Categorized | Publisher's Letter

A thank-you note to one business owner

Like most of you, I eat, drink, breathe, and live my business. It’s a true passion from which I derive much satisfaction. But, I’ve found that if I allow it to consume me 24/7, it can wreck havoc on my personal life with family and friends. So, I try to unplug on weekends and focus on other things, not the least of which is my family, the source of my strength.
I would like to share an interesting family experience the other day. On a rainy Saturday morning—the kind that lulls you into sleeping late— my two little daughters, ages 5 and 2, barged into our bedroom. The 5-year-old didn’t want to be put off by the gloomy day; she wanted to know what we could do for fun.

My wife and I thought about the possibilities. Outdoor activities were out, because of the weather. What could we do? Then I remembered: Earlier that week I had been to a meeting of the Professional Women’s Council (PWC) of the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce. There I met David Durrett, owner and founder of YesYouCanvas ( He is an artist who has made painting a fun activity for anyone—from children through adults. As an artist, he wanted to make others as excited about art as he was, so he opened a business where he teaches painting in a relaxed class structure. He welcomes both experienced and novice learners—from little kids to adults.

His teaching method is simple: He provides everything the budding painter needs—from paints, to canvass, to smocks—and guides the class step-by-step to paint a picture they can take home and frame. When I visited his Web site, I was impressed with his organization and efficiency. You can even book a class online.

Our 5-year-old is very much interested in painting and the arts, so I suggested that my wife take her to explore her talents at the YesYouCanvas location at 6012 San Jose Boulevard.
. It was a win-win suggestion: While mommy and No. 1 daughter had time together, I would get some much needed daddy-daughter time with our 2 year old.

After a few hours, the mommy-daughter duo returned, and our little one proudly showed me her masterpiece—a handsome spotted giraffe. Talking a mile-a-minute, she took me through the step-by-step process: “First, I drew a circle here,” she said. “Then I carefully colored in the yellow.” When she finished her narrative, she said she was going to take her painting to “show and tell” at school on Monday. I immediately saw how the experience had boosted her confidence and opened her eyes to a whole new world.

All thanks to a local small business.
My wife later explained in more detail how supportive and patient David was with the kids in the class as he showed them how to paint the picture. For our family, it was a great experience and a great $20 investment.

Just another example of how small business fills a void—especially on a cold rainy day.

Until next time,

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