Tin Cottage is Historic Downtown Franklin’s Happiest Gift Shop

Looking for the happiest gift shop in all of downtown Franklin? The charming Tin Cottage is so full of joy and happiness you will never want to leave its sweetness. 

Owners Greg & Marianne DeMeyers are the joyful couple behind Tin Cottage. Their love for the community of Franklin shows in every t-shirt Marianne designs, as well the love they show their customers and fellow downtown merchants. They have been some of Franklin’s biggest supporters for historic preservation. Marianne was on the board for the Downtown Franklin Association for twenty years, and even served as President. 

This is America’s Favorite Main Street

Located in an historic 1897 building at 334 Main Street, this picturesque gift boutique is perfectly located right next to the iconic Gray’s on Main in the heart of downtown. Over the years, this building has served as a mercantile, a furniture store, Draper & Darwin’s dry goods store, and later an antique mall. During the 1980s much of downtown fell on hard times. Malls were taking retail away and leaving only banks, lawyers, and bars to fill the space. 

Walter A. Roberts Store, a popular dry goods shop was once located where Tin Cottage now operates. Read the backstory of Walter A. Roberts and his legacy as “Developer of Main Street Franklin.”

Roberts Dry Goods | Walter Aiken Roberts | Lovely Franklin TN
Walter A. Roberts Dry Goods Store where Tin Cottage is today.

Preserving Historic Franklin One Building at a Time

But thanks to the efforts of the Heritage Foundation, downtown Franklin has one of the most vibrant main streets in America. It continues to win countless awards. Having incredible shops like Tin Cottage is why Franklin has been voted “America’s Favorite Main Street”

Greg and Marianne have a background in product development for large corporations and chose to move back to Tennessee to raise their family. Marianne explains, after our son Jack was born, we decided as a family, to do something that kept me close to home. In both of our previous positions, we were on airplanes every week and just didn’t want to be away from the boys that much. 

Franklin is the Perfect Town for Family Businesses

“My sister and I bought the property for our first Tin Cottage location on Margin Street, now part of JJ Ashley’s. This location was a great opportunity to stay home with our family. When the Main Street space became available, it was an exciting journey for us, and that’s when Greg joined the business. This is a true family business, and Franklin was and has always been, the ideal place for families and small business owners.”

Get Ready to Smile, Giggle, and Maybe Blush!

The first thing you notice when you walk by Tin Cottage are the cheerful window displays. They are especially joyful at Christmastime. The store itself is bright and instantly puts a smile on your face. If you happen to see Greg and Marianne, you will understand why, because their shop is a reflection of them. They are full of kindness and warm smiles. 

Their joy-filled store features Franklin-themed apparel, humorous gifts and stationery, and adorable home décor items. Grab a Franklin t-shirt or cap while you’re there. Several of the items have been designed by Marianne. In addition, she perfectly curates local products with popular merchandise. 

“Coming from the corporate branding and marketing background, survival requires giving the consumer what they need or want,” says Marianne. “So before any product was launched, extensive research was done before launch. We still use this theory.  The only difference is that I get to interact and talk with our guests on a daily basis. So now, research is so fun!  

Custom Franklin Apparel by Marianne

“We listen to what people want, and what they suggest, and put the happiest spin on it we can!  Creating our own designs and product comes with some risk, but it is such a fun and exciting process.  When our guests love something we created, it’s so rewarding.”

Shop Local for Every Occasion and Holiday

Their most popular gift-giving occasions are Christmas, Mother’s Day, Graduation, and of course, the summer tourism season for their business. The main constant in selecting merchandise for the store is that it has to be something cheerful! 

One of the best features of their store is all the way in the back. They have a photo op area with their famous “happy” sign. Make sure when you go that you tag them on Instagram @tincottage!    

This is Your Happy Place

We asked Marianne why she and Greg always seem so happy. Her response, “Living a grateful life. We wake up grateful everyday.” What they love most about being a vital part of the downtown Franklin community are the friendships. “Our fellow local business owners, and friends inspire us everyday.  Guests become friends who come in to purchase a gift because our little shop makes them happy. We are grateful that we have been a small part of our community’s lives for over 20 years. I can’t imagine a life where we wouldn’t’ have been able to celebrate, grieve, laugh or share with our community.”

Shopping Local Keeps 60% in Your Community vs. 1% With Amazon

One of our missions at Lovely Franklin is to encourage people to shop local. Marianne is equally passionate about this like all downtown merchants. “First, shopping, and dining, local means you are supporting your neighbors, and it definitely goes beyond that. Research shows that for every dollar spent in your locally owned business, 60¢ goes back into your local community. Compare that to 45¢ for chain stores in your community, and less that 1¢ from big online stores, such as Amazon. 

That means better community infrastructure for things like schools and fire departments, more local charities are supported, local jobs are created, and lower property taxes. Shopping and dining with locally owned businesses directly affect everyone in the community”

Unique Gifts You Will Find Nowhere Else

Tin Cottage has a second location in Columbia, Tennessee. “We have absolutely loved being a part of the downtown Columbia community. They share the same love of community and locally owned businesses as Franklin. We are looking forward to growing with Columbia as they are experiencing an extraordinary economic boom. The shopping, restaurant and pub scene is energetic. The downtown district has been lovingly restored and is beyond photo-worthy.

“In the meantime, we will be spending some time in 2021 on creating a more robust online shop. Remember when you shop online, try finding a locally owned business, even if it’s not in your area.  Supporting locally owned anywhere, can make a difference in their town.”

Take a Walk in Everybody’s Favorite Small Town

We asked Marianne what her absolute favorite thing to do in Franklin is and she said, “Walk. Take a walk in the loveliest town I know. It doesn’t cost anything to lift your spirits. Every park in Williamson County has walkways and pathways that will boost your mood and your heart rate.”

Like many of us, Marianne offers her concerns about Franklin’s growing population. “Fast growth always worries me a bit where infrastructure and green space are concerned. I absolutely believe in growth, but smart growth! I love how much land is land trusted in western Williamson County, specifically Leiper’s Fork. Our county is so beautiful.  I am happy that we will have protected land space.” The Land Trust of Tennessee is a non-profit conservation organization that works to protect Tennessee’s natural, scenic and historic landscapes and sites.

Welcome to Lovely Franklin!

“We love our community and our customers who have become dear friends. We feel genuinely blessed to do what we love,” says Marianne. 

When asked how she would describe Franklin in one word, Marianne says, “Enchanting!”

It is indeed! The next time you are in downtown Franklin, stop and see why Tin Cottage is one of our most beloved shops. Their motto is “Happy is a Gift,” and as we know, giving brings happiness. It’s a win-win for the whole world!

Greg and Marianne DeMeyers, another reason this is Lovely Franklin. 

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