Several months ago, Kim Leggett created a Facebook account. She had heard that the social networking site could potentially produce unequivocal dividends for her antique shop in downtown Franklin, and she was ready to give it a whirl.
Fast forward to July 2014, and the City Farmhouse owner has gathered more than 70,000 of her own fans in Mark Zuckerberg’s domain. A quick scroll down the page shows that Leggett has engaged Facebook users from New York to California, and just about every other state in between—and they all come to the virtual site looking for design inspiration from the self-professed fanatic “picker.”
“The secret is, we try to make people feel like they are actually part of the business. [Husband] David and I have conversations with one another on the business page, and people get involved in our life,” Leggett said. “Some say it’s like following a reality TV show, because it’s very personal.
“And I’m telling you, people come to Franklin from all over because they like us on Facebook. I feel like I’m always giving a history lesson about our town!”
Leggett recounts a story of a Floridian who popped in the shop: each year, she said, she and her husband take one big vacation. This time around, the lady requested that she be taken to downtown Franklin, Tenn.—so that she could step foot inside the store that she had so obsessively followed for so many months.
“We had no idea she was coming until she got here. She came back at the end of four days, and said she was glad she’d come because they were going to start spending all of their vacations in downtown Franklin,” Leggett said. “Not a day goes by when at least four or five people don’t come in here mentioning our Facebook.”
Though the Leggetts have been in the antique business for the past 20 years, they opened City Farmhouse in May 2011. Previously, the duo owned Clementines, a similar store in the ‘90s in the exact same building on Bridge Street. They moved to West Tennessee for a while to be closer to their grandchildren.
“We kept this building the whole time, because we knew we would always come back to Franklin,” Leggett said. “Sure enough, right when we got back here we opened, and it’s been phenomenal ever since.”
City Farmhouse is stocked with both Leggett-found antique pieces and items hand-selected from the couple’s own personal “pickers.”
The fruits of their labor are impressive: two large, open areas stay chock full of vintage design—merchandise ranges from $20 to $3,000—with a very decided vibe. Leggett calls it “stylish eclectic for urban & country living.”
Currently, that space houses everything from a turn-of-the-19th-century pie-safe/cupboard (its windows boast hundreds of bubbles) and industrial, church light pendants to an early-1900s “peasant’s table.”
“We pick, and then we have those who have been picking for us for years and know our style. That way, we have a very diverse selection,” she said. “People come here for one-of-a-kind pieces and they find them.”
City Farmhouse’s foot traffic is heavy nearly every day, Leggett says, and they typically move about 80 percent of the inventory within its first two weeks.
“We only sell antiques… no reproductions,” she said. “Over the past 20 years, we have always stayed true to what this business should be about, and people appreciate that.
“That’s part of our success. Our customers come here because they want something that has lived a life. It’s the story that makes their home special.”
This fall, the Leggetts plan to host their first City Farmhouse Pop-up Show on the banks of the Harpeth at Idyll By The River Farm. The event, tentatively scheduled for Oct. 11 and 12, will include juried artisans and vendors, plus live music, hayrides, guest speakers, live demonstrations and more.
For more information about the event or City Farmhouse, visit them at 111 Bridge Street in downtown Franklin or go to their Facebook page here.