Gabriela Frederick grew up in Brasilia, the capital city of Brazil. She never considered herself much of a “nature girl,” and certainly never expected to live in a small town like Franklin.
She married Michael Frederick, a Franklin native, in 2004, and the couple lived here for a short while before pursuing career opportunities in Florida. They were working in the Sunshine State during the housing market collapse in 2008, and their jobs fell through and there was a lot of tension in the city. They moved back to Franklin on Christmas Eve, and found it to be the perfect place to regroup and plan their next step.
While they were here, Gabi was able to take a closer look at the town. She and Mike saw such beauty and potential, not just in the Victorian architecture and the natural landscape, but also in the people.
“This is a special small town. I think a lot of people generalize small town America with ignorance or intolerance, but the majority of people here have a really open mindset and are very welcoming to a new culture,” Gabi said.
She also grew to love the outdoors, where she and Mike often go hiking and take in the splendor of the pristine woods and waterways, and the variety of wildlife. Being from the city, Gabi had never encountered so many different species of animals before. She recalls fondly a time they were relaxing in a stream and saw Bald Eagles flying across the sunset and thought, “is this really happening?”.
The couple were going to move to NYC for a new job offer, when the coffee shop in town was put up for sale. They were at a crossroads. They reflected and prayed and felt it was a shot they had to take. “If we didn’t do, we would regret it,” Gabi remembered.
They were encouraged by the surprising number of young business owners that were opening retail stores and restaurants in downtown Franklin, and were excited at the prospect of being part of that. They knew they could always go back to a larger city someday if it didn’t work out. In the meantime, they’re an easy day’s drive to New York or D.C. “You can be in the hustle and bustle of a big city any time you want, but you have the safety and charm of a small town,” she said.
They opened Bossa Nova Café & Roastery in 2011 with the hope of creating a neutral gathering place for Franklin residents and visitors alike to congregate and relax. They continue to own and operate it together today.
Gabi said the coffee shop draws a good crowd of regulars, and has been visited by customers from Germany, Italy, India, and all over the world. Bossa Nova is a focus point, right on Liberty Street, where visitors can stop and get a glimpse of what it’s like to live in Franklin.
“It’s not your run of the mill small town. It really is a gem,” Gabi said.