Jacksonville, Florida

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Jacksonville Business Signs

The area of Florida, which would eventually become the city of Jacksonville was originally inhabited by the Timucua people.  In 1564, the French colonized the area and named it Fort Caroline.  This is considered one of the earliest European settlements in what is now the continental United States.  A British settlement grew at the narrow point in the St. Johns River where cattle crossed.  The Seminole called it Wacca Pilatka and the English called it Cowford.  A year after the U.S. won Florida from Spain, in 1822; Jacksonville was given its current name.  The city is named for Andrew Jackson, the first military governor of the Florida Territory and the seventh President of the United States.

Today, Jacksonville is the largest city in the state of Florida by population.  In 2013, it was estimated to have a population of 842,583.  This would make it the 13th most populous city in the United States.  Jacksonville also serves as the principal city in the Jacksonville metropolitan area.  According to the 2010 U.S. census, this metropolitan area has a population of 1,345,596.

Jacksonville has the largest deepwater port in the South and the second-largest port on the East Coast.  It also holds the distinction of being the leading port in the country for automobile imports.  Indeed, the Port of Jacksonville, which is a seaport on the St. Johns River, accounts for 50,000 jobs in Northeast Florida and $2.7 billion in revenue.

The city of Jacksonville serves as the headquarters for four Fortune 500 companies: CSX Corporation, Fidelity National Financial, Fidelity National Information Services, and Southeastern Grocers.  On top of housing the headquarters for CSX, Jacksonville is the home of the Florida East Coast Railway, Swisher International Group, and the large short line railroad holding company RailAmerica.

Jacksonville is also well known for having the third largest naval presence in the country (after Norfolk, Virginia, and San Diego, California).  Naval institutions in the area include Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Naval Station Mayport, and Blount Island Command.  The Navy is by far the largest employer in and around the city, and according to Bnet Business Network, is responsible for bringing in $6.1 billion annually.

Jacksonville is also known for two historic theaters.  The Florida Theatre opened in 1927.  It is located downtown and is one of only four remaining high-style movie palaces built in Florida during the Mediterranean Revival architectural craze of the 1920s.  The Sun-Ray Cinema, formerly the 5 Points Theatre and Riverside Theatre, was also opened in 1927.  It is noted as the first theater equipped to show talking pictures in Florida and the third nationally.  Jacksonville also hosts the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, which is the second-largest jazz festival in the country.  Since 1990, Jacksonville Beach has been the site of Springing the Blues, a gigantic blues festival.

The city of Jacksonville’s only major professional sports team is the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, who play at EverBank Field.  They joined the league in 1995 as an expansion team.  The annual college football game between Florida and Georgia (popularly referred to as the ‘World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party”) has been held in Jacksonville since 1933.  The city also hosts the Gator Bowl, which has been played on New Year’s Day in Jacksonville since 1946.

Are you thinking of owning a small business in the Jacksonville metropolitan area?  You may find these resources helpful:

Apply for a Business License in Jacksonville

Small Business in Jacksonville

MyJaxChamber (Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce)

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