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First Coast Connect

Driven out of business; the changing workplace; redistricting; best Jax events

Southern Roots Filling Station will close Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023.
Bob Self
Florida Times-Union
Southern Roots Filling Station closed Jan. 1, 2023.

A staple of Jacksonville’s vegan food scene is shutting its doors. Southern Roots Filling Station said farewell at the end of 2022 after eight years at its storefront at 1275 King St. in Avondale.

The owners said their rent rose some 400%. And, of course, for many restaurants and other businesses, labor and supply chain issues are still a problem as we enter into the new year.

What do these skyrocketing rent increases mean for small businesses in Avondale and beyond?


  • Mariah Goelz, co-owner of Southern Roots Filling Station, Paco’s Coffee Roasting and Cultivated.
  • James Simak, director of the Center for Organizational Research and Executive Education, assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship, Davis College of Business, Jacksonville University.

The changing workplace

Business culture is changing rapidly, with the so-called Great Resignation and the COVID-19 pandemic, which sent millions of workers home from the office.

Employees are demanding more flexibility to work from home. And, increasingly, they say they value company fit and culture over salary.

One local author and business consultant says the message to leaders in the workplace is simple: When you focus on your people, all other issues tend to resolve themselves.

Guest: John Chappelear, author of "People Come First - The New Business Model."

The redistricting fight

The battle continues over how to draw both Jacksonville and Florida’s lines of political power. A federal court has ruled that Jacksonville's attempts to draw City Council districts were racially gerrymandered, designed to reduce the influence of the city's Black population.

Author and elections expert Nicholas Seabrook has researched the intersection of law and politics in the United States. He will speak Friday at the First Coast Tiger Bay Club.

Guest: Nicholas Seabrook, professor and chair of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at the University of North Florida.

Best Jax events

Toni Smailagic of Cre8Jax has been photographing Jax events — and the people who attend them — for years.

He also puts together a list of the best events and places to check out and shares them online.

Local multimedia personality Catalina Selvagn can often be found at these events alongside Toni. Catalina shares THE MOVE, their picks for this week and next. For the full list, got to

Guest: Catalina Selvagn, multimedia host and personality.

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Randy comes to Jacksonville from the South Florida Sun Sentinel, where, as metro editor, he led investigative coverage of the Parkland school shooting that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for public service. He has spent more than 40 years in reporting and editing positions in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio and Florida. You can reach Randy at or on Twitter, @rroguski.