Fri, 01 Jul 2016
By Michele Gillis
Amy Gorman of Pawfection Bakery has been selling her all-natural dog treats locally for years, but is always looking for new opportunities to get the word out about her business.
Now with a new shop at Jacksonville International Airport, Made in Jax, she can do just that.
“We are excited about having our products available at Made in Jax because we will be able to reach people traveling from all over the world,” said Gorman. “Every pet owner should bring their fur babies home a treat for their traveling. We are glad we can offer them a healthy treat their dog will love and they can trust.”
Ann Hill of Jacksonville Beach has opened Made in Jax, a boutique store at the JIA featuring only local art and products made in Jacksonville.
“People have been so excited when I tell them I have opened Made in Jax,” said Hill.
Hill said 70 percent of her customers are business travelers who are in the airport on a regular basis and enjoy having access to locally made products.
Many airport shoppers are people who were in Jacksonville visiting and want to pick up something to take home.
“Do you want to pick up something that was made in China, but stamped Jacksonville?” said Hill. “Or would you like to get something that is authentically made in Jacksonville? I like souvenirs that were made where I visited and created by an artisan. I feel very passionately about that.”
Hill has owned Comfort Zone Day Spa at the airport for over 10 years. In her spa she sold local products to support local businesses.
She also owned Comfort Zone Massage located in the courtyard area of the airport located before security. Additional space became available in the courtyard and she was approached to expand her business.
“They suggested that I partner with a local business in the additional space,” said Hill. “A lightbulb went off and I had the idea to partner with a lot of local businesses. So that’s how Made in Jax was born.”
The space she is in used to be a book store, so Hill is putting various products on individual shelves, so they are easily accessible to customers.
Hill started going out to local art shows to find items she would like to feature in the store. Then many of the people she met referred her to other people who made things in Jacksonville and the shelves began to fill.
Currently, she has over 20 different companies represented in Made in Jax.
She wanted to showcase a variety of products such as books, pet treats, bath products, artwork, hot sauce, jewelry, crafts, food products and more.
Jenet Cattar, author of “Where Did the Teacher Kiss the Mooser?”, is excited to have her books available to travelers.
“Mooser books are a great gift at a low price, which will bring joy to children,” said Cattar. “It’s easy to stop in [and] see this cute story about Mooser. Book exposure in the airport store is great for people on the run.”
Other companies that are represented include Little Hands Farm, Natural Elements by Tina, Homeport Soapworks, Mancanics, The Carry Cross, My Pepper Jelly, Raneri’s Gourmet, Louise Sunshine, Rethreaded, Daddy Bucks, Leinberg, Moore & Moore, River City Gourmet/dips2go, Florida Olive Farms, Topsy Toffee, Pawfection Bakery, Palm Arts & Photo and Pura Bean Coffee.
The hours of Made in Jax are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
Hill is in the market to feature other locally owned products and wants to grow the business slowly and organically.
“Items in the store have to present themselves professionally and have to be locally made,” said Hill.
She encourages her vendors to put information about their company along with their products to tell customers what they are all about.
“I love the stories behind the products,” said Hill. “I also encourage the vendors to come out and participate in the store.”
Jim Crunden, owner of The Carry Cross, has several items in the store is excited to share his craft.
“My wife, Lori, and I know it is a wonderful blessing to watch as The Carry Cross becomes more popular,” said Crunden. “We are delighted to be in the Made in Jax store because we love Ann Hill and we know that ‘made in America’ period is a rare thing indeed, but coupled with our hometown is truly cool. We pray these little wooden crosses and hearts emblazoned with God’s word are well received.”
Hill is a licensed massage therapist who grew up in Jacksonville Beach.
She started out doing chair massages in the courtyard of the JIA about 18 years ago.
She hired a few helpers and her business began to grow.
She moved into a small space in the courtyard and operated as Comfort Zone Massage.
Eight years later, she opened the Comfort Zone Day Spa located in the airport in Concourse A, next to Chili’s Grill & Bar. She kept the area located in the courtyard for clients who didn’t want to go through security to get their massage.
When she opened Made in Jax, she decided to incorporate a little relaxation for the travelers by offering seated, foot and full body massages at Made in Jax.
For more information on Made in Jax, visit their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/MadeInJax