One Spark, Endless Opportunities….
Jacksonville could become synonymous with this festival and it could beckon innovators, philanthropists, community organizers, and more for years to come. If this event is as successful as I anticipate it will be, our One Spark could rival several other festivals simply because of the uniqe crowd-funding opportunity that exists. Everyone will be vying for a piece of the $250,000 pie, but if that weren't enough, investors like our own Shad Khan have pledged massive amounts of money to innovators and fledgling companies. One Spark has electrified social media and the entire city has been buzzing about it for months. It's truly a testament to the power of networking. I foresee the next festival really upping the ante and bringing even more money to the table and even more international talent to the shores of the First Coast. I'll see you there, April 17-21 in downtown Jacksonville! Be One Spark.
In a race to the finish where there is no end in sight, I have to believe that Mad Men Marketing is the front-runner in our industry. The interaction between clients, customers, and ourselves is the engine that drives this company, and if the first quarter of 2013 is any indication, our young company will be taking not just Jacksonville, not just the southeast region, but the WORLD by storm. We are constantly thinking of ways to expand our brand of consumer-driven business to the masses all over the world. These places include, but are not limited to: Spain, Australia, England, India, and China. That being said, we are still very hometown proud. Jacksonville is where I've called my home for the last 4 years. It's a vibrant city on the verge of some very positive things, and we are pleased to spread the word about our fine city throughout the global business community. Nothing is ever static at Mad Men, and I expect new and exciting things for the next 3 quarters. What will that mean? More personnel, refined procedures, increased qualifications and comepetencies, more global outreach, more improvements here at the office both aesthetic and practical, and a more fluid, more transparent agency to suit the needs of our customer base. The most exciting thing is that I don't know what to expect, but we're certainly a company that's exploding in terms of size and capabilities.
Mad Men Are Mad About Dining In Jacksonville
Ryan- LOS PORTALES on Belfort is my home away from home. The staff is incredibly friendly and if you know your Mexican food, you can order chorizo con queso which isn't even on the menu, PLUS they have dollar domestic beers all day, every day. Very near to the Mad Men office is UNDERBELLY which has a limited menu, but what they lack in quantity, they make up for in quality. I recommend the pork sliders that are absolutely stuffed with pork. Wash it down with a Well's Banana Bread Beer. Next we come to the MOSSFIRE GRILL. This little gem is my favorite place for Tex-Mex as well as some of the best grilled wings I've had. As an honorable mention, I love Johnny Angel's on St. John's Bluff Rd. It has a neat 50's flare with great food and generous portions. It's a must if you're in search of a diner.
Michele- I LOVE Italian food so my first choice is this little place in Jax Beach called NINI'S, on Penman Rd. They have the best pizza in Jacksonville and I will challenge anyone who says any different. Thai food is also a favorite and INDOCHINE, on Adam's street downtown, does it well with their Pad Thai and pork dumplings. A third would have to be JAX CITY CAFE, right around the corner from Mad Men Headquarters. Their breakfast sandwiches are why I get out of bed in the morning and they also house a fantastic variety for the lunch crowd. Happy eating!!
Justin- One of my favorites in town would have to be O'BROTHERS IRISH PUB in Riverside. They have the BEST buffalo chicken sandwich (and that's coming from someone who orders one almost every time, if its on the menu). Another restaurant I frequent is JAX CITY CAFE. As Michele said, its right around the street from the Mad Men headquarters, which makes it convenient on top of having some of the best sandwiches in town. KICKBACKS is another great restaurant in Jacksonville. They have almost every type of food you could possibly want, and everything I've tried so far was delicious. They also deliver which makes it even better. And on top of all that, they have some of the best microbrews around. One more place I would have to mention is METRO DINER. They have some of the best breakfast items in town, and they also have a great lunch menu for later on in the day. For breakfast I am a big fan of their Eggs Benedict.
JD- I really like OLIO off of Bay St. It's a quaint little cafe with reasonable prices. I highly recommend the salmon salad, with the shrimp po' boy coming in a close second. I also really like UNDERBELLY, also on Bay St. Grab a pulled pork pizza and listen to some good music while you're there. JAX CITY CAFE is also high on my list of faves.
Bay Street Renaissance
Tax breaks are currently in place that allow citizens of Jacksonville to reside in a more historic part of the city. These tax breaks take 50% off of your property taxes for 10 years. Enticing isn't it? So here's the really big question: where's the love for all the business owners that want to make downtown a vibrant place that rivals Town Center or the beaches in terms of large volumes of people spending their evenings (and disposable income) in the very spot where most cities flourish? Merely offering the same kind of tax break isn't enough simply because you're talking about a larger scale. This isn't a 200,000 dollar home, it's a 1.2 million dollar building, and in order for that property to generate revenue, it has to look like it's not an eyesore from the early 20th century. I, for one, love the allure of historical buildings downtown being converted to trendy after-work venues. It gives the city the flair of SoHo, but there needs to be more incentive for investors to spend the kind of money it takes to revitalize and upgrade the existing building.
If I may be so bold, Mad Men Marketing is doing its part to promote a new downtown Renaissance. A lot of hard work and lots of money has been spent updating electrical, plumbing, partitioning off what was once a bare art studio, and even taking down plaster to expose the natural (and beautiful) brickwork. The place is really looking quite stunning.
Underbelly, another success story on Bay Street, has done a FANTASTIC job of giving the interior of an older brick building a face lift. When you walk in, natural wood accents the original brickwork and the open space is very inviting. A lot of effort was put in painting the central columns and there's a stage where music is played nearly every night. A recent show that brought former TV personality and stand-up comedian Doug Stanhope, packed the place. Oh, and did I mention that Underbelly has over 30 beers on tap? Underbelly has done everything the right way and can serve as a model for those who come after them.
It has also come to my attention that Intuition Ale Works wants/wanted a place on Bay St. or the surrounding area, but that the city was unwilling to make some kind of reasonable accommodations. Do banks and cities really just want to sit on these vacant properties and allow them to deteriorate? Would they rather have nothing than get 3/4 of the asking price? Would they rather wait for a buyer rather than lease the place out to an ambitious entrepreneur? I say “Good for you Intuition for wanting a stake in the revitalization in downtown Jax”. I can only hope that the bureaucratic nightmare that exists in local government will aid you in your acquisition of a location that suits your needs. After all, what is economics but the study of INCENTIVES?
Football and Philanthropy
It's no secret that most big name receivers and running backs develop an ego. To quell that sort of behavior and provide an incentive to those players who choose to simply hand the ball to the official upon scoring a touchdown, Mularkey makes a charitable contribution to the Ronald McDonald House in the amount of $250. If last Friday's victory over the New Orleans Saints was any indication, Mularkey will have his checkbook open often.
I would be remiss if I didn't also mention the generosity of our kicker, Josh Scobee as well. Now, as in the past, with every successful field goal that Scobee kicks, he donates $250 to Wolfson Children's Hospital through his “Kicks for Kids” charity.
This kind of generosity cannot be overlooked. Not only do we have a competitive team for the first time in recent memory, but there is a sense of pride and professionalism that is absent all too often these days. I'm thoroughly impressed with the team's poise and the emphasis the coaching staff has placed on doing things the right way on and off the field.