Sisters Sandy Bennett and Cheryl Mitchell were in the right place at the right time when they first found a space for their shop, Mother Earth Designs, on Franklin Street.
More than three years later, their luck carried over a second time, when they found out the Brown County Convention and Visitors Bureau was moving out of its first-floor space at the corner of Main and Van Buren streets, right in the center of town.
This time, it was thanks to Mitchell’s love of Sprite.
“When this location came about, we were at the Shell gas station. They ran out of Sprite,” Bennett said.
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“She (Mitchell) asked them, ‘What’s going on with the Sprite?’ and they said, ‘Well, we’re not renewing our lease for one reason or the other. The visitors center is moving in here.’
“The wheels start turning. I started making phone calls, talking to people, saying, ‘Hey, we want to know about this place.’”
They hoped that by moving their shop they’d see an increase in foot traffic and sales, Bennett said.
Since opening in the Professional Building across from the Brown County Courthouse on Feb. 10, sales have been 10 times higher for February compared to this time last year at the old location.
“Yes, we were open a few more days, but in the other spot we weren’t there more because there wasn’t any people coming,” Bennett said.
“We had people that came back when we were in the other location and they would say, ‘How long have you been here?’ We would say, ‘Well, almost three-and-a-half years.’ They’d say, ‘Well, I’ve never been here.’
“They would say, ‘We don’t get to the side streets very much.’ That’s really a shame because there’s really some nice shops.”
Bennett and Mitchell have been coming to Nashville to shop for 30 years. They’ve walked the town from top to bottom multiple times, they said.
“We always talked about having a shop and having a shop together,” Bennett said.
Mitchell makes jewelry. Before opening the shop, she would sell at farmers markets and craft fairs.
“We decided in May or June of 2013, ‘Hey, we’re not getting younger. If we want to do this, we need to do it or be quiet about it.’
“Neither one of us wanted to get later on in life and say, ‘Oh, I wish I had done that.’ We didn’t want regrets. It’s really been a fun adventure,” Bennett said.
Their store opened July 28, 2013. Bennett owns it and Mitchell helps her run it, working alongside her each day.
“I own it, but I couldn’t run it without her,” said Bennett, who also works for a software company.
They both live in Shelby County near Edinburgh. “We can throw a rock and hit each other’s house,” Bennett said.
They asked a shop owner during one of their Nashville shopping trips if she knew of any available spaces, and the owner did.
“We always felt like if we weren’t meant to be in that particular spot, why did we just ask her? We didn’t ask anybody else in this town, just her. She walked us right over there, showed it to us and we said, ‘We’ll take it,’” Bennett said.
Mother Earth Designs sells handmade jewelry including sterling silver, purses, T-shirts, home decor, essential oils, mineral makeup and apple butter. “As much as we can have that’s handcrafted, we do. We try to support that and feature that in here,” Bennett said.
Bennett and her daughter also have photography in the shop. Mitchell makes jewelry and has watercolor and acrylic paintings for sale.
Bennett’s son makes wooden pens that are sold in the store. Her brother and sister-in-law make and sell wooden bowls.
The sisters donate between 10 and 15 percent of the sales from their tie-dye T-shirts to local children’s charities.
What’s the best part about working with your sister?
The laughs and the love.
“There are times where we’ve laughed so hard, we have to excuse ourselves because we’re getting a little bit ridiculous with laughing,” Bennett said.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Sundays, closed on Tuesdays until April
Location: Professional Building at Main and Van Buren, first floor