Matthew Parson left the area after graduating from Franklin High School in order to attend college and then law school. He began his career in Washington, D.C., but the hours were grueling and left him no time for a family life. He made the move back to Franklin in 2004, where he could practice family law in a community he knew and loved.
Meanwhile, Jaimi Hajzus was living in her hometown of Coudersport after a rocky divorce. She and Matt attended undergrad together and had kept in touch over the years. Without Matthew, Jaimi may not have given Franklin a second look, but she began visiting every other weekend after they started dating. She started to see Franklin as a place she and her son Cael could fit in. She made the move permanently in February, 2016.
When asked what they like best about Franklin, both Matthew and Jaimi answered that the warmth of the community is central in their choice to stay. They both have felt welcomed and encouraged by the residents and business owners in town. Add in the beauty of the town in all four seasons and the festivals and events, and they have the perfect place to call home for their family.
“I came from a small town, but the friendliness and kindness I’ve found here is unmatched by anywhere I’ve lived or visited,” Jaimi said.
“The attorney bar was even welcoming which is amazing because lawyers aren’t known for being friendly and sharing their knowledge. We have tons of good people here,” Matt added.
Matthew and Jaimi both run businesses right on Liberty Street in downtown Franklin. Matthew’s law practice is located just across the street from Jaimi’s used book store, which is named Neverending Stories, The Underground Bookstore. Both Matthew and Jaimi are extremely grateful to the previous owner of the store, who essentially gifted the store to them. One of the benefits of living in a small town has been the ability to strike a perfect work/life balance where they are able to fulfill their professional aspirations and still come home every night for dinner together and video game time with Cael.
The opportunity to take over the book store wasn’t something Jaimi expected, and Matthew was unsure if his business would thrive the way it has in such a small community, but the couple is now helping to shape the community they love by operating businesses here.
“I couldn’t see a future from where I was before I came to Franklin. Once I was here, it just magically fell into place. I feel like I’m in a fairy tale!” Jaimi said.