Sylvia Walker had been operating her organic skin
Walker, a registered nurse, launched NAIWBE in 2011 as a solution for skin irritation that she had developed from consistently using chemically-based cleaning products and lotions. She experimented with
All of the brand’s products are hypo-allergenic, fragrance-free, and mineral oil-free, and none of the products were developed using animal testing.
Utilizing a storefront within the Landing, Walker’s business grew to local prominence, with Walker herself appearing on multiple local news shows as a local expert in the art of skin care.
Walker knew that the writing was on the wall for the Landing long before she received a letter from the city in May informing her that her lease was terminated. She knew of the pending litigation between the city and the property’s former owners, Sleiman Enterprises, and she was following the drama as it was reported by local news outlets.
But like many of the Landing’s other former tenants, Walker had no other legitimate option but to stay put and wait it out. The Landing’s rental rate was far below that of any other downtown building, and even at its lowest point, it still offered one of the best chances at consistent foot traffic in downtown Jax.
Once Walker received her eviction letter, though, an unfortunate reality began to present itself: the city had no plans to help displaced businesses like NAIWBE find a new home.
“I never thought the City of Jacksonville would treat the small businesses as they did,” Walker reflects. “Small businesses anywhere [in the] USA make up a huge percentage of the economy. Small businesses provide visitors an experience that is unique to that city.”
Walker packed up her shop and departed the Landing, along with the majority of its other remaining tenants, at the end of May. But while it may be the end for the building it called home, NAIWBE isn’t going anywhere.
Like so many other local and national businesses, NAIWBE has embraced the world of e
And things are looking bright for the brand’s future, as well. Just a few weeks after receiving her eviction letter from the city, Walker was contacted by Walmart’s corporate office and invited to pitch her products at an open call meeting.
“One chapter has closed, I’m moving on to the next one,” says Walker. “Feeling excited about the future!”