Downtown businessman disagrees with pessimistic view

Published 10:16 am Saturday, August 4, 2018

To the Editor:

I would like to take issue with the article about Gray Fox Electronics downtown store closure. As a business owner, property owner and developer in downtown Franklin, I would strongly disagree with both Mr. Fox’s economical assessment and the article highlighting his personal view.

First and foremost, downtown Franklin is experiencing the greatest revitalization it has ever seen. The commercial occupancy rate is at 97 percent, with every rentable space occupied. In the last few years, we have seen more and more service and retail flocking to Main Street. Businesses such as Main Event, Franklin Steak and Seafood, Taylor Made Fitness, Lavender and Lace, Cat’s Meow, Spoken Interiors, Sweat Reality, Vintage, Busy Bee, Taylor Designs, PBG, Stepping Stones Counseling, Texas Nails and Jim’s Pawn Shop have all sought to be in downtown Franklin because of the economic boom taking place here. This along with some great businesses that have been a solid foundation for many years such as: Smith Jewelers, Fred’s restaurant, Aesthetics by Naomi, Mable’s Barber Shop, Mackan’s Office Supply and numerous other solid businesses (both retail and professional) that work hard every day to help make downtown Franklin great. With all these additions, downtown Franklin is most definitely not “dying” nor are the successful businesses locating here all focused on “a lower financial demographic.” In each of these successful retail businesses they are clean and inviting, with attractive exteriors and/or window displays welcoming customers in, and offer products to keep them coming back again and again.

In addition to the flocking of retail business to downtown Franklin, we are also in the beginning stages of the upper floor housing boom in the downtown district. Soon to be completed are luxury apartments downtown in previously unused second floor building spaces. These units will attract professionals who seek to work and live in the revitalized downtown, which in turn will attract even more businesses.

There is a ton of work that takes place for redevelopment to happen. These improvements have been made possible by business and property owners, with the help and support of Franklin City Council, Franklin Community Development and Franklin Southampton Economic Development. Much has been done and continues to be done each day whether publicly visible or not … far more progress happening than what this article portrays.

Mike Smith