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FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WKRN) – As Middle Tennessee continues to grow, some businesses grow with it while others fold. One staple in Franklin is unfortunately part of the latter.
Saffire in the Factory at Franklin will be closing its doors at the end of the year.
“It’s like sending a kid off to college,” said Tom Morales, one of the owners.
The decision to close the restaurant was just as bittersweet.
“It’s been overwhelming. I woke up this morning; I had 150 messages on Facebook. People saying, why are you doing it? And I’m thinking, well why aren’t you in here eating? I might not be making this decision,” said Morales.
Saffire is Franklin’s longest-standing privately-owned restaurant.
“We were the first culinary restaurant in Middle Tennessee,” he said. “It was overwhelming the first 6 years.”
But nostalgia isn’t paying the bills, and people just aren’t coming like they used to.
“The timing of the Factory was vibrant at one time. It gave us the walk-in traffic we needed. But now you need an event here to have foot traffic.”
Morales said a shortage of people was also a big part of their decision to close.
“Human assets really are the reason. They are hard to come by in Nashville. We think they will be better used,” he told News 2.
Morales said those people will all be protected and taken care of at his other Nashville restaurants, but this isn’t the end for his Williamson County projects.
“We are in negotiations with a few other people. We may emerge in another location with a different concept,” said Morales.
Until then, Morales and his business partner, Jennifer Masley, plan to go out with one last hoorah with their annual New Year’s Eve party.
“We hope December is the month and November too when everyone comes and says goodbye. We are going to be hanging out here spending a lot of time. It’s sentimental. It was a hard decision. And we probably drug it along longer than we needed to.”
Mojo’s Tacos will be going into Saffire’s space. Morales is also opening Woolworth on 5th Avenue soon.