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Franklin - Local Town Pages

Getting Creative to Keep It Local During Covid Franklin Downtown Partnership Adapts to Changing Times to Support Franklin Businesses

Oct 29, 2020 10:14AM ● By J.D. O’Gara

This year more than ever, as the holidays approach, our local businesses need the patronage of Franklin residents, and the Franklin Downtown Partnership and the town of Franklin are working hard to support them.
“It’s been a whirlwind the last seven months,” says Lisa Piana, of the Franklin Downtown Partnership. “I think the businesses are extremely creative, and Franklin is an extremely supportive community. They have reached out to the local businesses and are really supporting them, from what I’m hearing and what I’m seeing.
In October, the town of Franklin’s Economic Development Committee initiated Business Listening Sessions, to gather input on the needs of local businesses in various districts in Franklin.
Piana explains that in the early days of the pandemic, during Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the shutdown, the Downtown Partnership was making sure to update business operating styles and hours on its website,, which the Partnership temporarily opened up to non-members. The communications aspect kept the partnership busy over the summer, with the necessity of constant updates on guidelines.
“We also listed businesses that have gift certificates, and we’re promoting that,” says Piana. Local businesses offering gift certificates will be listed in an easy-to-find format, so shoppers can quickly find the category they want for holiday gifts.
“We’re all in this together,” says Piana, “At the Partnership, our mission has always been economic development and to help the small business. More than ever before, we’re launching a Keep It Local campaign supporting small businesses. The Keep It Local campaign will provide local businesses with signs for their windows, as a visible reminder for residents to support their Franklin businesses, and it will be coupled with a strong social media campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
“We’re offering an option for businesses to send a 30-second video commercial they can take on their iPhone and send it to us, and we get it out on social media,” says Piana. Local businesses can promote any specials they might be having, she explains.
“We want people shopping,” says Piana. “We’re going to be working with local businesses to encourage them to decorate their windows for the holidays, and we’re going to be advertising their holiday specials.”
The Franklin Downtown Partnership generally holds holiday happenings downtown, but this year things will look different.
“We can’t have thousands of people come downtown at one time,” says Piana, “but we can encourage them to go throughout the week, throughout the month and get people to look at (decorated) windows.” This “winter lighting spectacular will begin in November and run through February, says Piana. “We’re hoping, if we can get everyone on board, that it’s going to happen the weekend before Thanksgiving.” The Partnership, she says, is also talking with the town of Franklin on getting the historical museum decorated with lights, “and of course, the town common is lit up,” she says. “It’s something we’re working on.”

The Franklin Downtown Partnership is also looking ahead to the colder winter months of January and February, when consumers are less likely to get out. “Takeout Tuesday” will be a fun campaign to help drive traffic to restaurants and the businesses that surround them.
The Partnership, which has about 300 members now, is still meeting, virtually, every other month. Its next general meeting will be November 5th.
“Interestingly enough, we’re still growing,” says Piana. “We still have new businesses that are still opening, and it’s very exciting. We’re really trying to promote hope and joy, and we want to do things that will keep the positive and shopping in Franklin. Part of the Partnership’s goal is to just keep people talking about all the good in Franklin and support the businesses. When you’re thinking of going somewhere else – don’t! Think of keeping in in Franklin and keeping it local.”