On Thursday, U.S. Congressman Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) paid a visit to Franklin to meet with staff and owners at a number of area businesses that are weathering the current economic slump and in some cases even growing in it.
The first location on the itinerary mixed business and pleasure with lunch at Rana Rinatta, an Italian eatery that opened on Highlands Rd. in December. According to restaurant co-owner Lisa Thordarson, who formerly ran The Frog and Owl on Main Street, the business has hired approximately 50 employees, including 6 fulltime salaried positions, making it one of the largest new employers in recent years.