A celebration of San Marco

14 Jan

Erin Thursby at EU Jacksonville has written a great piece this month on how to GoLO in San Marco:

photo credit: jaxlass @ http://travel.webshots.com

“Following up on our commitment to the GoLO initiative, we’re encouraging folks to buy local, shop local and eat local. This month, our GoLO spotlight is on San Marco.

Spending a day, or even a weekend in the San Marco neighborhood isn’t difficult. Some of Jacksonville’s finest dining, best independently-owned shops and entertainment from live music to staged theater can all be found there. Even the movie theatre isn’t a chain, but is the locally-owned historic San Marco Theatre.

San Marco began as the grounds of the lavish Hendricks estate on the Southbank in the late 1800s, but wasn’t actively developed until the Acosta Bridge (then called the St. Johns River Bridge) was built in 1921. Telfair Stockton, who owned the land, decided to model the business district after Venice’s Piazza di San Marco in Italy. The fountain lions, which have become an icon of the area, were added relatively recently, in 1997. They’re a nod to Venice’s mascot, found in the Piazza and all over the city, the winged lion of St. Mark. While our fountain lions don’t have wings, you will find winged lions adorning the manhole covers throughout the business district.

Shop Local

The San Marco shopping strip is cornucopia of non-chain retailers. As a bonus, it’s pretty, with its bricked walkways, fountain and bronze statuary. Bibliophiles can pop into San Marco Books, the fashionable can check out clothing store Olive’s new, trend-cutting home section and there are plenty of other places for the fashion addicts to shop (Rosie True, Reve and Lelia’s, to name a few). Gift seekers should always hit up Edward’s, the Ward Room and the Write Touch.

One of the newer shops on in the San Marco Business District is My Best Friend’s Closet, a consignment shop for ladies sized 14 and above. It was opened in April 2010 by Sandy Myers, who has been a resident and business owner in the neighborhood for over 20 years (she’s the former owner of Edwards, which is still in operation). Myers loves living and working in San Marco. Says Myers, “ I actually walk to work most days, and shop (except for groceries) in San Marco. I am a proponent for buying local, supporting small business. I love the feel of a neighborhood, where you go to a restaurant, a shop, a bank and you know someone there– like a small town in a big city.”

Beth Handline of Dance Trance finds San Marco to be “a very energetic and active place… It is great to have so many unique shops right in your own neighborhood.”

Krista Nilsson of Therapie says of those that shop local: “They get the one-on-one attention they deserve,” and that she enjoys getting to know her customers, “something that big-box retailers don’t often do.”

Read more.

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