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Ms. Elaine Kneeous

Jennifer is a one in a million stay-at-home mom. (More like one OF a million stay at home moms!) She graduated from a liberal arts college but there is nothing liberal OR artsy about her. She is married to Kevin Fischer of This Just In, and together they have a beautiful young daughter Kyla Audrey. In no particular order she loves dogs, wine, a good bargain, her family, pizza, and entertaining. Follow her blog of all things miscellaneous including but not limited to cooking and baking, entertaining and party planning, being a mommy, and homekeeping.

A tale of two cities

I feel fortunate to live in Franklin; I really do.  We have a safe community with a wonderful library, lovely parks, a new (though at times controversial) sports complex and a strong sense of civic pride that is evident every July 4th for the Independence Day Parade.  I’d like to support my fair city even more, but I can’t.

If I want to purchase anything other than the basics, it’s not possible to do so in Franklin.  If I want more than paper towels (Wal Mart,) a gallon of paint (Menard’s/Home Depot/Lowe’s,) a greeting card (Hallmark) or great produce (Sendik’s) then I’m forced to drive to neighboring communities.

“But you have a STARBUCKS!  You can’t complain about not having anything in Franklin!  Again, I say, you have a STARBUCKS!”

Um, yeah.  So does this place:

 

 


Ever heard of the City of Industry? 
No?  I can’t believe you’ve never heard of a city in California with a population of 222 people.  After all, they have THREE STARBUCKS.  So gee, they must be THRIVING.

Seriously.  When I want to pick up a cute dress for Kyla, I need Boston Store or Macy’s.  Heck, even KOHL’S in a pinch.  Where can I find them?  Greendale.  If I need a pretty picture frame, a stylish vase or trendy handbag where should I look?  How ‘bout TJ Maxx?  In Greenfield.  If I’m out and about and getting hungry for a bowl of soup, sandwich on artisan bread or gourmet salad I wonder where I should eat?  I’d like to stop at Panera but where can I find one?  Oak Creek, of course.  (More on that community in a bit.)  If I want to drive just a few more miles north beyond my “next door neighbors” I can find everything from high-quality cosmetics to designer shoes at Mayfair Mall.

Do I like having to shop outside of Franklin?  Of course not.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way either.  But what am I supposed to do?  We simply don’t have the retail options of other similar cities in the area.  And wouldn’t it be nice not only to satisfy Franklin residents’ shopping needs but to draw other communities to us?

If you think there’s going to be a stampede over one new store on 27th & Rawson, guess again.  Sure I’ll go there and so will many other women who enjoy crafting & home décor ideas.  But that’s not going to spur a great rush of shoppers to Franklin.  Trust me.

I was proud to vote for our new mayor, Steve Olson.  I think that he will be a great leader for our city for many reasons.  In a recent interview with Sean Ryan of the Business Journal, summarized by Kevin’s blog, Olson isn’t as infatuated with retail as I am:  Mayor Steve Olson also talked with the paper, saying his focus is on new business and industrial parks. He believes retail is a tough sell due to Southridge Mall being so close.

“I am absolutely not discouraging any retail, but I do think retail will come when retailers can justify it to themselves,” said Olson.”

I am sure that Mayor Olson has access to statistics and data that I don’t.  I believe he came to his conclusions with thoughtful analysis.  I simply don’t agree with him.

I feel that Franklin is starving for retail establishments and that given more flexible opportunities, store owners would love it here.  We’ve got the demographics to support business!  We’re similar to Oak Creek in so many ways except we make it next to impossible for entrepreneurs.  There are more hoops to jump through than at a Ringling Bros. extravaganza.  There’s more red tape here than at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

As far as the theory that Southridge’s competition is a major detractor…  I truly believe competition is a good thing in so many cases.  But beyond that if everyone thought “Oh gee there’s already A, B, and C in this area so I won’t try to open D” then where would we be?  There’d be no Collectivo Coffee if a Starbucks was within a five-mile radius.  Lowe’s wouldn’t open a stone’s throw from Menard’s which is another stone’s throw from Home Depot.  Sendik’s wouldn’t dream of setting up shop when just a short drive away Pick ‘N Save offers many of the same products.

I believe we should not only passively support new retail businesses but actively recruit them.  While I said I feel fortunate to live in Franklin, I’d feel equally fortunate to live in Oak Creek while enjoying many more shopping opportunities.  Oak Creek is experiencing an unbelievably amazing renaissance right now.  And there’s more in their future.

As a final comparison let’s take a quick peek at the city websites for each community, shall we?  Wanna know what’s happening in Franklin?  Apparently not much since January’s library staff development day.  Meanwhile, Oak Creek is literally creating dust for us to eat.
 

 

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