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Faces of Franklin: Jerry and Robbie Hembree of Inspirations on Main



 
Inspirations on Main is a boutique that houses just what its name conveys.
Flashes of creativity are splashed throughout the gift store—from the dainty, handmade jewelry items to the handmade leather goods and one-of-a-kind furniture pieces tucked in the corner. 
 
For Owners Jerry and Robbie Hembree, the eclectic gift shop is the fruition of 30-plus years of cultivation and hard work.
 
The Hembrees swung open their doors to the public in November, enticing customers in the midst of the holiday season bustle with their wide-ranging selection of merchandise. 
 
The pair say that their food gift items, such as Jack Daniels’ whiskey praline pecans and ready-to-make cake mixes, have been huge hits—as have the distressed hand-painted furniture, antique-inspired home décor items and the growing collection of local art pieces mounted throughout this cozy store.
 
“This is truly a one-stop-shop, and one that we’re proud of. You can find a gift for anyone on your Christmas list,” Robbie said. “We even have gifts  for the family pet!”
 
To reference he points to a corner filled with gourmet dog treats that the store mascot, a white-haired golden doodle named Bella, is perched beside.   
 
There really isn’t an age—or even gender, it seems—that the shop excludes. Each store vignette looks like its own booth: there’s a high-end olive oil selection, luxurious bath and body products, a space filled with novelty jewelry lines such as Uno de 50 from Spain, and a corner with an over-stuffed leather chair and pillows to match.
 
Jerry says that they take pride in the fact that if you’ve seen it somewhere else then you probably won’t see it at Inspirations on Main. 
 
“We want to be completely different from any store people have walked into before,” he said. “We are intent on discovering items that are new and different.” 
 
And in early 2014, the store will provide another niche: they will begin utilizing the kitchen built in the back of the shop. The couple has hired a coordinator to organize bi-weekly gourmet cooking classes for the public, which will also include tasting and pairing classes. Robbie says they’ll design the cooking classes to be small and intimate.
 
The space is also used for private events and cooking parties, which some customers have already taken advantage of.
 
The native Texans previously owned a furniture company for about three decades. They relocated to Tennessee last year when Robbie moved with a healthcare corporation to head up a hospital’s finance division. 
It was through a connection at the hospital that they heard of the space opening on Main Street—a roundabout conversation that spurred them to pursue a lifelong ambition.
 
“We had always wanted to own a unique boutique in a historic downtown district, and everywhere we travel we were always looking for quaint towns where we could make that a reality,” Jerry said. 
 
“We never felt like we found the ideal spot, until we saw downtown Franklin. We just kept finding ourselves here, and we knew that this was our spot. This was the place where we wanted to own a store.”
 
Robbie says that the experience, so far, has been a feel-good one.
 
“The one thing that has impressed me is how supportive the local businesses and residents are,” Robbie said. “Everyone is working together for the good of the downtown area collectively. 
 
“That type of hospitality is hard to come by, and we feel very fortunate to be a part of this community.”
 
Inspirations on Main is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 12 to 4 p.m. Those interested in signing up for an upcoming event can visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/inspirationsonmain or stop by the store to learn more information.
 
“Faces of Franklin” is part of a series on merchants and small business owners in downtown Franklin, Tenn. To read more, go to www.downtownfranklintn.com.
 

Posted on: 12/16/2013

 
 

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