Duval County

Black-owned businesses in Springfield find success through unity

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — History is being made by a group of local visionaries. They work in Jacksonville’s Springfield community and hope their block becomes a model and an inspiration for up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

“Welcome to the shoppes at 8th and Pearl in historic Springfield, the gateway to Springfield,” said Brandon Byers. He is the owner of the Cookbook Restaurant, located at this intersection.

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Byers believes he’s discovered the secret sauce of success for small businesses – link up and set up.

Byers said, “We take pride in adding to the community.”

His business is one of nine that makes up a strand of Back-owned store fronts off Pearl Street, near Main. You can find everything from sweet treats and coffee to fashion and lotions by Auntie Peaches. 

“Auntie Peaches and I were the first to come to the block,” Byers said. “Auntie Peaches and I used to stand here every morning and say, Lord, send the right business.”

Business owner Nichole Muhammad says this location is a great fit for her.

“It’s great. We’re like family. It’s inviting and calm,” Muhammad said. “People walk by and don’t know we’re here, but we’re here.”

They’re not only here, but they are thriving. All thanks to customers who visit and keep coming back.

One customer at the Foxy Lady Catering and Diner said, “It’s important for the businesses as well so they feel supported. There’s a lot of stuff here, I hadn’t been here in a long time. It was fun being here.”

Edwin Green helps to run the Foxy Lady. 

Green said, “There’s enough room for everyone to grow and learn.”  He said the business is now expanding and helping to groom others for greatness. But that means circulating dollars their way too, reaching beyond their block.

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Green said, “Give all small businesses a chance. Black too, we just opened a brand-new cake stand. It will bring jobs, summer jobs, training programs.”

Byers said that’s the idea, the recipe to building better communities and safer neighborhoods.

“I think of pioneers like Al Lewis, James Weldon Johnson, Eartha White. Everyday extraordinary people,” Byers said, “So many people come up and say ‘Brandon thank you, thank you for bringing a sense of renaissance back to the city.’ That means so much me.”