Varick and I aren't ones to get publicly vocal on issues but we feel like it's time to say something regarding the limitations put out on Artwalk for tomorrow night.
Sure, it was a risky move to open Wolf & Cub to Downtown JAX, but being the only boutique Downtown, we already knew we were up against a unique set of challenges: the walking traffic is hit or miss, there is a (albeit false) perception of the area being "unsafe" (although this is one of the safest zip codes in JAX), and there are not very many options to make it a shopping destination. However, we love this city and care deeply about the future of our wonderful Jacksonville. We are down here because we want to help build up our Downtown! We want to see it flourish and truly become a must-see destination for residents and tourists alike. When we signed our lease in May of 2016, Hemming Park still had a good amount of activity happening—there were some planned events and we were hopeful about gaining exposure and traffic through those. Plus, then we knew we could at least count on Artwalk to bring even more people out.
So, when Downtown Vision came by the shop last week to let us know that, in their words, "per JSO," that we would not be able to activate the sidewalk during Artwalk and Laura Street would remain open to traffic due to the to opposing protest groups, it was extremely disheartening, especially for a small business that has committed to helping build Downtown. We were instructed to move any planned activities inside of our shop, (as of Tuesday afternoon, we have been cleared to have some activation on the sidewalk as long as it does not block the right of way) but on any given day, we always have a cafe table and two chairs to give more life to the sidewalk. And for every Artwalk, we usually plan for musicians, other organizations or food vendors to set up in front of our space well in advance. Plus, if you're an Artwalk regular you know we always have our $5 vintage sale bins outside during the event, as well. The fact that they are letting two groups dictate the entire footprint of Artwalk seems extreme and completely against what the soul of Artwalk is all about. This change will affect many small businesses who, not only rely on Artwalk sales as a revenue boost right around rent time, but also it serves as a great way to expose people who don't often venture downtown to experience the cool products that Wolf & Cub has to offer!
Regardless of the attempted damper being put on tomorrow night's event, we need you all to come out and show your support! We are committed to being active, engaged participants of Downtown culture, and we will still carry on with our planned pop up show with our good friend Brad Lauretti, plus have complimentary beverages for our supporters, Wolf & Cub tees 2 for $30, a rack of 75% off clothing and LOTS of awesome vintage goodies in our $5 bins. Now more than ever, DOWNTOWN NEEDS YOU. We hope to see you out and about tomorrow!
Thank you, as always, for your love and support!
Emily and Varick