Barbara Harlin and Carla Myers knew they could work together 25 years ago. They were paired time and time again in their volunteer efforts, together chairing events for The Junior League of Nashville, Battle Ground Academy and the Carter House’s annual Candlelight Tour. The duo says that when The Registry finally opened in 2003 on Main Street in Downtown Franklin, it was a long time coming.
“We’d always gotten along so well. We talked about owning a store like this for two or three years,” Myers said. “Then one day Barbara said, ‘Ok, it’s now or never.’”
What Myers says started as a “dish store” evolved into a high-end shop for fine tableware, gifts and bridal registry. Harlin says the concept was born after the women noticed that there was a niche for a quality wedding registry store in the area—one that Williamson County wasn’t filling.
“I knew that what my daughter would register for when she got married couldn’t be found in Franklin,” she says. “The choices were not there.”
Over the years, Harlin and Myers have cultivated The Registry into a one-stop shop for both brides and homemakers alike: from Juliska ceramics and Match pewter pitchers to Vietri pottery and Royal Crown Derby fine china, the owners say they have all types of women in mind.
“We don’t just do brides. We’re a gift registry store too,” Harlin says. “From the girl getting married to the wife redoing her kitchen, we’re here for anyone who loves entertaining.”
When The Registry moved in more than eight years ago, the women didn’t have all the luxury lines they have today. Many of the shop’s most popular lines—Simon Pierce, Mariposa, Herend—were selected as a customer base grew, a conscious decision by the owners.
“We’ve wanted to listen to the customer from the beginning,” Harlin says. “And we want to make sure everyone feels comfortable.
“You need to be happy with your choice,” Myers chimes in. “We don’t want you to have any regrets.”
The Registry exudes casual elegance throughout the store, blending home décor and gift-giving items. The shop has gathered such a following from outside Franklin that it’s opened an online registry, www.theregistryfranklin.com, in recent years. Still, The Registry acts as a destination stop for shoppers from miles—even states—around. For Myers, the shop’s draw is simple.
“It’s beautiful and women love beautiful things,” Myers says. “A lot of times, it becomes a meeting spot or a gathering of friends, because it’s eye candy.”
In May, The Registry will be moving a few doors down to 347 Main Street, a corner that sees the majority of Downtown Franklin foot traffic.
“We’ll be operating out of our current location until we get completely moved in there,” Harlin says. “There will be a lot of people that notice us for the first time on our new corner.”
Both ladies say they wanted to be in Downtown Franklin from the beginning for its character and the community—a draw that hasn’t changed.
“We’ve always wanted to be in the heart of Franklin,” Myers says. “We meet the nicest people in the world here.”
Harlin says there are two particular advantages to Main Street that have stood out to her over time.
“People move to Franklin from all over. The friends and family who visit those people really love coming down here. It’s happy,” she says. “I think the strength of Downtown Franklin comes from being good neighbors.”
For more information, visit The Registry at 335 Main Street.