There was a conversation on Facebook the other day about the loss of Ben Franklin stores. I chimed in that I knew of only one remaining near my home, and that it was located in Arcanum, Ohio. I'd happened upon it last year, after attending an antique and primitives show not far from there. During the show, I'd asked a vendor if there were any shops nearby that might be worth my time to visit. She directed me to the Ben Franklin in Arcanum and I could barely wait to get there.
The store did not disappoint. I walked through the door and was immediately taken back to my early years of marriage when I was just beginning to sew and make things to sell. At that time, the closest Ben Franklin was in the downtown area of Miamisburg, Ohio and just 20 minutes from my home. It retained the original wood floors and wood display bins and held the sweet aroma of times past. I was devastated when the store was destroyed by fire and relieved when it was rebuilt, but the wood floors and display bins were replaced with ultra-modern updated versions. They were nice, but didn't have that old-time feel that I'd loved. Still, the store was a great place to find patterns, craft books, yarn, notions, fabric, and many other things a crafter might desire - as well as the usual toys and household goods. I don't think I ever shopped in that store without seeing someone I knew, so it was a gathering place for crafters too. The store changed ownership a few times and eventually closed, much to my chagrin. The building now houses an Ace Hardware store, but I still miss the Ben Franklin.
After reading the thoughts of others regarding Ben Franklin stores, I decided to go to Arcanum today and visit the store I'd found last year. When I arrived, the owner greeted me and we exchanged pleasantries throughout the time I shopped. There were other customers in the store as well, and all were smiling and friendly. There's something about shopping in an old fashioned atmosphere that I find fun and relaxing. I browsed each aisle, wondering if I "needed" this or that, and checked over the rows of fabric, the button bin, and the many crafting instruction booklets. I bought one yard of Osnaburg fabric and felt good that I hadn't indulged in more. I already have more fabric than I'll probably ever use but it's still exciting to look at new prints and color selections. For some reason, Ben Franklin was having a big sale on live plants, so I bought a huge hanging basket containing the largest fern I've ever seen. The price was good and I knew exactly where I wanted to place it when I took it home. I found a few other things, paid for them, and left feeling as if I'd stepped back in time for awhile. I hope that Ben Franklin store is open and thriving for years to come.