Tag Archives: local

Kristy & Jeff Smith

All In The Family

Diann & Dane Smith

Diann & Dane Smith

New Albany’s Ben Franklin Crafts and Framing Is an Inspiring Institution

BY LAURA ROSS | PHOTOS BY CHRISTIAN WATSON

The Smiths are one crafty family.

Literally.

The long-time Indiana family is devoted to the community but also creative, energetic and incredibly adept at producing savvy business models that thwart big-box Goliath stores and provide a locally-owned experience and business that caters to customers.

Ben Franklin Crafts and Framing, 420 New Albany Plaza, has been in the Smith family since it opened in 1990. But its roots go much deeper.

Joe and Hilda Busteed originally opened a Ben Franklin Crafts franchise store in Milan, Indiana, during the post-war era.

“Joe was a Fuller Brush salesman originally,” said Kristy Smith, who is a third-generation owner of Ben Franklin Crafts and Framing along with her husband, Jeff Smith, and family partners Dane and Diann Smith.

“When Joe and Hilda opened their Ben Franklin Crafts store,” said Kristy, “it was a true five and dime. You could buy everything there from coffee beans to fabric to make a dress. We still have their first cash register, which rings a maximum of two dollars.”

The Busteeds were treasured local merchants, and when Joe died of an aneurism in his 50s, his daughter Patsy Jo and son-in-law Wayne Smith took over the store. Later, they opened a second shop in Bloomfield, Indiana.

In the late 1980s, Walmart began its the march across the country, gobbling up the market share of mom-and-pop craft and soft goods stores.

So, said Kristy, “Patsy Jo and Wayne conducted a population study and looked for a location that would support an independent craft store. New Albany popped up on the map and had the right socio-economic factors, so they took a leap of faith, closed their two stores and moved south in 1989.”

Kristy & Jeff Smith

Kristy & Jeff Smith

The Smiths ran the popular New Albany Ben Franklin until they retired in 2000 and passed the mantle on to sons Jeff and Dane and their wives, Kristy and Diann. The team of four now manage Ben Franklin and the attached Ben’s Boutique specialty store together, parceling out roles to fit their talents.

“Everyone has their job,” said Kristy. “I do the displays and change the seasons out and help with the buying. Diann is the floor manager, working with employees and setting the sales and connecting with customers. Dane watches over the frame shop, and Jeff is a jack of all trades – from running the finance and business end to driving our truck when needed,” she added, with a laugh.

And, don’t forget the next generation in the wings. “Between us, we have five children – Tyler, Ryan, Logan, Rylie and Luke – who have all worked in the store,” said Kristy. “They are the future.”

“I never knew I’d end up doing this,” admitted Jeff Smith. “But the opportunity arose when I was in college studying business, and I went for it.”

The Smiths maintained the philosophy of building an inventory tailored to local customers’ needs and focused on buying and selling products from local artisans and craftspeople. That extends to wood products from Diverse Woodworking in Lanesville, to Silver Creek Leather in Jeffersonville, Kaiser Wholesale, Master Frame Supply, and hand-made grapevine wreaths by Morris, which is located across the river in Kentucky.

“We buy local whenever we can,” said Jeff. “That’s our family philosophy. You get the best service dealing with people who know you and are local. We do that as much as possible to keep the growth in our community.”

“A Target is a Target is a Target,” added Kristy. “What makes each community special are the family-owned businesses like ours that care about their neighbors and customers.”

The Smiths’ 18 employees are also considered part of the extended family. Many have been with the store for more than 20 years and are welcome, friendly faces to customers.

“People feel comfortable coming here,” said Kristy. “You get personal attention and help. Our employees are people who knit, who quilt, who paint. They use the products that we carry, so that they can offer advice to customers.”

The staff at Ben Franklin eagerly dives into personal projects for customers, from craft and holiday projects, to school assignments and church activities.

“Schools and churches always need specific things and quantities,” said Kristy. “If we know that church camp is coming soon and they’ll need 200 pieces of whatever, we will go through all our catalogues to find that and have it ready. An advantage to being a long-time local business is we know when the science fair projects are coming, we know when the Turkey Bowl is, we know when we’ll need hundreds of t-shirts at the go. That prepares us for when parents all come running in at the last minute looking for 400 skulls for an anatomy dissection class.“A TARGET IS A TARGET IS A TARGET. WHAT MAKES EACH COMMUNITY SPECIAL ARE THE FAMILYOWNED BUSINESSES LIKE OURS THAT CARE ABOUT THEIR NEIGHBORS AND CUSTOMERS.” –Kristy Smith

“It’s about building those relationships with our community,” Kristy added. “We genuinely want to help our customers come up with what they need, and we work with them to find solutions that are either easier or cheaper. Our employees love it when someone asks, ‘How I can I make this happen?’ and we always make it happen.”

The Smiths’ Ben Franklin store offers many classes through the year and will expand their children’s classes and craft sections in the coming months. Derby is always a huge seller for Ben Franklin, too. Hats and fascinators rule the world there, beginning in March. They will also add a new men’s gift wear section in Ben’s Boutique soon.

The children’s activities are key, said Kristy. Not only do the crafts provide a creative outlet and time to craft with their parents or siblings, crafts also work on a child’s dexterity and focus, and can reduce anxiety levels.

“It’s those moments that you might think are nothing, but years from now, you’ll treasure those crafts you made with your children,” she said. “It’s not the piece you made but the time you spent together, literally crafting memories.”

Additionally, Kristy is not only a business owner but also a busy mom and global manager for quality for Zeochem in Louisville, where she works her “other” full-time job. Zeochem, which creates molecular sieves and specialty zeolites for chemical and liquid absorption processes in manufacturing, puts her chemistry degree to good use. But, working with Ben Franklin brings out her creative side.

screen-shot-2019-03-07-at-5-01-27-pm“When I’m at Zeochem, I’m looking at parts per million down to .004 weights and percentages. But when I’m at Ben Franklin, I can design the floor layouts or create natural, free-form floral designs. It’s the perfect stress relief,” she explained. “My mother was an art major and my dad was an engineer, so it’s the perfect blend of left brain-right brain for me.”

screen-shot-2019-03-07-at-5-01-10-pmWhat does she love most about her time at Ben Franklin Crafts? “One of the best things about a craft store is you’re connecting with people in moments of their lives,” she said. “You’re quilting the afghan for the new baby, you’re framing the diploma, you’re making a funeral wreath for someone’s mom’s grave. These are life moments and you connect on a family level.”

But above all? “Family,” said Kristy. “It always pulls you back to family.”

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BEN’S BOUTIQUE

screen-shot-2018-10-04-at-11-34-33-amDid you know Ben Franklin Crafts in New Albany is locally-owned and -operated – and has been for decades? The Smith family moved from Milan, Indiana, to the area in 1990 and opened up the independent shop, which is located at 420 New Albany Plaza in New Albany. Unlike big box stores, there is no corporate office that mandates what Ben Franklin’s sells. Instead, the family and their staffers offer a personal shopping experience that is geared to customers and includes a great selection of clothing and gifts in their store-within-the-store known as Ben’s Boutique. Sign up for Ben Franklin Crafts’ newsletter and get more details about the store at benfranklinartsandframing.com.

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Local Love

screen-shot-2018-06-05-at-3-24-02-pmSouthern Indiana has no shortage of locally-owned businesses, and shopping at them can benefit our community as a whole. Spending money at an independent business versus a big box retailer means more cash in our local economy. And there are several environmental benefits too. Local shop owners are more likely to reuse materials and contribute far less to industrial pollution than corporations do. Plus – and this may be the best benefit of all – when you shop local, you’re supporting your neighbors, which feels really good.


TIP: IF YOU CAN MAKE IT A MONTH WITHOUT ADDING TO YOUR SUMMER WARDROBE, SALE STOCK FOR WARM WEATHER APPAREL FULLY BEGINS IN JULY, THOUGH IF YOU WAIT UNTIL AUGUST, YOU’LL FIND STEEP DISCOUNTS AT YOUR FAVORITE CLOTHING BOUTIQUES.

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Arizona Dreaming

Drew Ellis is in sunny Scottsdale right now, on a journey to make a major league baseball team.

There are no guarantees. He’s not asking for any.screen-shot-2018-04-04-at-2-39-17-am

By Steve Kaufman | Photos by Tony Bennett

In February, Drew Ellis of Jeffersonville,

Indiana, got on a plane to Arizona, along with

thousands of other people escaping winter snows.

It was the warmer weather and sunshine

drawing him there. But he wasn’t going to sit

around a resort pool. He was going there to

work. He has a job in Scottsdale, which started

in February, with April not far behind.

For the next couple of months, Ellis would

be running and exercising, swinging a bat and

scooping up infield grounders, throwing and

catching. What he really hoped to catch was

someone’s attention.

Ellis works for baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks,

who had their best season last year since the team

of Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling and Luis Gonzalez

won the 2001 major league championship. The

Diamondbacks won 93 games in 2017, third-best

in the entire National League, before succumbing

to their division rival Los Angeles Dodgers in the

post-season.

Ellis wasn’t in Phoenix while all this was going

on. He was in Hillsboro, Oregon, playing for the

Hillsboro Hops of the Northwest League, Arizona’s

affiliate in what is called Short Season A. Only the

Rookie League is a lower designation.

Hillsboro did the parent club one better, winning

its league pennant, beating out the Eugene (Ore.)

Emeralds, a Chicago Cubs affiliate; the Boise

(Idaho) Hawks, a Colorado Rockies affiliate; and

the Salem-Keizer (Ore.) Volcanoes, a San Francisco

Giants affiliate, in the league’s South Division.

Ellis was the Hops’ starting third baseman once

he got to Hillsboro, hitting what for him was a

disappointing .227, but getting eight home runs

and driving in 23 runs in his 41 games.

“I played really well for the first 30 or so games,

then struggled a bit,” he said. “My power numbers

were good, but my average wasn’t where I wanted

it to be. Probably good to have those struggles

early in my career, though, so I know what it takes

to overcome them, how to work out of them.”

And now it’s on to spring training camp.

Hillsboro is far from Phoenix, and not just on a

line drawn on a map. It’s the lowest rung on a very

high ladder going up through four more minor

league levels in the Diamondback organization,

all the way to Reno, Nevada, the team’s Triple A

affiliate in the Pacific Coast League.

The highest rung on the ladder, of course, is

the ultimate goal – an Arizona uniform. A seat in

the D-backs’ dugout. Hearing your name called:

“Batting fifth and playing third base, Drew Ellis!”

But first…

For this summer, the Jeffersonville youngster

has set his sights on an assignment to the Visalia

Rawhide of the Advanced A California League.

It would be a promotion, all part of the climb.

It’s a slog. And a numbers game. Most of the

ballplayers in the Short Season League will likely

never get to the majors. Ellis knows that.

His short season was shorter than most. He

wasn’t drafted until June, in the second round

of Major League Baseball’s 2017 draft, the 44th

overall pick. That spring, he had been a key cog in

the University of Louisville’s march to the College

World Series. So, he’s now 22, a mere baby in most

professions but a late starter in professional sports.

On the other hand, a good thing about playing

sports is that your performance is out there on

the field. If you’re good, you’re good.

Ellis was good at the University of Louisville.

He hit .367 with 20 home runs and earned All-

American honors on the team that won 53 of 65

games, all the way to Omaha, beating Texas A&M

before back-to-back losses to Florida and TCU

cancelled the dream.screen-shot-2018-04-04-at-2-40-37-am

“It was a super-special year,” he recalled. “The

most fun I’ve had playing baseball – not just

because we were winning, but because of the

way we were winning.”

He also said “the atmosphere on campus was

great. One reason I chose Louisville was because

of the fan support. They showed up even when

it was cold out.”

It was a close team, too, and Ellis spent much

of the off-season working out at the UofL athletic

facilities with ex-teammates like Brendan McKay,

Colby Fitch and Devin Hairston, three of several

Cardinals who were also drafted by big-league

teams.

McKay was a first-round pick of the Tampa Bay

Rays. He spent the season in Wappinger Falls, N.Y.,

with the Hudson Valley Renegades of the New

York-Pennsylvania League. A versatile athlete

who played first base and pitched in college, he

hit .232 and won his only pitching decision.

Shortstop Hairston was drafted in the fourth

round and spent 2017 in Appleton, Wisconsin,

with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, a Milwaukee

Brewers property in the Class A Midwest League.

He hit .210 and made 10 errors in 44 games.

Fitch, the Cards’ catcher, was drafted in the 13th

round by the Philadelphia Phillies. He split the

summer between the Lakewood (N.J.) Blue Claws

of the South Atlantic League and Williamsport

(Pa.) Crosscutters of the New York-Pennsylvania

League. Fitch hit only .217 at Lakewood, but .350

in Williamsport.

The point is, it’s a long haul for almost everybody,

even the best college players. But it’s all part of

the dream, a dream so many young athletes have

growing up.

Ellis recalled first dreaming the dream at

Jeffersonville High School, when he saw other

local players getting scouted by pro teams. “I

remember thinking, ‘I’m as good as these guys,

but I’m not getting any attention.’ So I changed

my thinking, and started working my butt off.”

He had been a shortstop in high school, but

Louisville coach Dan McDonnell moved him to

third in college because the Cardinals already had

slick-fielding Hairston. That makes Ellis’ prospects

on the Diamondbacks somewhat problematic.

They already have a third baseman. Jake Lamb

hit 30 home runs and drove in 105 runs last year.

And he’s only 26.

A scouting report on Ellis said defense is his

biggest question mark – “lack of range” – and that

maybe first base is a better option. But the D-backs

also have a first baseman. Paul Goldschmidt hit

.297 last year, with 36 home runs and 120 RBIs. He

was third in the National League’s Most Valuable

Player voting.

Still, Ellis knows major league rosters are fluid.

Free agency makes everything unpredictable.

Who knows where Lamb or Goldschmidt will

be in two years?

More important, Ellis knows he can only worry

about Ellis. The rest will follow. “They haven’t

talked to me much yet about where I’ll be,” he

said. “Wherever I play, my expectation is to play

as well as I can play. They’ll put me where they put

me. I’ve just got to do what I’ve always done, by

preparing the way I prepare. Do the little things I

need to do, to make sure I’m on top of my game.”

There’s a level-headedness there about an

outcome Ellis can’t control except to prepare for

the best so he can expect the best. Partly, that’s

a work ethic first drilled into him by his high

school coach, Derek Ellis, who also happens to

be his father.

And partly, it’s the result of a faith he acquired

while in high school, when he was baptized by

his friend, “one of best decisions of my life, to

follow Jesus.”

He said he struggled a little bit as a high school

freshman, as so many freshmen do, not knowing

which crowd to follow. But since his baptism, he

said, “I know who my Lord and Savior is. And

life is easier when you have someone to rely on.

When times are hard or going well, through ups

and downs and struggles, it’s been good for me

to rely on my faith to get through those.”

He said he’s seen teammates make some choices

he wouldn’t have made, “not necessarily because

they’re bad people but because they haven’t had

a faith to help them out.”

There will be ups and downs in Ellis’ baseball

career, just because there are ups and downs in

that life for everybody. He seems well-equipped

to handle both.

And it’s not just because he can hit the fastball.

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2017 Holiday Gift Guide

The holiday season is quickly approaching. According to the National Retail Federation, more than half of shoppers start to research and plan their gifts in October, if not earlier, though by December most of us still have plenty of holiday shopping left to do. To help you get a jumpstart, we’ve featured a few of our favorite local finds. But don’t just take our word for it. Go out and frequent these locally-owned establishments now and take the hustle ’n‘ bustle out of this holiday season.


screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-3-51-25-pmSapphire Boutique

Sapphire Boutique, which has locations in Jeffersonville and New Albany, carries the latest fashions, accessories and gifts for women and babies. Follow us on Facebook @sapphireonspring and Instagram @sapphire_boutiques.

Julie Gionatti is wearing a Pink multi color sweater dress by BCBG, Black button front rain dress by BCBG, handbag by Sondra Roberts.

Rachel Shipton is wearing a ruffle sleeve suede dress by Olivaliceous, Handbag by Sondra Roberts.

Both models wearing various styles and brands of jewelry.

326 Spring St., Jeffersonville

812.920.0017

154 E. Main St., New Albany

812.725.0900

Facebook/SapphireonSpringBoutique


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Lavender Hill

At Lavender Hill, we strive to make our customers very, very happy. We offer daily deliveries to both residential and business locations. Our knowledgeable staff is here for you, be it a celebration, loss of a loved one, wedding or our favorite – for no reason at all. We’ll guide to towards the perfect florals or fine specimen plant, or pop into the shop to find the perfect piece of jewelry, scarf or artisan gift.

359 Spring St., Jeffersonville | 812.288.2388 | lavenderhillflorals.com


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Madhouse

Whether you’re selecting a special gift, entertaining, or just need a little room refresh in your life, Madhouse is here to help. You will not be disappointed in the variety and uniqueness within this specialty shop that truly caters to any price range.

151 E. Spring St., New Albany | 812.924.7728 | madhousena.com


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The Olivet

Locally owned and operated and situated in the beautifully developed Underground Station in the charming historic river town of New Albany, The Olivet is the only olive oil tasting emporium in the Southern Indiana area and offers the community a wonderful selection of ultra premium, extra virgin olive oils, hand selected from California groves, aged balsamic vinegars, whole spices and herb blends, Italian artisan pastas and sauces, handmade chocolates and truffles, a wide array of specialty and gourmet food items, and beautifully handcrafted, unique gifts. They also offer private tasting parties and specialize in custom gift baskets.

37 Bank St., New Albany | 812.913.4430 | www.theolivet.com


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The Office Cigar Lounge

Kick back in big, comfy easy chairs and enjoy a cigar with your buds in the cigar lounge. There are hundreds to choose from in the huge walk-in humidor, as well as cigar and pipe accessories – plus we have a large selection of pipes and pipe tobacco – to keep you puffing and happy.

3700 Paoli Pike, Floyds Knobs | 812.993.0445 | www.theofficecigarlounge.com


screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-3-52-18-pmACE Hardware

New Albany Ace Hardware is locally owned and happy to serve our community for more than 81 years. What better gift to yourself or someone special than a new grill! New Albany Ace Hardware offers a full range of grills – including Big Green Eggs, Traeger and Weber – and accessories – for the outdoor chef on your gift list. We also offer a variety of other items, just right for stocking stuffers and more. Plus, we receive new items every week. Follow us on Facebook by searching “Ace Hardware of New Albany.”

1905 Charlestown Road, New Albany | 812.945.6633. | www.acehardware.com & search “New Albany” in the store locator


screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-3-52-29-pmMESA

MESA is a state-of-the-art, collaborative kitchen-classroom, featuring demonstrations by established and aspiring chefs from Southern Indiana and Louisville. The collaborative space offers cooking classes and demonstration, and also houses a bookstore, pantry, to-go cooking dinners, cookware boutique, aprons, toys for little ones and more. Stop by to pick up a gift for aspiring chefs of all ages or easily purchase a gift card for that special someone on our website.

216 Pearl St., New Albany | 812.725.7691 | www.mesachefs.com


screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-3-52-44-pmHim Gentleman’s Boutique

Him Gentleman’s Boutique is a one-stop shop for every man. We provide all styles ranging from everyday casual to looking your best on a night out. Want to try a new look? Not sure how to work certain trends into your wardrobe? We are here for all your styling needs.

314 Pearl St., New Albany | 812.924.7441 | www.himgb.com


screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-3-52-56-pmTop Shelf Tactical

Come and experience a different firearm retail experience. We are committed to the highest quality products, the most competitive prices and 100 percent customer satisfaction. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook – @topshelftacticalfirearms – for our weekly specials throughout the holiday season.

37 Bank St. Suite 7, New Albany | 812.725.1115 | www.topshelftactical.com


screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-3-53-04-pmStrandz and Threadz

Threadz has many fashions to offer, including trendy clothing, scarves, purses and accessories, plus we carry gift items like signs, teas, candles, local items, seasonal items and more! Strandz is an AVEDA concept salon and full-service spa. So, you can complement your new outfit with a new hairstyle, blowout or add some highlights!

322 Vincennes St., New Albany | 812.945.5480 | www.strandzandthreadz.com


screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-3-53-12-pmLL&A Interior Design

Celebrate Your Space!

247 Spring St., Jeffersonville | 812.282.6606 | www.leslielewisdesign.com

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One Southern Indiana | Sales & Marketing Success Series: Allan Howie – Idealogy

Photos by Extol Staff | Info below photos provided by www.1si.org and www.idealogy.biz

Pastries provided by download-1 www.cakestoday.com

Friday January 20 marked the night of One Southern Indiana’s event, in partnership with Ideology for an expose on how to get more sales this year than last year. Attendees learned how to acquire more profitable customers or clients.

Author, speaker and Idealogy founder Allen Howie shared a wealth of practical ideas for making your marketing work harder in 2017, regardless of your marketing budget.  Large companies, small businesses and individuals all left with new ways to make their marketing more effective and brand more powerful.

If you missed the event, be on the lookout for more, as this idea-packed session only kicked off our revamped, revitalized, re-imagined Sales & Marketing Success Series.

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INFORMATION BELOW TAKEN FROM www.1si.org on their Sales & Marketing Success Series:
Baptist Health
1850 State St. Paris Health Education Center
New Albany, IN 47150

 

download

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 293
Georgetown, IN 47122-0293

Street Address
6500 State Road 64
Georgetown, IN 47122

Phone: 812.399.1400  Fax: 812.399.1405

Email: allen@idealogy.biz

www.idealogy.biz
“Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.”

– Mark Twain