Growing up just north of Nashville, Marianne DeMeyers can’t ever recall having a lock on the front door of her home. From nearby neighbors to family friends, her mother welcomed all of them across the threshold with open arms and food for the soul, and for DeMeyers, the Tin Cottage is no different.
From eclectic serving pieces, local art and beautiful home decor with simple color palettes to handmade jewelry, the locally loved shop in the Second South District exudes a warmth that is felt by regulars and visitors alike.
“I once had a customer say that when you step through our door, you almost feel like you could be in your own living room, surrounded by loved ones. It’s a happy place.” DeMeyers said. “It’s so much more than just a retail store or creating a business that’s supposed to impress tourists. It’s about building a place that welcomes the community.”
For DeMeyers, it’s the people who make all the difference. After years of traveling around the country and calling a number of places home–from Michigan to South Florida–Franklin’s civic pride and the genuine friendships it fosters are what finally brought her full-circle, back to Middle Tennessee.
Now, the small business owner channels her love for her quaint hometown by serving as president of the Downtown Franklin Association, the non-profit organization that has helped spearhead the revitalization of the downtown district DeMeyers has grown to treasure.
“People always say ‘there’s no place like home,’ but it’s amazing how true that rings for me when I think about Franklin,” she said. “My husband and I can’t imagine living anywhere else now.”
In some ways, the Tin Cottage is a reflection of what seems to be a trend in DeMeyers’ life– reaching back to her small town roots.
In 2012, she opened Honey’s Vintage Sweets, offering hand-spun milkshakes, vintage candy brands, fresh-squeezed lemonade, artisan baked goods, quirky gifts–and for many, nostalgic memories. But after two years of selling Goo Goo Clusters and Grape NeHi to throngs of kids and kids-at-heart, she announced that the racks of candy would be cleared so that she could reopen another door: a Franklin retail brand she created nearly two decades before, the Tin Cottage.
DeMeyers owned the popular Tin Cottage in the same location from 1998-2007, where she sold an assortment of gift items. It wasn’t until after opening Honey’s that she found herself being constantly caught in conversations that turned to fond memories of her first business, which she decided to rebirth after popular demand.
“I must have had hundreds of conversations with former customers who recognized us as being in the same location,” DeMeyers said. “After a lot of soul-searching, I realized that my heart was still with my original business, the Tin Cottage.”
Since reopening in 2014, the shop’s focus has continued to expand, from offering more locally made goods to adding a renewed interest in bringing the community together through in-store social events with fun and engaging themes.
“The Tin Cottage has always been about relationships for me and these get-togethers, which are centered on the art of hospitality, have been the perfect way to marry the two,” she said. “We’ve had everything from a holiday pie party to cocktail classes featuring seasonal flavors, and everything in between. Hand-crafted entertaining is something I love, and it just comes naturally to me as a Southerner. Being able to provide a local shop — to share that with people who also enjoy it — is rewarding.”
Looking back, DeMeyers says she had to leave home, moving from Michigan to Miami to experience different places in order to fully appreciate her roots.
“We get to enjoy the beauty of all four seasons in the South, which I really think makes us grasp onto life and find joy in the small things,” she said. “There is always a season or a reason to have people over to share food and conversation.”
From growing up in the country and bringing natural elements inside to enjoying food grown on the farm, the Tin Cottage is a direct reflection of DeMeyers’s Southern upbringing.
“The greatest compliment you can give is to welcome people into your home like they’re family. It makes the food taste better.”
The Tin Cottage is located at 123 South Margin Street, and is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, go to www.tincottage.com.