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Franklin-Simpson



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By Magen Estep

As normal life is changing in the world around us, small towns and communities like Franklin have been hit hard by the Pandemic. In a small town, more businesses are small and locally owned and families depend on their success to support their loved ones. Across Franklin, the pandemic has affected those small businesses while it has also hurt restaurants, locally owned and chains. Taking a look at Franklin today compared to a year ago, some businesses and restaurants have closed. Those that were able to reopen their doors after the shutdown are working their hardest to stay a float and are thankful for those who continue to support them not only during this time, but always. 

Along with the effect on businesses, the community of Franklin has been creative on fi nding ways to safely celebrate events that have happened for years and years before and some that were just beginning. For 38 years, people have come from all over for the formal Garden Spot Trot, now known as the Garden Spot 5k Run/Walk. This Run/Walk is coordinated by the Franklin-Simpson Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Med Center Health. 

In 2019, more than 750 ran the streets of Downtown Franklin while residents along the route sit at the end of driveways, spraying water hoses for participants to run through to cool off (it is usually in August after all) and local cheerleaders line the course encouraging and guiding participants. Minutes later, spectators gather to watch as runners begin to cross the finish line right in front of the old Simpson County Courthouse. Those in the crowd cheer on strangers and friends alike. A local principal beams as students, teachers, and former students of his finish the race.

Volunteers pass watermelon slices and waters to thirsty participants. The atmosphere is electric and one can’t help but feel like part of the community. Events that mean so much to a small town, going virtual this year, makes it hard to keep the spirit alive.

If you ask any one in town, or across the state or country, they are all ready to find a time when we can all safely gather together again. The Garden Spot 5k is just one of many community events hosted by the FranklinSimpson Chamber of Commerce and attended by those who share such a passionate love for their town. Over the Summer, locals are used to enjoying the Renaissance Summer Concert Series each Friday night and Family Movie Night each Saturday night on the courthouse lawn. They also enjoy attending the annual Festival on the Square in September each year. The Festival includes sidewalk sales, concerts, an Arts and Crafts Fair and the Annual Franklin Car Show hosted by the Southern Kentucky Street Rods. 

Business owners, Chamber partners and those who share this passion, hope that people see the importance of this event that may seem so small, but make such an impact and choose to come #ShopLocal or attend one of their events when it is safe to do so. 

Franklin-Simpson has been excited to celebrate the opening of Kentucky Downs; new 30,0000 square foot historical horse racing (HHR) Gaming Hall this Fall. The Hall elevates entertainment and gaming in the region with more than 600 all-new historical horse racing terminals, a new impressive multi-media Center Bar with an adjacent entertainment stage and a new high-limit gaming area. Guests can also join the brand-new Mint Rewards loyalty program that will offer players more benefits, bonuses and recognition, including complimentary food and beverage and tickets to partner events.

Jamie Tuck, who owns Willow Hill Marketplace, says that the town of Franklin feels like family. “I love Franklin and the small town and the support we have between local businesses.” Willow Hill Marketplace opened in 2018, but Jamie purchased it in 2019 after having already started her business as Kenzie Parker Boutique. Blending these two businesses into the historic 3,000 square foot space on the Downtown Square has been a dream come true for Jamie. 

The past few years have seen the continued revitalization of Franklin’s downtown with shops like Cozy Corner, Mill House Coffee, Kelly Korn and Willow Hill opening. This effort is largely spearheaded by the Franklin-Simpson Renaissance Inc., a non-profit focused on stimulating downtown economic development, building leadership in the business community, and promoting the downtown area in Franklin. Franklin-Simpson Renaissance also offers grant money to building owners who want to improve the façade of their buildings downtown. 

Visitors to Franklin will not only notice more shopping options, but they will find more dining options as well. After a day of shopping at the many boutiques, shops and antique stores, visitors can cool off with a tasty treat from the Kelly Korn and Kandy Shop. Shoppers can also grab a bite to eat at The Brickyard or get a cup of coffee at Mill House Coffee. As well as the constant growth of Downtown Franklin, the Industry in the area continues to grow and jobs continue to come to the area, attracting more people to relocate. Simpson County schools are top in the state and the FSHS Football team are reigning state champs.

Local business favorites like Hunt Ford, which recently opened a second location right off of I 65, continue growing. As each of these locally owned businesses continue to thrive, they open the doors for more careers and the opportunity to give back. Hunt Ford partners with the school system, local youth sports and the Boys and Girls Club as their way to giving back each and every year. Franklin is expanding, but the feeling of small-town community and togetherness is not going anywhere. Since 1995, Franklin has been the home of the luxurious 18-home, par 72, Kenny Perry Country Creek. Scenically located over Drakes Creek, this beautiful course offers a practice range, pro shop, clubhouse and a gallery of memorabilia where you can purchase gear autographed by Kenny.

Places to Eat
• Best Donuts
• Brickyard Café Franklin
• Cracker Barrel
• Colorado Grill
• El Mazatlan
• El Portrero
• Franklin Steakhouse
• Frosty Freeze
• Holly J’s Grill
• Hot Plate
• Lucky 7 Diner
• Rylan’s Restaurant
• Sol Azteca
• Tanglewood Farms Market and Deli
• The Hot Plate
• Wildfire BBQ and Grill
• Zaxby’s

Places to Shop
• Cozy Corner
• Gallery on the Square
• Franklin Sporting Goods
• Goldsmith Shop
• Kenzie Parker Boutique
• Mustard Seed Market
• Painted Pearl
• Rebel Heart Co.
• Simply Sweet Boutique
• Simpson Co Farmers Market
•The Wood Shack
• Wildflower Boutique
• Willow Hill Marketplace

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