You may only know Near Southside as the booming creative community of our city, but the neighborhood had a lot of growing to do to become what we know it as today, and J.O. has been there every step of the way.
In 2000, Jennifer Henderson set her roots in Near Southside, opening a boutique graphic design firm called JODesign, LLC. At the time, the Fort Worth neighborhood was relatively empty, only being occupied by small offices, warehouses and a pass-through for traffic to the medical district. Nevertheless, Henderson didn’t let this deter her as she saw the area’s potential and decided to stay, and now J.O. is the longest-standing agency in the Near Southside.
Shortly after, JODesign began to grow into a full-service marketing, advertising and public relations (PR) agency. When the company started tackling integrated marketing and PR projects with Worthington National Bank and Susan G. Komen, a name change was in order, so JODesign became J.O. Meanwhile, Fort Worth South, Inc. (aka Near Southside, Inc.) was also beginning to see progress. Fort Worth South, a nonprofit organization founded in 1995, was working to preserve and restore the neighborhood. By 2006, the neighborhood was redeveloping and slowly evolving into a thriving district. In December 2011, J.O. made the move from Jennings to the center of Near Southside’s South Main Village. As other new businesses started to filter into the area, a passionate community began to form.
“I was introduced to a development group of business owners on South Main, and these individuals encouraged each other to stick with the grueling development process. It’s very supportive here, and that’s what I love about it,” said Henderson of her experience with the early Near Southside community.
Henderson’s passion for the Near Southside was put to good use when she joined as a part of the Near Southside, Inc. board. The board serves as a place of commerce and joint creativity for the Near Southside community, establishing important relationships that have inspired collaborations of businesses that otherwise may have been thought of as competitors. J.O.’s ties to Near Southside were strengthened even further when Henderson took on the organization as an official client partner of the agency. J.O. has been able to help tell the Near Southside story and become a driving force in its development. This collaboration continues today and, throughout the years, J.O. and Near Southside, Inc. have worked together on numerous projects, from branding signature events to crafting annual reports.
For more than 20 years in this community, J.O. has made its home in the Near Southside. From the early days, Henderson saw the neighborhood’s creative potential and that passion was realized by other entrepreneurs, driving unimaginable growth to the area, and in turn this community has allowed J.O. to come as far as it has. The Near Southside continues to evolve each day and the cultural designation plans will only help the district continue to flourish. J.O. looks forward to the endless possibilities the future holds in their Near Southside home.
Public Relations Intern
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