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Former Jacksonville Landing jewelry business thriving as new cookie shop at Regency Square Mall

Michelle Rhodes says the foot traffic has been much better for business – selling out daily of her homemade specialties.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — As the Jacksonville Landing is demolished, it’s a new day for some of the businesses that once operated out of the iconic marketplace.

Some businesses are finding new life outside of Downtown and in a completely new industry.

“One door closes and another one opens,” business owner Michelle Rhodes said.

In this case, the door is to an oven filled with cookies. 

The On Your Side team first met Rhodes with only weeks to move her family’s jewelry store out of the Jacksonville Landing. What had been staple of the downtown shopping center for 32 years found itself homeless.

But what Rhodes had seen for years through the glass windows of her shop was another business – a sweeter one. When it came time to start fresh, Rhodes opted to setup First Coast Cookies.

“It’s a lot more work," Rhodes said. "It’s harder, but it’s so fun.” 

Its new home is in the Regency Square Mall’s food court. Rhodes says the foot traffic has been great for business – selling out daily of her homemade specialties.

“Fudge nut, sugar with cinnamon, sugar with sprinkles, ranger, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, chocolate with walnut, chocolate chip,” Rhodes said.

She explained after the sudden sale of the Jacksonville Landing, she learned new lessons.

“It did make me a smarter business person, that’s for sure, and just do more investigation on my end,” Rhodes said.

What it comes down to is making others happy – and herself in the process of the new venture.

“I just like to make people smile and I think with cookies and a smile go hand-in-hand, so if you come up with a smile, you get an extra cookie,” she said.

Rhodes added she hopes to expand her business to other locations around Jacksonville by the end of 2020.