Mill brings familiar aroma to downtown

Published 10:16 am Friday, July 13, 2012

FRANKLIN—Angela Watson calls it the smell of money.

“That’s what my dad used to call it when I was growing up here and would tell him it stinks,” Watson said.

David Brinkley, co-owner of Designs by Sandra, said he hasn’t noticed the smell from the International Paper mill that began operations as a fluff pulp mill last week, but the 67-year-old said he’s happy it’s back. -- SUBMITTED | SHAQUIRA HOLEMAN

The 35-year-old jeweler and sales associate with Smith Jewelers was talking about the familiar smell that comes from making wood pulp at International Paper, which last week restarted operations to make fluff pulp. The pungent smell is hardly noticed by some downtown employees, while others are happy for its return.

Debbie Daughtrey, owner of New Life Resale Boutique, said she’s barely noticed any odor.

“I don’t mind the smell because I know what it is,” Daughtrey said. “It’s already got people stirred up. Stores were shutting down, and now they’re filling back up.”

The 50-year-old said before the mill reopened, she didn’t know if her business would survive. She moved from Main Street to Second Avenue to downsize, but business is improving.

“I’m seeing more business from out-of-towners and newcomers,” Daughtrey said.

The smell is a result of the process of making wood pulp by cooking wood chips, said Julie Brennan, mill spokeswoman.

Brennan said people may notice less of a smell coming from the mill because its only using about a third of the equipment it did in the past, and only one paper machine has been converted to produce fluff pulp.

She said the smell is not an environmental or health threat.

“I haven’t noticed any smell,” said Cliff Brinkley, co-owner of Designs by Sandra. “I have seen smoke coming out of the smoke stacks, and that’s a good thing. Anything that brings in jobs and helps the economy is a good thing if you own a business downtown.”