Peterbrooke Chocolatier and the Story of Mixon TownJanuary 20, 2015 6 comments Print Article
Peterbrooke Chocolatier recently announced plans to transform an abandoned bacon slicing plant into a new state-of-the-art chocolate factory. While this is big news, the most interesting part of the story is their decision to invest in the revitalization of Mixon Town. Here's the background story on this long overlooked neighborhood on the outskirts of downtown Brooklyn and Riverside.
Article by Ennis Davis, AICP
I-95's new Forest Street interchange is the gateway into Mixon Town and the dividing line between the neighborhood and Brooklyn.
Jacksonville-based Peterbrooke Chocolatier is in the process of leaving ritzy San Marco for new digs. The popular chocolatier is currently transforming a 28,000 square foot abandoned bacon slicing factory, the last remainder of Jones-Chambliss Meat Packers, into their headquarters, production plant, and tourism center. In a few months, tourist will be able to learn about the history of the company and see how candy is made in person. Plans also include opening a retail store and community meeting space at the site.
While certainly exciting, the best part of this story is the company's decision to invest in Mixon Town, an economically challenged neighborhood not known and outright avoided by most.
In fact, when local media first caught wind of Peterbrooke's decision, it was assumed that they were headed to rapidly redeveloping and gentrifying Brooklyn. Not quite. Yes, they are on the move, but to the neighborhood just west of Brooklyn and physically separated from Brooklyn and Riverside by Interstates 95 and 10.
In a recent Jax Daily Record article, Andy Stenson, vice president of marketing and business development for Hickory Foods Inc., the management company for Peterbrooke, mentioned their desire to make an investment in Mixon Town to assist in the neighborhood's revitalization.
Many already know about Brooklyn and nearby trendy neighborhoods like Riverside and San Marco. So one not familiar with exploring Jacksonville's lesser known historic neighborhoods may wonder what is the story behind Mixon Town.