Kim Keller has always been a California girl, loving the beaches and the warm weather, so the last place she expected to live was in Franklin, PA.
“It’s Joe’s fault!” Kim teased, referring to her husband Joe Gross, who is originally from western PA.
The couple had been searching for a place to buy in the beach town of Ventura, in Central California, when Joe returned to PA for a visit. After spending some time with his brothers and cousins at their camps along French Creek near Utica, Joe’s mind started to turn back to the Franklin area as a new ideal location for retirement. Joe’s family told him about a home near Polk with nearly 47 acres that was for sale, and the rest is history.
Joe moved to PA first with their beloved dog, Tazzie, in 2006. Kim was still working at a job she loved in the aerospace industry, so she visited frequently until her company agreed to let her work from home so she could move here permanently in 2007.
After working in a “concrete jungle” Joe and Kim were taken by the beautiful forests and wide open fields in Venango County. They were also charmed, as so many others are, by the city of Franklin with its Victorian era architecture and unique independently owned businesses.
Kim said being in a small town like Franklin offers a sense of well-being and community. Her only other visit to the area was on a previous visit with relatives in Pittsburgh. Joe took her on a road trip to explore the countryside and they passed through on Liberty Street. They didn’t even stop in Franklin that day, but Kim said, “I distinctly recall thinking what a great place it was. Such charm.”
“This is the first small town I’ve lived in and feel lucky to be here,” Kim said. “Shopping, the arts, the Barrow, great dining, and all the events that the Chamber and the City put on throughout the year are outstanding and really help the community.”
Kim and Joe have been embraced by the community and have made an impact by giving back through service organizations and business connections. They made friends with wonderful neighbors that “took care of” Joe before Kim got here. Joe became a member of the Masons and is active in a senior volunteer group (formerly known as RSVP). He has also participated in archeological digs and helps the Jennings Environmental Center with prairie cleanups. As for Kim, she began creating copper art and got involved with the Liberty Galleria as an artist and then associated with Hatched at 1237 Liberty Street where her art is currently being sold. She is a member of the Chamber with her art business, and loves being part of Applefest every year.