Owner, Fannie Farkle’s
Marion Paul is the most interesting person you don’t know.
“I was a professional dancer and met my late husband on the road when I was in a burlesque show on the chorus line on a carnival,” says Paul. “I gave up my dancing shoes because I realized I couldn’t make money dancing when I was older—and then I was on the carnival road for another twelve years. Finally, I came off the road.
“My late husband, Don Paul, and I learned that the location that is now Fannie Farkle’s was for lease. I managed to get this place rolling.
He would be here for like a week and a half and then go back on the road for a week and a half or two weeks because we still had three units on the road under big tents. We had hundreds of games under tents, so I left that environment, and came and made Fannie Farkle’s a permanent location.
“I realized people really like razzmatazz feel-good stuff—New Orleans, Beale Street. Fannie Farkle’s is colorful and exciting.
“I’ve just always wanted to have a business that appealed to everybody, and I think I’ve succeeded here at Fannie Farkle’s.”
“The name Fannie Farkle’s has its origins in Rowan & Martin Laugh-in, a popular comedy show from the late 1960s and early 1970s. “Don and I brainstormed—Silly Sally, Sassy Sadie—and Don suggested ‘Fannie Farkle’ because of the fictitious Farkle family from Laugh-in.
“At the beginning, I was here fifteen hours a day, seven days a week—and Gatlinburg was the best town for me because there were many female entrepreneurs.
My landlord at the time, Hattie Ogle, was a very successful businesswoman; there was also Peggy Dych, who owned the Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen. Here’s some good trivia: We named our corndog—the Ogle Dog—after Tom Ogle, Hattie’s son!”
Now, after 40 years, Fannie Farkle’s still has a bright future. “I keep looking forward,” says Paul. “I want to keep things exciting. I want to keep up with technology. It’s full steam ahead for us. We have third and fourth generations visiting us! People come as children and now are bringing their grandchildren! I hope we can keep the fun here for many more generations.
“I always say: Come for the food, stay for the fun.”
For years, Fannie Farkle’s has partnered with Rick Laney Marketing. During that time, Rick Laney Marketing has produced videos, public relations campaigns, managed monthly direct marketing campaigns, created and printed rack cards, and managed all aspects of Fannie Farkle’s unbelievably popular social media accounts.
Rick Laney, President & CEO of Rick Laney Marketing:
“We’ve worked with Fannie Farkle’s long enough that I consider Marion a dear friend,” said Rick Laney, President & CEO of Rick Laney Marketing, LLC. “You won’t find a more astute businessperson than Marion – nor will you find someone as interesting, sweet, and caring.
“For 40 years, Marion and Fannie Farkle’s have been legendary in the Smoky Mountains. Because of Marion, I’m certain that Fannie’s will be a favorite vacation destination for tourists from all over the world for decades to come.”
Read one family’s special and touching Fannie Farkle’s story by clicking the button below.
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