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Five Points News Center Jacksonville, Florida

Five Points landmark around 40-plus years

By Sue Dixon

Community News correspondent

The Five Points News Center, with its cinderblock walls and metal rolltop door, has been a landmark in Riverside for more than 40 years.

And like a dinosaur in a rocket age, it is one of a dying breed in an era where old-fashioned newsstands are giving way to more modern-looking bookstores. A Royal Crown Cola clock, a dusty relic from the past, still hang's above the paperback books.

Owner Roy Reeves of the Westside opened the newsstand at 1060 Park St. with his late brother William in 1947 with a $50 inventory of magazines.

He now stocks more than 1000 different magazines and  several newspapers from major Florida cities and Atlanta, and many paperback books,

At one time, Reeves operated the newsstand alone, but he now employs four people to help him run the stand, allowing him more time to work behind the scene.

"1 like being my own boss and working hard for what is mine," Reeves said. I still haul my own deliveries and stock the merchandise myself every Thursday," he said.

According     to     Riverside  Liquors  owner   Bob Meredndino area  business people  are  happy to  have Reeves for a neighbor.

In the 27 years I've known him, Roy has worked, very hard to make his newsstand a thriving success. He really seems to care about his customers, Merendino said.

Although the shop is more than twice its original size, it is constantly crowded back to back with customers and merchandise. According to James White, of Duval News Management ,Reeves
has the highest gross sales per square foot of any business in the area.

Reeves' customers are as diverse as the titles on his shelves, traveling from all areas of the city to shop  the newsstand, one of the few where just about any type of magazine or book can be found. The shop is busiest during lunch  hour when  it is jammed with people. Reading habits have changed quite a bit over the past 50 years, according to Reeves. People have turned  more to television and aren't reading the newspapers' as intensely as they used to, he said.

He said the first paperbacks — the Marshall Fields line of pocket books — sold for about 25 cents. Today, the average cost of a paperback is $5. Reeves' bestseller today is TV Guide, at 60 cents.

Although Reeves has been in the publications industry for more than 40 years, his occupations have been diverse. His first job was in 1936 at the age of 15 for Southland Dairies full time, while going to school, as a deliveries helper earning $3.00 per week.

"We would start loading up the milk trucks at midnight and finish deliveries around 3a.m.. I would get back home just in time to grab a little sleep before getting up and going to school."

He worked for the St. Johns River Ship Building Co. during World War II and then for Duval News, where he worked in 1971 while operating the Five Points News Center. He also raced stock cars at Jacksonville Speedway during the 50's.