Family Business: Photo Essay by Ashley Vargas

Ashley Vargas photographs three Jacksonville family businesses that have built a legacy in our city.

Published June 1, 2013 in Culture -

My father used to own his own super market, and when I was a little girl I would go to work with him. Having to stand on a stool to reach the counter, I loved watching my dad cut the meat and wrap it in its packaging.  When I think back to the grungy old checker tile floor and the small narrow aisles with little orange price tags placed on each item, I am brought back to the rush of childhood and overwhelmed with nostalgia.
As a consequence of my childhood experiences, I have an extra fondness for family owned businesses. I searched Jacksonville seeking family owned shops that offered a glimpse of my past.

The three different local businesses documented in the following pages, have been owned by individual families for decades.

Harold's Meat Market

Harold’s Meat Market, owned by the Goody family since 1965, was originally a gas station with the actual structure dating back to 1929. Richard Goody, son of Harold Goody, now owns the market.

As soon as I stepped through the doors, I felt like was five years old again. The place smelled just like the back of my dad’s store where I use to watch him wrap the meat. I felt so much at home that I was almost expecting to see my dad walk out from the back in his meat coat

Richard Goody is on the right and on the left is his son, Harold Jr

Fresh cut meat daily

Harold's Meat Market
10535 Lem Turner Rd
Jacksonville, FL 32218
(904) 765-1686

Kelly’s Piano & Organ

The Kelly family has always been in the piano business so they decided to open their own shop in 1963, a few years latter they expanded the store so include a showcase. The Kelly’s Piano & Organ not sell,  repair and tune pianos. They also hold piano recitals.

I had the chance to meet with Bob Kelly the current storeowner, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Kelly. Walking through the place I felt this sense of calmness and peace. It was a very pleasant being in the piano showcase room. In the background you can hear an automatic piano playing.

Bob Kelly

The workshop where they fix and tune the pianos

Another workshop where they build pianos

Kelly's Piano & Organ
1716 University Blvd North
Jacksonville, FL 32211
(904) 743-3822

Chamblin Bookmine
They opened their doors on July 20th 1976 Ron Chamblin was 31yrs old. I got to interview Ron, and he had told me that when he first opened his store he had no idea what he was doing. I asked him “How did you learn, what you know now?” He replied with “ the best teachers I had were my customers, my customers taught me everything I know.”

After speaking with Ron, I got to go around his store and the further into the store I went it smelled like old books, and the yellowing of the pages just reflected me back to my brother’s room with his huge comic book collection.

Chamblin Bookmine
4551 Roosevelt Blvd
Jacksonville, FL 32210

Chamblin's Uptown
215 North Laura St.

I hope that the family owned shops maintain a place in Jacksonville. Not simply for what goods and or services they offer but because these shops offer a physical and emotional glimpse into those intangible memories that we seek to relive.

I would like to conclude by saying thank you to everyone that welcomed me into their store and shared with me apart of their family, and store history. I had a great time meeting everyone.  

Article and Photographs by Ashley Vargas

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Metro Jacksonville