Big challenges for small businesses Downtown

CAROLE HAWKINS | April 2, 2019

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Six months into his tenure Downtown at Vagabond Coffee, owner Will Morgan is upbeat about prospects. But the specialty coffee shop’s hours show how tough the urban core market can be.Vagabond is open during business hours — 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Compare that to the popular Murray Hill location, where weekdays stretch from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and where Saturday and Sunday hours run nearly as long.“In my opinion, we should be able to open more, but the business just isn’t there,” Morgan said of his store just a half-block off Hemming Park. “I actually think Downtown Jacksonville is one the hardest areas in the city to run a successful business, especially a small one.”Morgan’s landlord, George Saoud, sees a similar pattern with his other tenants. Happy Grilled Cheese closes at 3 p.m. So does the Desert Rider sandwich shop.

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