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Faces of Franklin: Owner makes herself at home at J.J. Ashley's

 

Lisa Biggers  of J.J. Ashley’s

 

 
A transplant from Bowling Green, Ky., Lisa Biggers never would have imagined herself opening a furniture store in Franklin, Tenn., 30 years ago. Life has a funny way of making its own plans though.
 
Biggers graduated from Western Kentucky University with a degree in computer science, following it up with an interior design degree before going to work with Barbara Stewart Interiors just outside of Bowling Green. Ten years later, Biggers started her own company.
 
Not long after opening the doors to Lisa Biggers Interiors, Lisa and her husband at the time were unexpectedly relocated to Franklin for his job.
 
“I followed him kicking and screaming,” she said.
 
Shortly after the move, Biggers was driving down South Margin Street, getting to know her new town, when she noticed people cleaning out and power washing an old barn. Curiosity drove her to pull over and ask what they were doing with the building. It turns out the previous owners had moved out, and no one was planning on moving in.
 
Biggers immediately called her husband.
 
“I think I want to open a business in this old building,” she told him.
Since then, the old barn, built around 1900 and still housing the original grain elevator and scale for feed, has been transformed into a home designer’s haven. 
 
Antique chandeliers hang from the tall, vaulted ceiling over the expansive space. 
 
In one corner, a rustic dining room table is adorned with white and silver place settings and wooden candelabras; in another, a towering antique portrait is mounted over a white studded sofa. Shelves hold candles, frames, plates, lamps and small paintings.
 
Biggers sells pieces of furniture from all over the world that she finds at flea markets, and some that she imports. But she says 80 percent of the items in her store are one she and her employees have designed themselves from old timbers.
 
The team at J.J. Ashley’s also offers a full scope of design services, from in-store consultations to at-home appointments, and they’ve decorated everything from beach homes to yachts. Walk-ins are welcome, too—Biggers touts the fact that someone’s always available to help.
 
“We’re also famous for our ‘while-you-were-out’ designs,” she explained. “Customers come in and give direction—a picture or an inspiration piece—and then they leave their house and we come in and decorate it.”
 
The store very customer focused and customer driven, which is why 21 years later, the J.J. Ashley’s is still growing and thriving. Now, Biggers laughs about her initial hesitations about coming to Franklin, and says her worries were gone as soon as she moved. 
 
“It felt like home. It always felt like home; and maybe it feels like that for everybody.”
 
J.J. Ashley’s is located at 125 S Margin Street next to Honey’s Vintage Sweets. The store is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. 
 
“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: 2/27/2014

 
 

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