About

Downtown Franklin Association

America's Favorite Main Street District

About Us

The Downtown Franklin Association (DFA) is a membership-based division of the non-profit organization, the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN. DFA is dedicated to the historic preservation, revitalization and community vibrancy of historic downtown Franklin.

DFA serves its members by promoting the downtown historic district, protecting downtown’s historic character and charm and strengthening downtown Franklin’s economic viability by encouraging growth and diversity among businesses.

Our History

Since its founding in 1984, the Downtown Franklin Association (DFA) has spearheaded the revitalization of Franklin’s historic downtown core. Working in partnership with property owners, preservationists, city and county government, local businesses and merchants in our historic retail district and our parent organization, the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, the Downtown Franklin Association has helped create one of the nation’s Main Street success stories.

Downtown Franklin boasts an award-winning Main Street, a stunning collection of Victorian buildings and a host of accolades. It continues to earn 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.

Our Parent Organization

The DFA is a division of the nonprofit Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN.

Since 1967, the Heritage Foundation has been dedicated to preserving Williamson County’s architectural, geographic and cultural heritage as well as promoting the ongoing revitalization of downtown Franklin in the context of historic preservation. The Heritage Foundation also owns and operates The Franklin Theatre, Franklin Grove Estate & Gardens, and its newest entity: The History & Culture Center of Williamson County.

Our Accreditation

In 1995, the National Main Street Center awarded Downtown Franklin Association with the Great American Main Street Award. Since then, there have been just over 90 Main Street programs in America honored with this award due to their successes that serve as a model for comprehensive, preservation-based commercial district revitalization.

The Downtown Franklin Association is also an accredited Main Street Program. The Main Street Approach™ offers community-based revitalization initiatives with a practical, adaptable framework for downtown transformation that is easily tailored to local conditions.

The Main Street Approach is centered on Transformation Strategies. A Transformation Strategy articulates a focused, deliberate path to revitalizing or strengthening a downtown or commercial district’s economy. A program’s work on Transformation Strategies should be organized around the Four Points: Economic Vitality, Design, Promotion and Organization.
Downtown Franklin boasts an award-winning Main Street, a stunning collection of Victorian buildings and a host of accolades. It continues to earn 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.

Our Accolades

In May of 1995, Franklin was honored as one of the best downtown areas in the nation when it received one of five “Great American Main Street” awards in the first year of an annual competition held by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Since then, accolades have included the “Best Small Town in Tennessee,” “America’s Most Romantic Main Street” and “One of America’s Greatest Antique Destinations,” among others. In May 2012, Franklin was ranked #4 on Livability.com‘s Best Places to Visit for Historic Preservation. In 2014, Travel + Leisure Magazine named Franklin one of “America’s Favorite Towns.” Garden & Gun magazine named Franklin the “Best Southern Town” following a online readers’ poll.

It Takes a Village… or a small town.

The efforts of the Downtown Franklin Association are coordinated by a full-time executive director and an advisory board of local business owners.

Staff

Heidi Hood

Managing Director, Downtown Franklin Association, Heritage Foundation of Williamson County

Meg Hershey

Chief Operating Officer, Heritage Foundation of Williamson County

Bari Beasley

Chief Executive Officer, Heritage Foundation of Williamson County

Grant Martin

Chief Advancement Officer, Heritage Foundation of Williamson County

Wendy Dunavant

Chief Financial Officer, Heritage Foundation of Williamson County

Advisory Board

John Bond

Advisory Board Chair, Co-Owner of Twine Graphics

Lauren Ward

Vice President of Marketing & Communications, Williamson County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Bryan Doleshel

Chief Community Development Officer of Williamson, Inc.

Brian Moyer

Founder, Moyer & Co.

Ryan McKinney

Managing Partner, McKinney Green Insurance Co.

Kimberly Elder

Director of Sales, The Harpeth Hotel

Ben Wheeler

Private Banker, First Horizon

Ashley Clark

Owner, Kilwins Franklin

Jody Todd

Marketing/Communication Director, Franklin First United Methodist Church

Kim Leisinger

Director of Administration, St. Philip Catholic Church

Joe Bamford

Owner, Franklin on Foot