Local Ben Franklin store changes name
Ben Franklin Crafts store managers promised Tuesday that a 22-year tradition of service to Carson Country customers will continue under its new name Craft Market.
The merchandise, staff and commitment to crafters will all stay the same, manager Michelle Encinas said.
“Only the name is changing,” Encinas said.
As employees of Nickerson Sign Company of Dayton installed the new Craft Market sign from above the entrance of the South Carson Street store, shoppers were treated to samples of Papa Murphy’s pizza and rock music from a KOZZ Radio remote broadcast promoting the store’s new identity.
Store owners Gene and Donna Allensworth of Carson City own the Craft Market name, Encinas said, so the craft store no longer has a franchise affiliation.
But Ben Franklin’s identity as a franchise has diminished since the parent company filed bankruptcy in July 1996. Many of the franchises around the country closed and the name “Ben Franklin” was purchased by an advertising agency.
The Allensworths brought Ben Franklin to Carson City in 1977, when it was still the kind of small department store Americans called a “dime store.” The Allensworth saw that most of the merchandise lines of the store on Highway 50 East were doing poorly, but that craft items sold well. In 1980, they began clearing out non-craft items at deep discounts and reinvested the money in craft lines.
The decision was a winner for the store. Business increased and the Allensworths expanded the store into a neighboring space. They also opened Ben Franklin Crafts stores in Reno and Sparks.
In July 1996, even as the parent company entered bankruptcy, the Allensworths celebrated the success of the craft focus by moving to the present larger location at 2750 South Carson Street.
Along the way, they added a custom framing service, a broad selection of craft kits, supplies for painters and crafters and a huge selection of silk flowers.
After 22 years as Ben Franklin, Craft Market is expecting to be a fixture in Carson City for years to come. And the Allensworths also have the potential for additional development here. They own the vacant property between Craft Market and South Carson Street.
The future of that property hinges somewhat on when the extension of Sonoma Street from Carson to Curry streets is completed.
Encinas said the placement of a large Craft Market sign also is waiting on word of how and when that street extension is completed.
Meanwhile, the Allensworths’ Ben Franklins in Reno and Sparks will continue to operate under that name, Encinas said. The Allensworths’ business is incorporated in Nevada as Ben Franklin Crafts Inc., she said.