Being away from home is never easy.
Whether you’re away for a long trip, going to college, or for military duty, it’s always nice to have a little piece of home with you while you’re gone. Jacksonville in a Box is a locally-based company that seeks to provide that piece of home for those separated from the First Coast.
The company, founded around a year and a half ago by Jonny Videl, offers the ability to send boxes filled with treats and memorabilia that embody the Jacksonville experience.
According to Videl, the concept grew organically. “It started off as just sending a care package to a friend of mine who was in the military,” Videl says.
Friends and family of members of the military are common clients for Jax in a Box; the boxes provide excellent reminders of home, and the company offers free shipping to military addresses.
Other common clients are college students coping with being away from the city, sometimes for the first time, as well as charities to which the company donates frequently.
The boxes come in two different varieties. One is a Snack Box priced at $34.99. This includes local favorites such as Bono’s BBQ sauce, cotton candy from Papa John’s, chocolate-coated popcorn from Peterbrooke Chocolatier, Sweet Pete’s taffy, burger seasoning from FreshJax, and Alligator Bob’s jerky. The other, called the Jacksonville Experience Box, contains all the snacks plus Jacksonville postcards, a Jaguars mini-pennant, an Armada magnet, a Suns foam finger, memorabilia from both Bold City Brewery and Intuition Ale Works, and a “Heart of Jax” poster from 904 Paper Co. The company has formed ties with all of the businesses featured in the boxes, as well as many more who wish to join.
“The whole idea is just to spread the love of Jacksonville,” says Videl.
The company sells around 50-60 boxes a month to various clients. To keep up with production demands, for the past six months Jax in a Box has partnered with The Arc Jacksonville, an organization that works with intellectually and developmentally disabled residents to help provide them with employment and the resources they need to thrive within the community. Through this partnership, adults with special needs assemble and fill the boxes, and receive both financial compensation as well as a sense of fulfillment.
“For me, it’s fun,” says Andrew, one of The Arc’s workers. “Most people would see it as a challenge, but I don’t see it as a challenge. I like it a lot.”
In the future, Videl hopes to expand the operation to include a monthly box; this would allow even more local businesses an opportunity to have their products featured in the boxes.
Another goal is the addition of “themed” boxes; customers could choose boxes that relate to a neighborhood or a type of business they like the most.
So far, Jacksonville in a Box has been a huge hit among both residents and businesses.
“Everyone has been super supportive,” says Videl.
If you’re interested in buying a box for a loved one that’s away from home, or even just one for yourself, check out the Jacksonville in a Box website.