Parker Drug isn’t alone

Published 10:07 am Saturday, July 17, 2010

July 27 will mark yet another end of an era for Franklin.

That’s when downtown’s Parker Drug will close after being in business for 123 years. That’s a long time for any business, but the closing of landmark establishments like Parker Drug is a trend across America.

Some blame the recession, while others say shopping habits have changed — geared more toward the Internet.

Franklin’s shift in businesses from the downtown to the Armory Drive could be the reason for a lack of business at Parker Drug.

Franklin isn’t the only downtown experiencing the shift.

Many downtowns no longer have the traditional main street department stores. Retail chains tend to build away from the downtown, just like they have in Franklin.

Some downtowns are attempting to offer innovative businesses not found anywhere else in a community.

In Franklin, Pa., a former oil-boom town with a population of 6,600, the downtown merchants work with city fathers to host a festival once a month. It’s bringing people to town.

Events include Franklin on Ice in February, May Garden Fest, Fourth of July Festival, Music Fest in July, Taste of Franklin and Rock in River Festival, both in August, Applefest in October and Light-Up Night in November.

There are also Thursday night concerts and a farmers’ market on Saturdays, just like in Franklin, Va.

There’s an opportunity to learn more about creating an inviting downtown during the Virginia Main Street Summer Toolkit: Cultivating an Entrepreneurial Downtown on Wednesday, July 22, and Thursday, July 23, at Franklin Baptist Church at 208 N. High St.

Sessions will focus on revitalizing the downtown. Contact Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce for details.

It took years of hard work and a lot of money to improve the downtown in Franklin, Pa., which turned into a wonderful place to visit and spend some time and money.