Downtown merchants ramp up efforts to welcome back visitors

The colorful displays at Diva’s on Main catch the shopper’s eye, drawing them to the store all decked out for spring. Photo by Vickie Carpenter

Deena C. Bouknight – Contributing Writer

The Streets of Franklin Heritage Association met recently to set a schedule packed with activities and events for upcoming spring months in Franklin. Gwen Taylor, the association’s president, said, “This past year with COVID-19 has made ‘shopping local’ more real for locals. Small businesses began to think outside of the box, offering curbside pickup, ordering online, and delivery. It is important to shop local for the revenue that comes back into our local economy.  This keeps more money in our community. Downtown events help bring locals out to enjoy our small town. We love our locals, and we welcome back our visitors.”

Upcoming throughout the rest of this month and into April and May include the following:

– Celebrating March, 1-17, some merchants will have tables in their stores with 17% off items until St Patrick’s Day.  

– Spring Has Sprung in Our Hometown, March 20, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. A DJ will be playing music in front of Wells Fargo, balloons in pretty pastel colors will decorate downtown, and crafters will display wares on the sidewalks.

– Hippity Hoppity on Main,  April 3, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., includes music, crafters, balloons as well as some give-away Easter basket prizes. Some merchants may also have surprise-inside Easter egg discounts and candies. 

– Blossoms in My Hometown on Main, May 1 – flowers will adorn fronts of shops and plans are for a flower sale to take place, as well as possible other customer incentives.

– Mother’s Day Weekend, Saturday, May 8, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. A DJ will play music and crafters will offer handmade items. 

“It is very important to have these events,” said Linda McKay, owner of NC Mountain Made on Main Street, “and each event that has been held has increased our business. These events have also added to the beauty of our small town, where people are strolling down the sidewalks listening to the music and for a short time maybe are able to forget the terrible year we have just been through. We see happy faces on both merchants and customers alike.”

Added Taylor: “Local businesses are the heartbeat of a community. We hire neighbors, we pay taxes, we support schools and other community organizations. When shopping locally and you come into one of our stores, we may not carry it, but we are all willing to point you into the right direction of someone that might.”