Downtown’s Creative District: Smith & Surrency

When you first approach Smith & Surrency in Downtown Jacksonville, it’s hard to miss the front door. Bright red and branded with the company’s logo, the door leads to one of the most unique spaces in the creative district. Mya Surrency and her partner, Shirley Smith, chose this century-old building as their office location for this exact reason.

“We are big Downtown advocates, and being in an office park just didn’t feel right for our business,” Mya explains. Smith & Surrency is surrounded by similar agencies in this creative district that has sprung up Downtown, and Mya credits her business with contributing to the dynamic vibe that can be found here.

I asked her why she and her partner chose Downtown as the site of their marketing firm. She told me it was out of love for Downtown Jacksonville and all it has to offer creative agencies, including unique dining options for her clients and a cooperative community among other agencies in Downtown’s “creative cluster.”

Mya and Shirley leased a space in CoWork Jax in 2011 and got to work creating a name for themselves. When they outgrew the collaborative offices in CoWork, they went out on their own and found a gorgeous loft office above LIT Downtown. The building has been around for more than a century and brings just the right vibe to this dynamic agency. A walk through the corridor to the conference room even provides a bird’s-eye view of the bar below through an open ceiling, leading the duo to take on the literal motto that their company is “above the bar.”

Together, Mya and Shirley do almost exclusively digital work for their clients. Very little traditional print marketing is made here; these women are nearly paperless. They take a scientific approach to their work, doing market research to learn how best to capture attention in the right place at the right time.

Something she loves about coming to work: dining Downtown, with clients or without. What’s her favorite Downtown meal? “Shirley makes fun of me, because I always get a salad from Olio with a side of fries.”

Mya lives in Julington Creek, about a 40-minute drive Downtown. But for Mya and her business, it’s totally worth it.

“If you’re going to commute anywhere, go somewhere you enjoy,” she says.

We couldn’t agree more.