Franklin Crafters Gallery to house quality craftsmanship downtown

Published 2:37 pm Monday, September 2, 2019

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Starting next week, people with skillful hands at creating works of practical and aesthetic beauty will find a new home to show and sell their wares in Downtown Franklin. This is due to the work of Keli Jo Judas and her husband, Steve.

The couple has been especially busy of late in fixing up the site for Franklin Crafters Gallery. The shop will have what Keli Jo called “a soft opening” on Tuesday, Sept. 3, starting at 10 a.m. The location is at 105 Third Ave. Hours of operation will be from 10 a.m to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday; and closed on Sunday and Monday.

This past June, Keli Jo and her husband were two of several people vying for a STARTUP grant offered by the Franklin Business Center and Downtown Franklin Association. The money could go toward practical matters such as building, purchasing inventory or paying rent, the latter of which was her aim had the Judases been awarded one of three checks.

She told the judges then her vision of making a place where artisans and craftsmen can produce and sell their handiwork. Examples of her own work, such as homemade afghans, inspired “Oohs and Ahhs” by  judges and competitors alike at that presentation. But rather than expecting each person to stay permanently week after week, there would be — and now will be — a regular turnaround. For example, visitors can meet a new group of craftsmen the week after next and so on; Sunday and Monday are used for the rotation.

Undaunted by not winning, the Judases took to heart the advice of continuing to work toward achieving their business goal.

“My husband and I fully funded the location,” she said. “I’m grateful for the classes — very grateful. It did help quite a bit. We have a really good market plan and business plan.”

To make this venture feasible, Keli Jo said, she brought costs down for the artists. “I really went down to the penny.”

She continued, “We really did our homework. I really wanted this to be in downtown Franklin. It fits well.”

Her chief motive for the business comes from the encouragement that a person once gave Keli Jo after seeing examples of her handiwork: “What you create is beautiful and what you do is worthy and should be shared with everyone.”

“I’m passing along what was said to me … I think this is going to be a good thing for downtown,” said Keli Jo.

For more information, call 672-6036; email or visit the Facebook page for Franklin Crafters Gallery.