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Shop local, eat local … we do

Shop local, eat local is not just a national slogan used in “Mainstreet” type settings that we have co-opted. At our house, it is an intentional effort that my wife and I are taking seriously. I sure hope you will, too.

We have doubled-down and are trying in every way, large and small, to support local Franklin businesses. I know that we will never do 100 percent of our commerce here in town. I doubt you do either. But, we sure do try as much as we can.

Why is that so important to us, you might ask? Because our church occupies a significant footprint of Franklin’s downtown. About as much as any business in town probably. That makes us a stakeholder, and we take Franklin’s health and stability seriously. For me, it’s a matter of integrity and consistency as a neighbor.

We have people among our membership who run and own businesses, and who work in shops from downtown on out across the entire area. Franklin’s health and vitality is tied in small part to our church’s health and vitality, from humans to dollars and beyond.

Besides, there is quality to be found here in town as well. We were at an important event out of town recently. Someone complimented my wife’s outfit. We smiled because we knew it had been bought here in downtown Franklin. I was proud.

Every single time we have new overnight guests, we provide them with a hospitality gift from one of our local peanut companies. We take them to dine in some of our local restaurants. One out-of-state friend was planning to pass back through here at Christmas with her husband. Today, as I write, she messaged me. She named a local restaurant they like and begged me to be sure we return there when they visit.

Another out-of-town guest spent a few nights with us not long ago. We took her for fresh seafood downtown at the newly remodeled Franklin Seafood and Steaks. She was still talking about her meal the next day. We took her for breakfast at Fred’s another day. She speculated she might come back there one morning by herself as we headed off to work.

She enjoyed a Saturday morning strolling the sidewalks with us, shopping at The Cat’s Meow, and at Lavender and Lace. We stopped in at Vintage and at Spoken Interior Homes. She loved the newly renovated Mackans. We visited with, and looked longingly at, all that Smith’s Jewelers has to offer. Some of her new treasures left town and went back to big ole Atlanta.

We feed our guests strawberries and blueberries that we picked here locally, and cook with ingredients often sourced right off the farm or in a local market. They love the egg dishes we make with the fresh, farm-raised ones. We abound here in this area in agricultural goodness that is both plentiful and healthy.

I also happen to believe in Franklin. So, that is the figurative horse we are putting our money on. We have a unique quality of life here that we were losing rapidly when we lived in the impossibly large Atlanta metro area. That is not to say that Franklin’s challenges have all been addressed. There are still headwinds to face. In just our short time, though, we have seen remarkable progress.

As in so much of life, there is a caveat to all this. Local businesses will have to continue to work and earn our trade. More and more, I get to know our local merchants and realize that they understand this as much as anyone does.

They’ll need to have what we want, and at competitive prices. Prices that may be a little higher sometimes, but offset by the investment these local business owners turn around and make back in our community. There are still some who need to work on keeping the hours they advertise and at being ready to give friendly customer service. We continue to have downtown business people who need to stop parking their personal vehicles right in front of their own doors.

Overall, though, this is a great season for you and me to shop local and eat local anytime we can. It’s up to us to support nice things if we want more nice things here in our city. I’m no economic genius, but that much I understand. I hope to see you out and about in town. Let’s visit for a moment and talk about all we have here in Franklin.

The REV. DR. CHARLES QUALLS is pastor of Franklin Baptist Church. Contact him at 562-5135.