The Heirloom Shop: Elaine Thompson

This story was written in December 2011.

The Heirloom Shop has been renamed. Well, unofficially that is. Owner Elaine Thompson says that people who walk through her doors have begun calling the shop “The Happy Store.”

“People say we’re one of the friendliest stores they’ve ever been in,” Elaine says. “This is a fun place to shop. It makes people feel good and is in keeping with the Southern, friendly atmosphere of historic Franklin.”With a store that smells like the holidays and is surrounded by glitter all the time, it’s not hard to see why The Heirloom Shop lifts customers’ spirits.

The business has always held Christmas goods and a special place in the heart of downtown Franklin, but it’s been just recently that the owners at The Heirloom Shop shifted the store to carry other gift items. And it seems The Heirloom Shop holds many nicknames: also often referred to as “The Christmas Store,” the new look it is anything but that!

Although guests will still find rows of those ornate Christopher Radko ornaments hanging, The Heirloom Shop has expanded to cover their customers’ gift needs with items for birthdays, weddings and anniversaries, too – offering affordable but chic lines and home décor items.
“We are a unique shop in a unique town,” Elaine says. “We look to buy things that will make people happy.”

And though The Heirloom Shop loves that December holiday, they play up year-round events. In March, the store explodes with green for St. Patrick’s Day festivities. And when the leaves start turning later in the year, The Heirloom Shop carries extensive decorations for any Halloween need.

“With our nation’s current state, we also really try to be patriotic with our items and displays,” Elaine says.

Just beside Walton’s Antique Jewelry, The Heirloom Shop is the oldest store on Main Street. The store has been in the 19th century building for more than 25 years, and its location has been a holding for a long line of Franklin businesses. Over the years, the space has housed a drug store, a funeral home, a grocery and a newspaper headquarters. The Heirloom Shop’s original owner, Rose Wright, settled in the White Building in 1989.

When Elaine moved to Williamson County nearly 10 years ago to be closer to her family, she had no idea she would become a first-time small business owner. But when Rose wanted to retire, she turned to her friend and employee to take the reins.

“When I first starting working, The Heirloom Shop grew on me and became a passion,” Elaine says. “Now I am owner of one of the neatest shops in historic downtown Franklin!”

When asked what her favorite thing about The Heirloom Shop is, Elaine’s friend and co-worker, Selma Ray, jumps in.

“Well I guess it’s workin’ with me,” Selma says. “I came along with the shop and she knew she was stuck with me! I’ve been here longer than anyone around.”

“Of course I need my girls,” Elaine says after the laughter quiets down. “I have a wonderful manager that takes care of everything for me. Nikki is priceless!

“I couldn’t do anything around here without her–you’ll frequently see her at The Heirloom Shop. She’s become like a daughter to me. Really, this shop is all about family. We just all work together as a family to make it work.”

Elaine says that like the other shops on Main Street, The Heirloom Shop goes the extra mile to provide guests with items they can’t get anywhere else on the other avenues. They offer exclusive merchandise, and new products every year.

“We’re a unique shop in a unique town,” Elaine says. “And we look for different.”

And like other small business owners on Main Street, she makes sure to send customers to neighboring shops she thinks they’ll enjoy. For Elaine, downtown Franklin is the best – the only – place to have The Heirloom Shop.

“If I were opening a shop in the market today I cannot think of another place that I would rather be,” Elaine says. “We attract people from all over the world! Franklin has so much to offer to everyone. Just one visit is all it takes to fall in love!”

Located at 404 Main Street, The Heirloom Shop is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday during the holiday season.  For more information, visit their Facebook page here.