Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Black Chamber Of Commerce To Make Extra Push For New Business On The Northside

Ryan Benk
Frank Lyons, the owner of the Point Coffee Shop, explains the significance of the pictures hanging from the walls of his business.

Jacksonville’s Black Chamber of Commerce says it has a 30-year plan to bring business back to the city’s Northside.

The chamber plans to reveal its proposal at a forum called the “State of Black Jacksonville” Friday evening.

Organizers say healing the economically unstable community can start with providing a warm smile and a strong cup of coffee.

On Thursday morning, Frank Lyons was serving coffee at his Point Coffee Shop on Moncrief Road.

Lyons said he worked for the City of Jacksonville for 35 years. He was one of the first black men to work for JEA.

Six months ago, he came out of retirement and used his savings to open the Point Coffee Shop. It’s inside a new mixed-use development on the corner of Moncrief Road and Myrtle Avenue.

“I’m trying to bring something to this community to keep people from having to go so many miles to get a good breakfast,” he said.

Black Chamber of Commerce President Ysryl, said a business like Point Coffee Shop is more than just a place to eat breakfast.

“What it means to me is to be able to empower those businesses to get them to the point that we can educate and hire and create more businesses from within,” he said. “I believe that’s the the key success to revitalizing the community.”

But Ysryl says, not everyone is as fortunate as owner Frank Lyons.

“That is the number one problem — that startup businesses or existing businesses in this community have is access to capital. And there’s no way you can grow a business without access to capital,” he said.

The Chamber hopes its 30 year plan helps to attract outside investment in the Northside. Ysryl is inviting the public to hear the plan Friday at 6:30 p.m. at The Legends Center on Soutel Drive.

Ryan Benk is a former WJCT News reporter who joined the station in 2015 after working as a news researcher and reporter for NPR affiliate WFSU in Tallahassee.