roll up to our beautiful Downtown today, but this isn’t a political blog, its about Downtown. And Downtown is hot!  

Despite road and Skyway closures it should be business as usual as we welcome President Obama. Will he stop in at one of our 90 plus restaurants Downtown and speak to one of their local owners as he likes to do on the road? If you think he might, put one guess in the comments. I’m going with International Cafe on Hogan Street.

Speaking of leaders, I had the pleasure of speaking to Leadership Jacksonville’s Collegiate Leadership group yesterday. I was fully prepared to talk about the resurgence of interest in Downtown and boy were they an interested audience! Each year for many years I have been talking to this group and each year, more and more I see these young acheivers considering staying or coming back to Jacksonville to launch their careers. I was struck by their excitement about our Downtown, and frankly, relative lack of knowledge about it. We’ve got to get our story out!

They gave reports at the end of the program and many were surprised that the crime rate Downtown was 64% lower than that of Duval County as a whole. They were also stoked that so many young entrepreneurs and tech savvy companies are opening up shop Downtown. Working and advocating for Downtown is a battle of perception. There are a lot of people who let outside-of-Downtown opinion or lazy media make up their mind about our city center. These kids have decided to experience it for themselves. It was the first time I’ve ever been in a room where the entire room was optimistic about Downtown! I can get used to that!

So the second time might be tomorrow. Tomorrow I am addressing the Downtown Council, JAX Chamber‘s oldest and most revered council. I am dropping all kinds of news and breakthroughs happening in our urban core. It is open to non-members, but membership is reasonable and highly encouraged, and I think you’ll see why tomorrow morning. Set your alarm clock, its an early one.

If anyone guesses a Presidential retail stop correctly in the comments, I’ll buy your breakfast at tomorrow’s Downtown Council meeting. Only one guess per person please!

See you on the street!


P.S.- If you’ve read this far you might want to read about a get together we are having next Thursday (scroll down for story) for Downtown Business owners. Please pass this on to your friends who own businesses in Beautiful Downtown Jacksonville.

Remain Pawsitive

You may or may not know that there is an NFL team here in Downtown Jacksonville. Its true! And do you know who supports your Jacksonville Jaguars? Pretty much everyone. Many fine traditions have been created since we scored our very own team and there is a lot of pride involved in being one of only 32 cities with an NFL franchise. We’re no Green Bay, yet, but we’ve got a ton of love for our Jags, win or lose.

One of my favorite Jaguars traditions is the yearly Downtown Council Painting of the Paw Prints event. It has all the ingredients of a great preseason football tradition. Namely mimosas, bloody marys, paint, stencils, the league’s best mascot and even coffee (roasted downtown) if 8 am is too early for ya.

This year is looking to be a major event. Make sure you rsvp at the facebook event page for this awesome free event. Also, don’t miss this excellent chance to help sponsor the event. Your marketing department will be impressed with this street level opportunity!


Stop. Collaborate. Listen.

You know what is better than people coming together to support a common cause? NOTHING. That’s what. And that is driving force behind Dig Downtown Jax, a new blog by the Downtown Marketing Collaborative. Dig Downtown Jax is awesome because it gives you many different perspectives from a diverse and growing roster of bloggers all focused on our vibrant and emerging Downtown scene. I should know, I’m one of them! Please, put it in your daily read list. You can get all kinds of great info about events and goings ons, past, present and most importantly FUTURE. I can tell you right now, there are a LOT of great things on the horizon. And make sure you like the facebook. And while I’ve got you on the subject, when posting/tweeting about Downtown use #digdtjax just like you would #ilovejax. Stay tuned for big announcements ya’ll!



Ever been intrigued by the thought of grown men running full speed at a wall? ME TOO! That is just one reason I love to go to our World Champion Jacksonville Shark’s games. The Sharks games are full of energy. The Attack Dancers and never ending crowd participation keeps the action going until the final whistle. The kids love it because there is something to do and see at all times. This game will be televised live on the NFL Network, so please head to the Arena and show that Shark attitude for this national audience!

This Friday (tomorrow) you’ve got an awesome opportunity to catch your first Sharks game or get back in the chum-filled waters if you have been before. Downtown enthusiasts are rewarded with special ticket prices brought to you by the Downtown Council and the Sharks! Save as much as $10 per ticket!

I did some math and figured with the deal on tickets and the Shark’s Happy Hour Special on this game, one could buy a ticket and two beers for $18!  

How to Buy Tickets



1. In your web browser, log on to From the website’s home page, mouse over the “Team Shop” tab in the top right corner of the page and click on “Group Tickets.”

2. Click on “Order Your Group Tickets,” then enter the username “Downtown” and the password “Sharks1” to continue. Please note that both the username and password are case-sensitive.

3. Once logged in, click on the ticket icon that corresponds to the seats that you wish to buy. After clicking on the icon enter the quantity you wish to buy. Then, you must click “purchase” to continue the process. Follow the on-screen instructions to enter your payment information.

4. Pick up your tickets at the Will Call window of the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena box office, which will be open beginning at noon on the day of the game.

5. Offer expires at 10:00 a.m. on July 6. BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW!

Biggest Weekday Ever

I hope you have an awesome time on this great American holiday! If you have time between your back yard bbq and Art Walk vs. Fireworks, STOP at Klutho Park.

This is a once a year treat. Real baseball, 1901 style. Catch the East Side Reds vs. The West Side Giants. Food Trucks onsite. This is a highly recommended free community event with play by play announcing authentic uniforms and equipment. Think small brim hats and tiny gloves with real pitching. There will also be a live band.

The fireworks from Klutho are nice, or you can head towards the river. Enjoy Downtown!

Happy Independence Day!