We’ll get to the main point of this blog, but first, the backstory.
My wife, Jennifer also blogs. The following is from one of my blogs designating what I thought were the TOP TEN FRANKLIN STORIES OF 2017. This particular blog focused on retail:
Three years ago (2014) she (my wife) blogged on the old FranklinNOW.com site about retail in Franklin.
JENNIFER FISCHER, May, 2014
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?
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.
—Jennifer Fischer, May, 2014.
What my wife wrote three years ago is still 100% true TODAY.
Our mayor’s argument in 2014 is the same he trumpets today. From 2014:
He (Mayor Olson) believes retail is a tough sell due to Southridge Mall being so close.
Let’s go to the geography.
Using S. 76th street as our measuring stick, Franklin is 1.9 miles from the Southridge Mall.
Again, my wife, Jennifer was extolling the virtues of Fresh Thyme after her visit earlier this year at 84 South.
84 South is 1.3 miles from the Southridge Mall.
84 South is and will be a tremendous project for many to benefit, including consumers from Franklin who will travel the not so horrible commute to enjoy shopping opportunities totally unavailable in Franklin.
The main point here: Mayor Olson’s Southridge argument is so much, sorry Mayor, fake news.
My wife gets what the city of Franklin intelligentsia does not.
Near the end of 2016 Jennifer also took issue with the mayor. Brookfield was having all sort sorts of problems accommodating the opening of a Total Wine store. On social media Jennifer suggested if Brookfield didn’t want Total Wine they should consider coming to Franklin.
Mayor Olson responded.
“We already have one of those,” referring to Franklin’s Three Cellars. Very nice place, but nowhere near a Total Wine.
Mayor Olson is a sharp guy. That’s why we were stunned at his reply. Diplomatically speaking, we found it to be not very bright.
We were unaware Franklin had a quota on the number of great businesses. Apparently Oak Creek has no such limitations. Not one of the mayor’s best moments.
We already have one of those? Then came 2017.
—This Just In, December 28, 2017
OK. A lengthy backstory, but necessary.
A quick recap.
Mayor Olson says it’s tough to do retail in Franklin because Southridge is so close.
Piece of evidence, Exhibit A: 84 South
It was suggested Total Wine would be wonderful if located in Franklin. The mayor immediately tossed cold water. Because we already had one of those. Sure did. But not for long.
So using the mayor’s logic, a Total Wine, or any retail outlet for that matter that would open so very close to Southridge would have a difficult time succeeding.