New Listing – 321 Riverview Ave., Athol

I have a brand new listing to share with you! Meet 321 Riverview Avenue in Athol, Massachusetts.

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This sweet ranch home has been well-loved by its current family, and it’s looking for a new owner to give it a few cosmetic updates and make it shine. Unusually for a ranch, it has an open, flowing kitchen/living/dining area, making it perfect for entertaining!

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Three bedrooms and two full baths, including a master bath with whirlpool tub, complete the living area of this home.

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That’s not all, though – a full basement, huge two-car attached garage, and shed will give you all the storage space you need (and even extra living space if you finish the basement). And true to the name of the street, you’ll have seasonal views of the Millers River from the deck!

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Athol’s a little out of the way, but it’s extremely affordable – this home is listed at $159,900. Come see it for yourself at the open house on Sunday, July 31 from noon to 2 PM!

Downtown Streetscape Update – July 26, 2016

Two-way traffic is here, but the job’s not over yet! From the office of Town Administrator Jeff Nutting, here’s the latest on the downtown construction… 


“Today the traffic has opened to two-way in Downtown Franklin. Thank you to everyone for their patience and working to provide a safe flow of traffic in downtown.

However, there is still work to be done. The project will continue through the next couple months with odds and ends to complete, including installation of benches, bike racks, trash barrels, decorations, banners, American flags, finishing the crosswalks, planters, trees and much more.

Please contact the Town Administrator’s Office at 520-4949 with any questions. We will continue to keep the public informed through our website, Twitter and Facebook.”

Still one way!

Don’t be fooled by the fancy new yellow lines. Downtown Franklin traffic is still one-way for now!


The big changeover won’t take place until 5 AM on Tuesday, July 26. I’m hearing lots of reports around town of drivers who have narrowly avoided accidents, so please be safe, use caution, and spread the word to your local friends who might not follow Franklin media. 

#ShopFranklin Spotlight – Simon’s Furniture

For this week’s #ShopFranklin Spotlight, I sat down with Jared Simon of Simon’s Furniture!

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© Focus Designs & Photos

 

Simon’s has been a Franklin institution for over a century now; Jared’s great-great-grandfather, Abraham, opened the store in 1911, and five generations of Simons have been supplying Franklin with furniture ever since. Although the store still uses the 54 East Central Street showroom it’s had since 1930, the Simon family has continually updated and expanded its space, and Simon’s now occupies about 35,000 square feet. Since Franklin’s current population is over 33,000, Jared says “we’ve kind of grown almost exactly in line with the town’s size.”

Simon’s has been careful to keep up with the times in more than just showroom space. “Each generation has to reinvent the company to make it successful for another generation,” Jared says. “Each generation tweaks the company a little bit to make it relevant for today, and I think that’s what’s kept us in business for so long.” Jared’s grandfather was responsible for joining the New England Appliance and Electronics Group, a Franklin-based buying group for retailers. That membership gives Simon’s access to $40 million worth of appliance stock right here in town, and enables them to deliver anywhere in Franklin within a day or two – perfect for those appliance emergencies. Jared’s father focused on automating and computerizing the company, expanding the showroom, and creating a state-of-the-art warehouse and distribution facility.

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© Focus Designs & Photos

Now, Jared’s own goal is to continue pushing Simon’s online, maintaining and improving the company’s websites. Among other innovations, Jared has created websites that allow customers to work out size, color, and design options for various furniture pieces online, and an algorithm that tracks other retailers’ appliance pricing and hourly adjusts Simon’s pricing to match. “We find that if the customer has a good experience online… they tend to shop around online to decide which stores they’re going to go visit, and then at the end of the day they visit the store they’re going to buy from,” says Jared. “Having a strong web presence with pricing and everything on there allows people to compare us against the big box stores and ultimately make the decision to come visit us.”

When it comes to furniture, Jared is proud to confirm that everything Simon’s sells is “quality, custom, or American-made.” He’s particularly excited about a new line of solid hardwood bedroom sets made in Virginia, because the manufacturer plants a new tree for every one that’s cut down to make their furniture, but Simon’s also offers several exclusive customizable lines that are hard to find in the area. “We’re in a unique position where we’re not big and we’re not really too small – we can do business with a lot of different manufacturers that would normally only sell to one or two stores in the area,” Jared says. Simon’s is also committed to educating and training its employees to provide the best possible customer service, particularly in the appliance division. “You’re not dealing with someone who just doesn’t know anything about the product, who just works in the store – you’re dealing with an expert who can really guide you to what you’re looking for,” says Jared. “We find that the consumer, when they have all the information, will purchase a product that they’ll like better and in the long term they’ll enjoy – and they’ll come back to us because they were able to find the service they wanted.”

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© Focus Designs & Photos

 

If you’re not quite sure what you want, you can work with one of Simon’s design consultants for free, and they’ll come to your home to measure, make suggestions, and figure out how to integrate your new furniture with your existing pieces. There’s even a professional seamstress on site to make custom window treatments to coordinate with your brand new design. Interestingly, Jared notes that customers’ tastes have proven to be a good barometer for the state of the economy; popular furniture styles and colors became significantly more conservative and neutral during the recent recession. “Colors almost disappeared from our floor, and when we went to furniture market, which we’d go to twice a year, colors disappeared there as well.” Once the economy began to recover, Jared saw more color and fabric options begin to come back to the market, and customers have returned to buying less conservative pieces. “They’re taking risks now with their styles, now that the economy’s on better footing.”

As befits a business that’s been in town for over a hundred years, Simon’s is well integrated into the Franklin community. Jared relates that they’ve been doing business with some of the same families for decades, and Simon’s annual warehouse sale ends up being like a reunion for their repeat customers. “We’re like the Cheers of furniture stores!” laughs Jared. Simon’s also sponsors several school sports teams and donates to local charities, and the family continually looks for other ways to help support other community activities like the Franklin Downtown Partnership’s annual Strawberry Stroll. “That’s probably the best part about being in business,” Jared says. “Being able to own your own business and also give back to the community.”

Simon’s Furniture is located at 8 Summer Street. For more information and the latest deals, like their Facebook page and check out their website – for more photos, visit Focus Designs and Photos#ShopFranklin Photo Spotlight on Simon’s!

Downtown Streetscape Update – July 5, 2016

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


“Paving Main Street between Bridge and Emmons Street will be Thursday during the day. One lane will remain open for traffic. 

They will continue to work on crosswalks over the next three weeks. They plan to paint the lines on the streets next week. 
The plan is still to transition to two way traffic on July 20th.

There are several areas that still need repairs and changes that they will continue to work on over the summer. 

Please contact the Town Administrator’s Office at 520-4949 with any questions. We will continue to keep the public informed through our website, Twitter and Facebook.”