“Community and family - that’s where it’s at,” simply states Bonnie Sanchez, owner of Times Past and Present. Bonnie and the Factory at Franklin have been ‘family’ since 1999. But what makes this store unique is the four generations of family who have worked together to create a family legacy. Currently Bonnie and her grandson, Lee Richards, work side by side. Watching their interactions is akin to watching a Hallmark movie - you know, the ones where everyone gets along, loves each other, and simply cannot complement each other enough. But this isn't a Hallmark movie - this is their real life.
When asked about their journey as a family business, Lee instantly defers to Bonnie. She replies, “No, you tell the story, I love listening to you.” The admiration is mutual and their respect and love for each other is palpable.
Having newly relocated to Franklin from Illinois, Bonnie explored the Factory at Franklin at her mothers behest. Bonnie appreciated the “neat vibe” and noticed the opportunity to lease spaces. Her mother, Shirley, herself an antique shop owner, pointedly asked Bonnie about partnering to start a gift and antique store in the Factory. “I was nervous but I agreed to a three year lease.” Driven by a fear of failure or possibly letting anyone down, Bonnie continually works in earnest to make the store “visit worthy.” Adds Lee, “She is very modest. She works hard and strives to carry items people want.” Bonnie frequently drops pearls of wisdom which are not lost on Lee. “What you’re familiar with and comfortable with drives you and becomes your motivator. You have to do what you know and love.”
Coming to the store with his mom, Tiffany, since he was a one-year-old, Lee fondly recalls fun times spent making cardboard concoctions and creating drawings in the back room. Lee began working in the store throughout high school and returned to the store after serving our country. An accomplished artist, Lee now draws artwork freehand for several of the shirts Bonnie proudly sells. Bonnie is his biggest cheerleader.
Lee admits he would not work there if not for his Nana. “I don't know how she does it. It is a lot of stress and overwhelming to me to keep it running - the taxes, rent, what, where, how and when to order. I leave that to her. I couldn’t do it!,” which elicited encouragement from Bonnie, “You’d be surprised. I know you could do it!”
With Lee’s future goal of joining the Franklin Police Department, Bonnie sadly recognizes he may not be working alongside her soon. “I get that. It is the progression in life. Lee will move on and do things he wants to do. I just love having him here. It is just selfish of me. If anyone needs anything, Lee is the person to have around, but I sure will miss him in the store.” Lee gushes, “I have the best Nana in the whole world!”
“The greatest gift in life is family,” concludes Bonnie to which Lee quickly agrees. Who could ask for anything more?