Family Movie Night tomorrow!

It looks like the weather will cooperate this week, so join us tomorrow night at Beaver Pond in Franklin for the Family Movie Night!

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Co-sponsored by the Small Shop Co-Op and the Franklin Recreation Department, we have a great evening of family fun planned for you. Meet Buzz and Woody from Toy Story, play games, shop the small business marketplace, and enjoy a movie under the stars!

The marketplace will run from 6:30 PM to dusk, with Buzz and Woody making their appearances around 7:00. Bring your own chairs and blankets and meet us there!

Know Your Rights as a Tenant – Part 2

Yesterday I shared a great post from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ official blog on your rights as a tenant before you move into a rental property. But what about after you move in?

Not to worry! The Commonwealth blog has a follow-up post about your rights as a tenant after you’ve moved in. This is highly recommended reading for anyone living in rental housing, particularly all you college and university students about to go back to school. Lots of landlords are great people who really care about their tenants and the condition of their properties, but unfortunately, there are some not-so-good ones out there. If you know your rights, you’ll be better prepared to tackle any tough situations you might run into.

Know Your Rights as a Tenant – Part 1

Realtors love to help people buy and sell homes, but lots of us work with renters too! When you’re looking for a new place to rent, it’s a good idea to give yourself a quick refresher on your legal rights as a tenant. Fortunately, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts makes it easy for you by posting most of what you need to know online.

This recent post on the Commonwealth’s official blog is a great summary of your rights as a tenant before you move in, so check it out and keep it bookmarked for your next housing search. Stay tuned tomorrow for part 2, and keep your friendly local Realtor in mind when you’re looking for your next rental!

#ShopFranklin Spotlight – Enchanted Memories Travel

For this week’s #ShopFranklin Spotlight, I interviewed Vincent Dowling of Enchanted Memories Travel!

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Before founding Enchanted Memories, Vince was already a seasoned traveler. His job in sales had him managing a territory consisting of Massachusetts and Europe, “and Canada, they decided, was going to be part of Massachusetts!”, so Vince was no stranger to the road. Later, Vince and his brothers created a family business with offices in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Florida; since Vince was in Florida so often for business, Disney World was the natural choice for a family vacation. Multiple park visits per year turned into a membership to the Disney Vacation Club, which provided Vince and his family with a home base at the parks. Vince soon found that “all of a sudden I became a popular person… Everybody wanted to be my friend,” and his self-taught Disney expertise was in high demand. Vince was able to guide his friends and family through their Disney vacations with ease, and he and his wife Maria started to discuss the idea of opening a travel agency to help share their expertise with others.

In 2012, their dream became a reality, and they opened Enchanted Memories Travel. Vince and Maria “decided that we were going to focus on what we knew best,” so the original Enchanted Memories specialized in Disney and European vacations. Since Maria’s family is from Europe, “[Europe] was going to be her side of the house, and then my side of the house was going to be the fun side,” as Vince puts it. Their first year in business was a smashing success, with “several hundred families from Franklin” enjoying fabulous Disney vacations through Enchanted Memories. Then, Vince and Maria ran into something they hadn’t anticipated: their happy customers started to come back, asking for trips to other places, “because they’re not crazy people like me that go to Disney every year!” Vince hasn’t lost his reputation in Franklin as the “Disney Guy,” and he says “we’re never going to get rid of that and we’re actually very proud of it because it’s what started us… but we have evolved over the last couple of years to a full-fledged travel agency.”

The modern Enchanted Memories partners with outside travel agents, known as Memory Makers®, to help clients book trips to anywhere in the world they’d like to go. Since the Memory Makers® are paid directly by the vendors, their services are completely free to their clients. According to Vince, it’s important in the travel business to have agents who specialize in particular areas or types of travel, such as cruising or Caribbean experts, because “there’s no way you can know everything about every place in the world,” but full-service travel agents are important parts of the business too. Enchanted Memories currently works with about 25 Memory Makers® around the country right now, and they’re continuing to grow. Enchanted Memories offers a comprehensive training program to help future Memory Makers® learn the ins and outs of the travel business, so experience is helpful but isn’t required. “We’re looking for enthusiastic and passionate people that like to travel and help other people with their travel,” Vince says.

Another happy family at Disney! © Enchanted Memories Travel

Another happy family at Disney! © Enchanted Memories Travel

It’s easy to book a vacation through Enchanted Memories. Just call the office to schedule an appointment, request a quote on their website, or stop into their office. Unlike many larger agencies, Enchanted Memories prides itself on being available to customers outside traditional business hours, since many people aren’t available during the day to discuss travel plans. “When you have your own personal Memory Maker®, you can call that person any time you want,” says Vince. Once you’ve made contact with a Memory Maker®, you’ll be given quotes for several travel options that fit your needs. When you’re ready to book, the Enchanted Memories website has a secure, detailed form to fill out with all of the information your Memory Maker® will need to reserve your trip. Vince has found that it’s best to have clients fill this form out themselves, to ensure that all names and addresses are spelled correctly, but that form is just about the last thing you’ll have to do yourself to prepare for your trip; Enchanted Memories takes care of everything else for you. For example, for a Disney vacation, your Memory Maker® will get up early in the morning on the 180th day before your arrival to make all of your dining reservations and make sure you can get into the most popular, hard-to-get restaurants. “We work very hard at making sure that our guests get those reservations,” Vince says. “We don’t ask the guests to do it, we do it for them and we do it for free.”

Despite the easy accessibility of travel information on the Internet, Vince strongly believes that full-service travel agencies like Enchanted Memories still have an important role to play in the travel industry. When booking travel on your own, it can be difficult to sort through all of the options out there, and selecting an option based solely on the best price doesn’t always work out well. “Sometimes you’d get lucky, and sometimes it would be awful. I am just as guilty as everyone else,” says Vince, relating a time pre-Enchanted Memories when his hotel choice ended up not being to Maria’s liking. As Vince puts it, “there’s so much noise on the internet, in terms of so many options, so many things to see, so many things to do, you have no idea anymore.” Enchanted Memories’ goal is to cut through that “noise,” and truly tailor your vacation to your personal needs. Especially as travel prices have risen, Vince believes it’s crucial to work with an expert who can advise you on how to get the most for your money. “It’s a little bit of insurance on your investment for your vacation.” For Enchanted Memories, it’s all about that full customer service and personal touch; today’s travelers aren’t interested in spending a lot of money on a vacation and still having to take care of all the details, like dining reservations, on their own. “They’re not going to do that anymore, and as long as I’m around, they’re not going to do it in Franklin,” says Vince.

Enchanted Memories Travel is located in the Depot Plaza downtown, at 13 Main Street, Suite 2B (downstairs). Check out their website or like them on Facebook for more information!

Save the Date – Downtown Partnership Progressive Dinner, September 27

The Franklin Downtown Partnership never stops thinking of ways to promote our local businesses, and their latest venture is sure to be a big hit! On Sunday, September 27, join the Partnership for a progressive dinner downtown, and experience four different restaurants’ fabulous cuisine in a single evening.

In the Downtown Partnership’s words, “Your culinary exploration will begin with appetizers at one restaurant, soup at another, an entrée at a third, and then dessert. You can choose from two different flights, with each flight featuring four downtown restaurants. Flights will be staggered to begin every half hour starting at 5:30 p.m. The evening will end on a sweet note with dessert at The Black Box while you’re entertained by Franklin School for the Performing Arts students.”

Tickets are $50 apiece, which includes tips and taxes (but does not include drinks). Pick them up now through September 15 at Jane’s Frames, Emma’s Quilt Cupboard, or the Downtown Partnership office (9 E. Central St.). For more information, including participating restaurants, check out the Downtown Partnership’s press release for the event and follow their blog for updates!

Downtown Streetscape Update – August 18, 2015

From the office of Town Administrator Jeff Nutting, here’s the latest update on the downtown construction…

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“The scheduled work for the next two weeks will include completing the driveway work on Main Street as well as curbing and sidewalk completion at Pleasant Street and Beaver Street.
They will be raising the castings along Main Street, High Street and a portion of Emmons Street in anticipation of paving those streets during the last week of August. Only ¾ of Emmons Street will be paved at this point. The remainder will be completed when the Recreation Department moves into its new location and the gas service can be disconnected in the street. We anticipate that to be in Mid- September.
A short section of Summer Street will be paved as well.
Please note that Main Street from Emmons Street to School Street will be closed for 24 hours one day next week in order to install the raised sidewalk in front of Dean College. The specific day has not been determined but we will notify everyone as soon as we know.
Work will continue on finishing the sidewalks on Emmons Street and sidewalks along West Central Street. They will continue to put in the bases for the new street lights.
No permit has been issued for the work on the Bridge Deck so that work is still on hold.
If anyone has a question please feel free to reach out to the DPW Director, Brutus Cantoreggi or Town Engineer, Michael Maglio at 508-553-5500 or Jeffrey Nutting, Town Administrator at 508-520-4949.”
The Town of Franklin will be providing additional details at the Franklin Downtown Partnership’s next general meeting on September 3. Follow the FDP’s Blog for more info!