Emily and Tammy both have ties to Venango County and decided to not only live here, but to invest in the area through their business—Peddlers & Paddlers Inn.
Although Emily grew up in Pittsburgh, she had family here and has been visiting the area her whole life. Her paternal great grandmother moved to Franklin in the 1950s after inheriting her aunt’s house on Liberty Street. Her maternal grandfather owned property in Kennerdell and her parents later purchased property in Kennerdell, too. Emily officially moved to Oil City in 2004 for a job at Clarion University – Venango, then relocated to Franklin in 2014.
Tammy was born and raised in Franklin. After her first child, she returned to college to pursue a degree in Business Administration at Clarion University. During that time, she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and started working at Clarion University. In 2018, she completed her doctoral work at the University of Pittsburgh and made the decision to stay in the area.
When thinking about a career move in 2018 that would result in having to relocate, Emily instead decided to stay here and pursue a dream of both her and Tammy’s—to open a bed and breakfast. They purchased the property in August 2018 and began the process of making that dream into a reality.
In addition to the Peddlers & Paddlers Inn, Emily works for the United Way of Pennsylvania’s 211 program, and Tammy continues to work at the University. “I love my work with the University, and the bed and breakfast is an added bonus,” Tammy said.
When starting their business, Emily and Tammy received help from many local organizations–the Small Business Development Center, Small Business Jump Start program, Venango Area Chamber of Commerce, Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce, Franklin Industrial & Commercial Development Authority (FICDA), City of Franklin, and Oil Region Alliance.
“In every interaction down to financing the business through Clarion County Community Bank, we had not one negative or detracting experience,” they said. “Everyone was focused on success and creating win-wins. We understand the need for greater employment opportunities and see the work of these local organizations to make that happen.”
At their bed and breakfast, they are constantly interacting with visitors who are excited to come here and who love the area. They have even had a few cases when those visitors ended up choosing to move here.
Community culture is a huge part of that. “There are a lot of aspects of this area we should be proud of and we should work collectively to resolve the issues and concerns that we are not so proud of,” they said. “Businesses want to see communities of vitality, that possess dreams of possibility, and that work toward making those dreams a reality. In a lot of ways, because of a lot of people, we are becoming that community.”
Emily and Tammy are proponents for community involvement, which can expose residents to the many positive aspects and people of our area.
When they’re not focused on their business or jobs, Emily and Tammy enjoy spending time with friends, which invariably involves music, BBQ, and brainstorming a slew of new ideas. Emily and Tammy are also huge fans of outdoor recreation in the area. When they can, they visit their property on the river in Brandon, PA, for floating and using the bike trails. They also like Two Mile Run County Park, Oil Creek State Park, Freedom Falls, and French Creek.
When they stay in town, Emily and Tammy can be found walking around downtown Franklin and visiting different places, like the Barrow-Civic Theatre and Amazing Foods. They also spend time in Oil City where they are “very impressed with some of the cool things happening,” and go to businesses like Karma Coffee Company, Core Goods, and the Transit Fine Arts Gallery.
“There’s ALWAYS something happening, from lectures on area history to full out festivals, Blues and BBQ being one of our favorites,” Emily and Tammy said. “We also do a lot of porch sitting, which is really one of the best things about our neighborhoods. It’s a great way to connect with neighbors and visitors.”
Emily and Tammy have many ideas for the future, some including coordinating local ghost tours, expanding the Franklin Movies in the Park program, working on an independent film series, and possibly creating a culinary arts center. The two also recently received a grant through the Oil Region Alliance which they plan to use to launch a pedicab service (bicycle tours on the trails).
Why do Emily and Tammy choose to be here? “Because for every reason not to, there are five reasons to move here. There is hope and possibility, and there is an immeasurable opportunity to experience peace.” They said. “That being said, no matter where you go, you will only get out of a place what you put into it.”