In 2008, Jack found himself stationed in Jacksonville after a tour in Afghanistan. After his discharge from the Navy, as he was deciding on whether to return to Houston or stay in Jacksonville, he started blogging about his last four months in town. That blog introduced him to a great circle of friends and he decided to stay.
Jack soon joined the group behind the internationally recognized Burro Bags, a manufacturer of messenger bags, bike gear, and a print shop. As the owners began exploring options to move the shop from Springfield to Downtown in 2010, they worked with DVI to find suitable space as a part of the Off the Grid program. Today, they’re located on Forsyth Street in the old Letter Shop building three blocks down from Burro Bar.
As he began to put down more roots, he joined partners to open Burro Bar in 2011 in the Downtown core. At the time, living in Riverside without a car, Jack found himself riding his bike through the city to work every day. That’s when he decided to make the change and move Downtown. The best thing about living Downtown according to Jack? “I wake up and walk to work. It’s a 15-minute process. There is zero commuting time,” he says.
But aside from the easy commute, Jack likes the sense of community among Downtown residents. “It’s great because there is always something going on. Always something to do. We’re our own small community. We really look out for each other.” That was important to a transplant from out of town.
Jack is a huge advocate of Downtown’s growing entertainment district. He believes that’s where Jacksonville can really begin to grow. “We’re seeing more and more people from the suburbs coming down to the bars and restaurants so that’s good news. What we really need are more young people and more affordable apartments to encourage them to move Downtown,” he said.
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