Cymplify simply celebrates one year


Ken Block, of Sister Hazel, plays a few songs to a small crowd gathered at the Cymplify stage during Cymplifest, an event to benefit Haven Hospice, at the Cymplify business cooperative, in Gainesville, Saturday June 29, 2013.

Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 8:44 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 8:44 p.m.

Ken Block's dream of revitalizing a vacant group of buildings into a cool corner of coffee, food and music is now a year into reality, and he is so pleased with the success, he threw Cymplifest.

The festival on Saturday drew hundreds to Cymplify Central at 5402 NW Eighth Ave. — the triangle of Newberry Road, Northwest Eighth Avenue and 55th Street — to celebrate the growth of Cymplify and to benefit Haven Hospice.

“It's all about our philosophy of thinking better, feeling better and being better,” said Block, of the band Sister Hazel. “We want to do good things with people who are doing good things.”

The triangle had been known as Greenery Square and housed several garden-themed shops — a nursery, lawn and garden equipment store, a patio and home decor shop.

Most of the stores closed after the property sold in 2006. The new owner planned to open an organic market.

However, it sat vacant until last year, when Block and several friends opened a coffee shop — the CYM Coffee Co. — in one of the buildings. CYM is play on the Sister Hazel song, “Change Your Mind.”

Both the business and the activities at the property have grown since to include live music, food truck rallies, workshops and other events.

“We're here for the one-year anniversary of getting on the property and the expansion of our project to the next building where we have our Cymple ice cream parlor, our Cymple Market and our Cymple rooms where we hold everything from intimate music events to speakers to workshops,” Block said.

The shops have quite a following because of the local, non-corporate feel of the place and its offerings. Much of the merchandise is locally produced. Some other goods are from companies that follow fair-trade practices.

“I live (nearby) and it's great to have a coffee shop that is not Starbucks, something local” Dawn Royston said. “I come here all the time. It's very homey. It feels homegrown, but in a very polished way. I love the vibe in general. I consider it a really cool spot.”

Block was among the performers Saturday afternoon and night, and several people attending said they are Sister Hazel fans.

Mark Wright, a Sister Hazel enthusiast, said this was his first time to the nearly 4-acre property, known as Cymplify Central.

“It's really awesome. It's more than I thought it was,” Wright said, adding that he planned to spend the evening there.

Toward the rear of the property was a line of food trucks. Several food truck rallies have been held there, drawing so many people that shuttle parking from a nearby shopping plaza is needed — as it was Saturday night.

Haven Hospice had a booth at the event. The nonprofit got a portion of the proceeds from ice cream and food truck sales, said Jeremy Haupt, marketing account specialist.

“It will benefit a lot of the things that we do that do not get reimbursed by Medicare and Medicaid, things like grief support that we offer the community for free and Camp Safe Haven — a day camp for kids who lost loved ones,” Haupt said. “This kind of event really helps out with that.”

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