We’ve announced the winners, now this is what we want from you

Published 9:42 am Saturday, June 24, 2017

by Amanda Jarratt and Dan Howe

The STARTUP Downtown Franklin winners have been announced, and we hope the whole community is as excited as we are to see what these three businesses bring to Downtown Franklin. Our community will see a bustling of activity in Downtown over the next few months as the STARTUP Downtown Franklin winners prepare to open up shop.

Main Event, owned by Lauren Davis and Mike Smith, was awarded $10,000 in prize money. The banquet/event center has the potential to attract all sorts of clientele to Downtown Franklin through wedding receptions or business meetings. Those people will then be exposed to the shops, restaurants and services in Downtown Franklin.

Not to mention, event centers need support services such as photographers, DJ’s, caterers and more. This could lead to more businesses wanting to locate near the event center and bringing more business to Downtown Franklin. Main Event will be located at 110 Main St., and they hope to open in August of this year.

Franklin’s Seafood and Steakhouse, which opened in March, is owned and operated by Wydia Bailey and was awarded $10,000 in prize money. This business was very invested in the community (win or lose) because as you may have noticed the business opened its doors prior to any award money being provided, which the Community Business Launch program encourages (as long as the business opens after the initial program application deadline).

This restaurant gives Downtown Franklin business owners and employees along with citizens and travelers a convenient location for any meal as well as lunch meetings, family outings or catering events. Franklin’s Seafood and Steakhouse is located at 103 N. Main St.

Our $20,000 awarded winner, TaylorMade Fitness, owned by La’Kenneth Kindred, has the potential to create real foot traffic in Downtown Franklin. Not only will he be helping create a healthy lifestyle for citizens, people will be traveling in and out of the Downtown Franklin area multiple times a week to visit his fitness facility. Being from the area, La’Kenneth saw a need for a another gym/fitness option in Franklin and he wanted to get a piece of the market share. Featuring standard gym equipment and personal training services, TaylorMade Fitness plans to be a strong community asset.

TaylorMade Fitness plans to open by September and be on Jackson Street.

We want to encourage you to support these businesses and the businesses already in Downtown Franklin. Please join us in making an effort to keep these businesses top of mind and support them. If you want a specific business in Downtown Franklin, follow the lead of these three businesses that just made their dreams and visions for Downtown Franklin a reality, and help us to continue to STARTUP Downtown Franklin.

We hear there are hopes and dreams of a brewery, coffee shop or more retail options in Downtown, but don’t give up hope — we are working to bring this program back for another round of great business ideas. If you are interested in starting a business or if you have another idea for Downtown Franklin we invite you to come participate in the STARTUP Downtown Franklin program next year. We would love to meet and talk with you about your idea and how to get it off the ground. We are thrilled with the businesses that won and hope many other businesses will come and use their experiences as a stepping stone for Downtown Franklin to build from and attract new businesses.

Thank you to everyone who participated in, supported and continues to support the STARTUP Downtown Franklin program — we are grateful and appreciate your efforts.

AMANDA JARRETT is the president and CEO of Franklin Southampton Economic Development Inc. Contact her at 562-1958 or ajarratt@franklinsouthamptonva.com.

DAN HOWE is the executive director of the Downtown Franklin Association. Contact him at 569-6900 or downtownfranklin@beldar.com.