Gaudette and her husband, Dan, previously owned The Shoppes on Main in downtown Franklin, but when their lease was up in 2018, they decided to take the opportunity to find a new location.
“I had always said that I wanted to get away from the hectic Main Street environment, even though we loved it—we loved the business, and we loved the guaranteed customers because there were tourists,” she said. “I always said I wanted a small-town store, a little neighborhood space where I could get to know the customers and not be slinging merchandise in a bag and out the door and saying, ‘Next.’”
AbbyLeigh Gifts, which opened in November 2019, is named for the Gaudettes’ two daughters, one of whom works in the store. Gaudette said shoppers familiar with The Shoppes on Main may also see some familiar faces, as some of the employees from the previous store now work at AbbyLeigh.
The shop carries a wide array of gifts and home decor, from seasonal items and dishware to greeting cards, puzzles, jewelry and specialty candles. The store also carries a number of specialty brands, such as Warmies slippers and plush animals and hydraAromatherapy bath bombs. Additional brands, including enewton and Thymes goods, are exclusive to the store, Gaudette said.
“We’re constantly changing and refreshing our merchandise, and we listen to our customers, and we see what’s trending in the industry,” she said.
As she is an avid fan of the holidays, Gaudette said the shop has already begun preparations for Christmas; however, shoppers can still find fall and Thanksgiving decor if they are not ready to begin decorating for the holidays just yet.
“Our goal has always been to enjoy the current season, so we’ll keep fall [items] out until Thanksgiving,” she said. “We don’t want to be like the big-box stores. We try to enjoy our seasons.”
Regardless of when they visit, Gaudette said she hopes shoppers who enter the store take their time to walk around and relax, particularly in a year that has been hard for many. She said the store has always taken coronavirus safety guidelines, such as wearing masks and face shields, seriously.
“We want this to be just a comfortable, safe environment for our customers,” she said. “We just want to have customers keep coming back, ... and when they come in, they just relax and browse and feel happy, calm and excited about something. With all the drama in the world right now, they don’t have to think about it.”
5015 Hughes Crossing, Franklin
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., closed Sun.
Editor's note: The print version of this story featured a map showing AbbyLeigh Gifts on the west side of I-65. It is on the east side near Lewisburg Pike.