Donna McClanahan knew something was amiss when she saw crumbs scattered across her counter and bowtie pasta randomly dropped on her mantle. She suspected there was a mouse. She went for a walk, thought about the situation and came up with a poem, which she turned into a children’s book. Donna did not end up publishing that one, but she did write more books and published, There’s a Pig in my Pantry, which is available at her “booth-tique,” Ciao Bella, at the Painted Tree. in Franklin. The process of getting the book published helped her to become business tough and acquire knowledge that she uses today.
Donna believes that each bump in the road brings a new opportunity. Having moved every few years due to her husband Gary's job with UPS, as well as playing professional tennis herself, she is used to new adventures. Donna and Gary decided to move to Franklin in 2020 to be closer to their son who lives in Bellevue. After attending a wedding in Ireland the following year, the couple decided to also visit Italy. It was there that Donna fell in love with the beauty of the lifestyle, the food and the Italian people.
“When we got back I wanted to keep Italy in my heart, but after a few weeks it started to fade,” Donna says. She decided to bring Italy to her and opened her “booth-tique” Ciao Bella, in March 2023.
Although she never imagined running her own business, Donna firmly believes that things happen for a reason. “If something doesn’t work out there is a better idea,” she says.
Now she has a business importing beautiful Italian goods from leather and clothing to chocolates. “I always think my trips to Italy cannot get any better, but Italy never lets you down," she says. She is thrilled to be able to share that spirit and beauty with others.
“When we got back I wanted to keep Italy in my heart."