Downtown Divas and Dudes fall into the seasonal spirit

Published 11:26 am Saturday, October 20, 2018

by Mary Christy Morris

The Downtown Divas and Dudes started four years ago and are made up of small business owners located in the downtown area of Franklin.

These business owners decided to come together and create a unique shopping experience for not only our community, but also for those who are visitors to our area.

The original group included The Cat’s Meow, Fred’s Restaurant, Mackans, Alphabet Soup and Smith Jewelers. We started with a simple contest of find the hidden button in the downtown area and the winner received a gift basket of which included products from the retailers. This was a way for us to come together and showcase what each business has to offer.

From there we began to advertise together through the radio and the TV. We also created a downtown card that was good for one year and it gave all our customers the opportunity to receive discounts not only from their favorite store but from most of the retail stores in the downtown area.

Debbie Crowder, owner of The Cat’s Meow, started Ladies’ Night Out on the third Thursday of each month, which keeps some of our businesses open until 8 p.m., and those who choose to participate have provided additional savings during that time.

During the summer months, retailers are open on Wednesdays until 7 p.m. because of our fantastic car show called the Franklin Cruise-In, and we have the Market on Main (our farmers market,) which is going on at the same time.

As new businesses locate in the downtown area, the Divas and Dudes have increased in size.

We now have Franklin Steak and Seafood, Vintage, Spoken Interiors, Lavender and Lace, and the Busy Bee who have joined forces with us to continue to create a unique shopping experience in the downtown area. We still have a few businesses that are putting on the finishing touches to their business, and we look forward to bringing them into our downtown family.

The Scarecrow Contest is in its fourth year, and I am thrilled and greatly appreciate all those who have decided to participate in it this year. This year we had the most businesses participate and at last count we are at 18 participants. Mary Christy Morris at Mackan’s came up with this idea after researching what other Main Street Communities are doing.

“I wanted to bring awareness to the importance of shopping local, bring fun back into the downtown area and give ourselves (merchants) a little bit of friendly competition between the businesses. We all are great friends her and want to see all of us succeed,” said Morris.

At this point, I would like to thank Angela Sproul, who is the James L. Camp Membership and Childcare Director for being our judge this year on the scarecrows. It’s always exciting to have people in our community who love to take part in what is happening in downtown Franklin.

This year our winner is Mable’s Barber shop. Mable received a $25 gift card from Mackan’s Stationery and Printing Store and will have an article written about her company and what she does coming up soon in The Tidewater News.

I want to take the time to thank everyone who chose to participate in our scarecrow contest this year and truly look forward to seeing what we come up with next.