Area retailers say the Downtown marketplace will boost their visibility and camaraderie.
Although The Bread & Board owners Dwayne Beliakoff and Jonathan Cobbs have been in Jacksonville for just three years, relationships throughout the city helped spur their latest project – Bread & Board Provisions in VyStar Credit Union’s Downtown headquarters.
It began with a conversation with VyStar President and CEO Brian Wolfburg and COO Chad Meadows, who sought a nontraditional cafeteria for the ground floor of the company’s 100 W. Bay St. building.
The group met for coffee in February 2019, which turned into a several hours long lunch meeting to discuss their business philosophies.
They shared an emphasis on community, leading Wolfburg and Meadows to ask if Bread & Board would be part of the project.
Beliakoff and Cobbs accepted.
The result is a hybrid food hall and marketplace with seven area retailers, plus a Bread & Board location.
“One of their main hopes was to help transform Downtown from daytime only and help bring the vibrancy back to Downtown,” Beliakoff said. “They were looking for something that would be open to the public, but also something that would function as a great place for their employees to dine,” he said.
“There were indicators to us that Downtown Jacksonville was about to pop again and Brian’s conversation with us really reinforced it. It felt like a really good time to be part of that movement.”
Beliakoff said he and Cobbs had concerns that opening Downtown wouldn’t be successful, but a meeting with Downtown Investment Authority CEO Lori Boyer eased worries about their strategy.
“She alleviated the sense of risk, and there’s always risk in these restaurants and anything on the early side of this movement,” Beliakoff said.
They hope to take advantage of the Targeted Food and Beverage Program, which would provide Bread & Board with city incentives for opening within the designated corridor. Once the build-out is complete, DIA could rebate up to 50% of the cost to the restaurateur.
The Bread & Board opened first in Five Points and soon will open in the Town Center area. It will offer the same menu Downtown along with more grab-and-go options, plus a hot breakfast bar and a salad bar.
The market will include Good Dough, Alewife Craft Beer Bottle Shop, Bee Friends Farm, Layered: Cakes & Sweets by Anita Adams, Martin Coffee, Saturiwa Trading Company and Bark Urban Dog Boutique.
Those retailers are friends or business associates of Beliakoff and Cobbs.
“If someone were to fly in for business and go Downtown, could they get a flavor if they’re not branching out to all the neighboring areas in the 24 to 48 hours they’re here? It’s not just Bread & Board. It was a way to highlight the craft of what some of our friends are doing and highlight Jacksonville at the same time,” Beliakoff said.
Early last year, Beliakoff and Cobbs approached Anita Adams, who will run Layered: Cakes & Sweets, to be part of the marketplace. Her company, Biscuits and Buttercream, had been making desserts for Bread & Board catering events.
Alewife owner Kelly Pickard said she wasn’t looking for a second location, but she found it difficult to turn down the chance.
“The opportunity to be one of the members of the team being assembled for the project was one of the biggest draws,” she said. “They are all people I know and respect. I know them to be hands-on and committed business owners.”
Pickard said her marketplace location would offer a rotating selection of beer, cider and mead on tap, as well as bottles and cans to go. It will include a mix of bar and communal seating.
“We’re really honored to be brought on as a partner to help bring the full vision of this project to life,” Pickard said.
Beliakoff said he hopes to have Bread & Board Provisions opened by June, or within two months of VyStar employees moving into the building. He hopes to have the St. John’s Town Center North location open by mid-April.
Along with Downtown customers, the marketplace will draw from the 1,000 employees VyStar is relocating for its headquarters at 100 W. Bay St. and the adjacent 76 S. Laura St.