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Grander But Still Grounded In Southern Tradition

Fork of the South Is Relocating And You Won’t Believe What’s In Store

Article by Christina Madrid

Photography by Lifestyle By LeBlanc

Originally published in Franklin Lifestyle

Stefanie Gorman, a southern hospitality specialist, gift curator, and owner of the successful Fork of the South, is taking her shop to a new location and a whole new level. Fork of the South first opened on August 31, 2019, after Stef’s husband, Steve, suggested that Stef start her own general store. At the time, Stef had a booth at Bleu 32 Vintage Marketplace in Columbia. Now alongside Steve, Stef is making the vision for the expanded space a reality.

The new 7,000-square-foot location in the Factory at Franklin will hold a 40-seat restaurant called Mamaw, after Stef's Grandmother Townsend, and serve breakfast, brunch and lunch. “I only knew Mamaw for eight years but she still significantly influenced my life,” Stef says. “I guess you could say she gave me my sparkle.” The restaurant will serve traditional southern food based on Mamaw’s recipes.

There will also be a southern boutique-style coffee nook and the Milkshake Bar is expanding to include homemade ice cream (including dairy-free options) with clean and where possible, locally made ingredients at the micro creamery. Stef plans to ask customers to suggest flavors and she will highlight one as the flavor of the week.

If that wasn’t enticing enough, Stef also will have a southern take on an afternoon tea service. Guests will pick out the tea cup they like best from the cupboard and sit down at their designated table for a tea with southern treats. Readers are encouraged to
bring Stef floral tea cups to add to the selection.

The retail footprint will also be larger with more unique gifts and include a section for infants and more items for men. One thing that will remain constant is the support of makers, women and veteran-owned small businesses. More than 80 percent of the goods currently sold at the store are maker, not mass commercially produced.“When things get overwhelming, my husband reminds me of the six makers we helped during the pandemic and that keeps me going,” Stef says. “I want to help support the next generation of entrepreneurs.” The new space will champion even more makers.

At the end of the day, guests can unwind with a candy martini based on nostalgic candy flavors the store is known for selling. “It will be a great place for folks to gather,” Stef says. “I am most excited about the store being in what was the former sanctuary of Journey Church (now located in Brentwood). That means a lot to me because I try to live my life the way the Lord wants me to live it,” Stef says. “I am also excited about our large outdoor patio space.”

Whether it’s shopping for a thoughtful gift, eating, drinking, or even sipping, there will be something special for everyone at Fork of the South’s new larger location. Be on the lookout for the opening at the Factory at Franklin, coming later this month.