Since its founding in 1984, the Downtown Franklin Association has spearheaded the revitalization of our historic core in Franklin, Tennessee.
Since its founding in 1984, the Downtown Franklin Association has spearheaded the revitalization of Franklin’s historic downtown core. We’ve done it by following the Main Street Four Point Approach® of the National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation: Organization, Design, Promotion and Economic Vitality (formally Economic Restructuring).
Today, Historic Downtown Franklin is an oasis of Southern hospitality housed in a 16-block National Register district of antique shops, gift and bookstores, restaurants, art galleries, boutiques, lovingly restored homes and more.
Working in partnership with property owners, preservationists, city and county government, local businesses and merchants in our historic retail district, the Downtown Franklin Association has helped create one of the nation’s Main Street success stories. We’ve earned national recognition as an authentic, eclectic place that offers something for everyone in an atmosphere that reminds locals and visitors alike of a simpler time in our history—a place where community matters.
DFA memberships are $250 per year and are available to businesses located inside the Mack Hatcher Bypass and Leiper’s Fork. If you have any questions, please call our office (615) 591-8500, email us here or see below for a list of Membership Benefits.
Main Street Program Director
615-591-8500 ext. 118
DFA Membership Benefits
As a DFA member, you receive the following benefits:
- Monthly member meeting
Participate in monthly business meetings with all members, local officials and guests to discuss DFA news, city news and hear from local groups. Learn about how your staff is working with other city and state entities and organizations to best leverage Historic Downtown Franklin.
- Monthly e-newsletter
Receive updates on other members and Franklin news and have the opportunity to promote your own business through the DFA e-newsletter, which goes out at the beginning of each month to more than 10,000 recipients who have opted in to receive it. We only include DFA member-related news.
- DFA-sponsored and Heritage Foundation events
You will receive an invitation to all DFA and Heritage Foundation events, including the largest black-tie event in Williamson County, the annual Heritage Ball.
- Annual Meeting & DFA Social
You will have the opportunity to attend the DFA Annual Meeting to discuss the upcoming year’s initiatives. There is also a DFA Social Event each year to celebrate the DFA community.
- Beneficial partnerships
As a DFA member, you are part of an organization that establishes consensus and cooperation by building partnerships among various groups with a stake in the commercial district.
- Dedicated staff and support members
The Downtown Franklin Association falls under the umbrella of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County; therefore, the Foundation provides a staff to help support the DFA and its members. In addition to a dedicated Main Street Program Director, there are festival and volunteer managers, a preservation advocate, an historian and an accountant. In 2011, the Downtown Franklin Association engaged a local public relations firm to help strategize on how to continue the momentum in our historic downtown retail district. The firm is heavily involved in executing many of the promotion benefits found in this document.
- Influential voice in Main Street’s future
The DFA employs a dedicated staff person and committee members who have, over the years, helped create the physical look and feel of Main Street. Today the Main Street Program director works with the organization’s executive board, Design Chair, and DFA members to maintain the tangible beauty of Historic Downtown Franklin, maintaining a safe and inviting environment for shoppers, local employees and visitors. The organization also continues to help shape Main Street’s physical future. In 2015, the DFA Design Committee worked with the City of Franklin and area businesses that sponsored the holiday lighting of seven trees in the Public Square as part of the Merriest Main Street Holiday Reveal.
- Main Street Brewfest
Franklin’s Main Street Brewfest is produced by the DFA, and proceeds from the event go to the promotion of Historic Downtown Franklin. The Brew Fest is an opportunity for beer lovers to taste some of the latest local, national and international additions to an exploding microbrewery market while exploring businesses in our retail district.
- Heritage Foundation festival participation
The Heritage Foundation, in conjunction with the DFA, produces three major street festivals each year that draw hundreds of thousands to Main Street. As a member of the organization, businesses that are affected by street closures have an opportunity to take advantage of reduced booth space rent during Main Street Festival, Pumpkinfest and Dickens of a Christmas.
- Visibility on Heritage Foundation and DFA websites
Your business will be listed on, and your website linked within, the Downtown Franklin Association site. Each member has its own profile, with a unique URL. The Heritage Foundation also features a link out to the DFA “Shop-Eat-Play-Work” guide. The Downtown Franklin Association site enjoys more than 20,000 visits each month.
MEMBERS: to view profile guidelines, please go here.
- Listings in Franklin promotional and advertising material
Your business will be listed in various collateral material pieces across a variety of promotional avenues. The DFA develops targeted advertising, both locally and regionally, to drive business to the Downtown Franklin Business District. Advertising is focused on all aspects of business including Eat + Drink, Shop, Entertainment, and Services, as seen in the Guide on the DowntownFranklinTN.com website.Local network affiliates broadcast from Historic Downtown Franklin and our area has been listed in many magazines, blogs and online media.Your business name will also have the opportunity to be listed on all downtown Franklin signage. Please note, there is a fee for the way finding signage to add your business the first time. In 2015, the DFA partnered with the WCCVB to add our members to a promotional piece and created a new Historic Franklin rack card for Welcome Centers. On November 23, 2015, the 2nd Annual Merriest Main Street Holiday Reveal was at the Franklin Theatre with guests spilling out on the streets to see our storefronts revealed. Hop & Shop is in its 2nd year where guests park free at The Factory at Franklin and ride the trolley for free in Historic Downtown Franklin on selected Saturdays. DFA continues to participate in Shop Small Saturday and added a radio broadcast on Black Friday in 2015.
- Social media promotion
Relevant news and events pertaining to your business will be promoted on the DFA social media channels Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Among the channels, the DFA boasts more than 54,000 fans or followers—a number which grows daily. In 2015, the Promotions Committee created #ForeverFranklin as a social media campaign giving away a fabulous gift basket on a monthly basis to a lucky winner. The gift basket is full of DFA member donations.
- Business spotlights and “Faces of Franklin” series
As a member, your business can request speaking time in front of the DFA body at the monthly meeting. Your business will also have the opportunity to be featured in our “Faces of Franklin” series. Each story is published on the DFA website, promoted through DFA social media channels and newsletter, and runs in the Williamson Herald in print and online. All you have to do is ask to be featured! These “Faces of Franklin” profiles are key drivers of traffic to the DFA site.
- Window decal
You will receive a decal announcing your membership status to place on your storefront window.
- Franklin Art Scene participation
You will have the opportunity to host an artist and take advantage of the media exposure during the Franklin Art Scene, a monthly event that draws thousands to our historic core every first-Friday—allowing them to explore and discover new “go-to” spots each month. (Note: there is an additional fee to participate as a host site to cover extra costs).
- Finger on the pulse
As a DFA member, you are part of a program that will continue to build a thriving commercial district that responds to the needs of today’s consumers. In 2015, the Economic Vitality Chair has created a committee that is serving as advocates for topics such as trails, transportation, various membership opportunities, etc. These committee members are attending city, county and other public meetings on an ongoing basis.Creating and maintaining a successful downtown business district is the focus of our Economic Vitality cornerstone and a healthy district results in a lower tax base, higher property values, lower unemployment and more funds circulating within our community benefitting both residents and our business community.
Interested in becoming a member? Email us here.