Where Everybody Knows Your Name - Benefit Held For Groves Franklin Tavern


Written By: Scott Hall of Hall Around Town Radio

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Save our small stages and locally owned neighborhood venues!

From 1982 to 1993, most of us remember the theme song from the television show Cheers. The iconic sitcom theme lent its famous line, “Where Everybody Knows Your Name,” as the show’s tagline.

Near my home is a small neighborhood bar on Main Street in Franklin that reminded me of Cheers from the first visit. It’s a place where you feel like family and are welcomed with open arms from the time you walk in till the time you leave. I stop by this little pub called Groves Franklin Tavern once in a while to hear local music, but given my schedule, I’m hardly a regular. The venue has some small tables and a bar with ten to fifteen seats. The owners are genuine, welcoming and passionate about their business and customers. The patrons are even more welcoming and quickly become family.

This little Franklin “Cheers” hasn’t been open that long, but prior to the COVID shut down in March, it was rapidly becoming a very well-known spot for good local music, affordable adult beverages and a large friendly crowd! Like many other small locally owned businesses Groves Franklin Tavern has struggled to survive the bar shut down for several months and now the subsequent restricted hours of operation, closing the doors at 11pm each night. For our non-corporate, restaurant and bar owners, it has become very difficult to bring in enough revenue to meet all the monthly bills that go along with operating their venues.

So along comes the music community to the rescue!

You might call Groves Franklin Tavern the “home base” for local musician Heath Bowling. He truly got his real start there and received such wonderful support from the owners and patrons.

Heath learned that the bar was having some difficulties meeting the bottom line and immediately went to work to put together a one-day fundraiser filled with local musicians, auction items, raffles and door prizes.

I sat down with Heath and had a little Q&A about the organization and success of this one-day “Save the Tavern” event. Here is a bit of our dialogue:

So what made you decide to put this fundraiser on for Groves Franklin Tavern?

“Well with everything that was going on and with everything hurting business and stuff like that… I have been actually asking the owner Michelle for probably about two months to let me do something and put something on to benefit the bar. She's very stubborn and often bullheaded and truly doesn't want to ask for help. About two and a half weeks ago that she called me and ask me for my help and kind of swallowed her pride and we did it. I told her give

me 30 minutes and I'll let you know what's going on and I think it was maybe 40 or 45 minutes I messaged her back and told her what bands were playing and what times”.

It looks like Groves is your home bar right?

“Pretty much, you know I’m from Miamisburg but as far as like my home bar I play more there than any other place, kind of like a residency thing and you know I run the open mic night.”

How would you describe Groves Franklin tavern to anyone who has never been there?

“I would basically say it's like it's probably the best bar that I've ever been in. Honestly I'm not just being biased 'cause it's my home bar it's just ever since I first started going there which is now a little over a year, everybody always treated you like family or wanted to know what your name was and to know how the hell your day was going or what do you do for a living and how long you been in town. It's basically like the real version of cheers and you never get judged, it's just it's just basically like having a party in your garage I guess you could basically say”.

So how did this music community that you and so many others are a part of come together to help with your benefit idea?

“I reached out to the musicians and they came through. So I sent out a message to my musician friends, basically what I did was the first 8 that responded would get the gig . I reached out to Von Anderson , Kris Schultz, Byan Scott, Tiffany and Mike Maye plus Nick from Short of Stable, Wesley Green, Jayme and Until Rust and they all responded with a big yes”. I also sent messages to Dawn from the Barrel, Marci from Mr. Boros, Missy at Heroes and Heather of who all agreed to donate baskets and door prizes”.

So along with a great day of live music, you ended up making a sizable amount for a one day event I understand?

We made somewhere in the $4,500 range for a one day event that was quickly thrown together and that can typically sometimes be a weeks worth of their sales. It was a really good day and all because of so many great people helping.”

Anything else you want to share about the event?

“Just thanks to obviously the normal day to day people that come into Groves…. plus there's so many people that you see it all these benefits (too many to name) that help the community. It was so cool that all these people came together and it was just a good time for a short notice event that was a great time for great cause and it's nice that other business owners you know care about another business. Often you see everybody's always trying to one up the other on the new promotion to get more people to come to your bar and restaurant. It was nice to see that many local venue owners came together and actually came down and hung out while their bars were running at the same time.”

Then here’s my last question… do you think it's unique around here that venue owners seem to be working closely together? Its something I don't see a lot elsewhere and this kind of camaraderie and cohesiveness between venue owners seems to be a unique environment. They obviously came together to help you … how does that make you feel?

“Well I think it's a thing with the two cities of Franklin and Springboro to be completely honest with you but that also has a nice little background as well. I don't know where Heather and Marci are from but like Dawn and Michelle, well they grew up together at least knew each other from Carlisle. Many of these people are from Carlisle and they run in the same group with the same people follow the same musicians and visit same bars and they always run into people you know. As far as I know, yeah it's very weird to me I don't ever see it anywhere else. I think it's a good thing”.

I want to thank Heath Bowling for taking the time to sit down and discuss his thoughts about the benefit. This is a perfect example of good people helping good people. As a music supporter, I can’t begin to say enough about this local community of musicians and venues. Their incredible drive to come to the aid of others in need is nothing short of amazing! Hats off to Groves for their passion to fight this uphill battle, Heath Bowling for organizing the event, the artists who gave their time to play and all those who donated to a wonderful cause.

Please don’t forget that it is paramount in these difficult times that we support our local small businesses. Especially those in the entertainment, food and beverage industry who have been impacted so hard by this virus and the restrictions that have been handed down because of it.

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