In the Mandarin community in Jacksonville (FL), Hoby’s Honey and General Store is a destination for many of us seeking honey, canned products like pickles and jalapenos, and other locally produced wares. Besides the quality of the products, the fact they’re unique is icing on the cake. There’s more to Hoby’s than things to eat, though.
Alongside the foodstuffs, other items like handcrafted jewelry, metal sculptures, and recipe holders made of natural wood can be found. Small businesses like Hoby’s can be a craftmaker’s best friend because they’re one of several means of getting your product to market.
Prices are very reasonable, and some are lower than you might pay in a large retail store.
I went with my daughters to Hoby’s yesterday for the honey. We never seem to have enough of that, especially when the girls are booked heavily. Honey straight up is one of the best throat-soothers I’ve found, and it comes in handy after they’ve done a 4-hour gig after two 3-hour gigs, all in different cities over a 3-day span.
I was delighted to find my favorite raw honey there, wildflower honey, among the other varieties and it was a beautiful sight lined up on the shelves holding bread and butter pickles, those sweet jalapenos that blend two opposing flavors in such an amazing way, and the old Southern staple for greens, chow chow. I don’t know who came up with that name for the unique relish, but I am eternally grateful for it. Hoby’s chow chow is very similar to the relish the women in my family make.
The jewelry on display, made by a local artist, is lovely. All of it is priced very reasonably, considering the time it must take to create it.
The metal sculptures are a diverse mix—I knew as soon as I saw the owl, my younger daughter wouldn’t leave the store without it. She is crazy for owls. All of the sculptures are done by hand.
Pottery, handmade soaps, candles, and candies are also part of Hoby’s offerings.
Ryan Hoback is the founder of Hoby’s, and self-described “chief worker bee.” Hoback has been doing business in Mandarin for years, and he lives in the community too. His products—notably the honey—are served in a number of upscale restaurants in Jacksonville. Hoback said he is currently scouting new locations for his store, but he assured us he will remain in Mandarin.
Small businesses like Hoby’s are an asset to the community, and to craftmakers in general. In these big box times, a destination like Hoby’s is a rare treat. Needless to say, I came home with good things to eat and my younger daughter got her owl and my older daughter got a very neat wood recipe holder.
I’m planning to go back soon. I forgot the jam and I want to look at those earrings again.
Learn more about Hoby’s by visiting them on Facebook.
(KBD/May 25, 2017)
(Disclosure: No benefits of any kind are derived from publishing this article. Band Mom has long been an advocate for small businesses.)