Starbucks returns to Armory Drive

Published 6:10 pm Thursday, March 10, 2022

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Starbucks is expected to be serving customers sometime this summer in Franklin at 1663 Armory Drive, where National Glass had been located previously.

Cecil Martin is the landlord of the property, and Starbucks will be renting from him.

Telling the story of how Starbucks came to occupy the space, he first noted that he was in the glass business with his nephew, Rick Martin, who lives in Franklin.

“He ran it,” Cecil said, of National Glass. “I was the silent partner, actually. I live in Richmond.”

The business was successful on Armory Drive, “but we didn’t really need a retail-type business,” Cecil said.

Rick Martin is currently operating National Glass out of his home and can be reached at the same phone number as when the business was located on the property on Armory Drive.

Realizing that the property could be used in another way, Cecil said, “I think about seven years ago, I decided that I would go to Starbucks.”

He asked Starbucks to look at the property more than once, but nothing came of it. 

Years later, someone called a broker of his in Richmond and said Starbucks was interested in the property. So through his broker in Richmond, Cecil became connected with the man that selects all of the Starbucks locations.

“The one thing I’ve known about our location is it’s the best in Franklin,” Cecil said. “It’s probably one of the best anywhere because it’s got the exit right off of (U.S. Route) 58 and Armory Drive, and I just knew that would be a great place for a drive-in coffee shop.”

Cecil said he knew Starbucks had been located in the nearby grocery store on Armory Drive that has since gone out of business.

“I thought (Starbucks) did a good job there,” he said. “I heard they did.”

He noted that Starbucks, which has 39,000 locations, approved the 1663 Armory Drive site, and after some discussions, Cecil suggested he build the new building, to which Starbucks agreed.

The preexisting National Glass building did not match Starbucks’ specifications.

“I don’t think we could have refitted that to what they wanted,” Cecil said. “It sat wrong on the property. They have a long drive around their building. I think it just didn’t work for their design. We didn’t mind that. We got a local contractor to take the building down for us before they started.” 

Cecil said Rick took care of that and has been quite helpful during the whole project.

Emphasizing that construction work is dependent upon conducive weather conditions, Cecil estimated work will be largely completed in another four to six weeks.

“They are working on the wiring today,” he said March 8, “so I think they’re getting pretty close to the end of the project.”

After this work is done, he said Starbucks has three months to come in and finish the interior.

“I think the final Starbucks over here is going to be, really, their latest version, and I think it’s going to be quite a bit nicer than the typical Starbucks,” he said, adding that it is going to have an overhang, along with tables, chairs and lights outside, not in an enclosed space but rather one that will allow for outdoor dining when the weather is good.

He was clear that he does not have a date for when the location will be open and operating, but he said he would say early summer.

Cecil noted that Starbucks’ representatives have been great to work with, and he also praised the city of Franklin’s staff.

“The people in Franklin have wanted the store, and I think that they have treated us well,” he said.

He noted that he thinks the new Starbucks will be a good thing for Franklin.