By Christina Rice

Holly Cronk opened her new store, Ferluknat Farm, on February 9.

The store’s name is in memory of her pet pig, Arnie. Arnie was a runt that Cronk rescued as a piglet. The farmer brought the pig to school and she kept him in the counselor’s office and the boiler room for an entire day before taking him home to her acreage outside of Maryville.

The family trained the pig to do tricks with a partially deflated basketball. Arnie would play soccer with his snout and would sometimes walk on the ball, rolling it around his pen with his feet, earning him the nickname Arnie the Carnie Pig.

One day, Cronk’s husband was asked about the pig and he replied, “that pig’s not fer eating, he’s fer lookin’ at.” And thus the name of the store, Fer-luk-n-at, was born.

Cronk, born in Colorado, met her husband and spent several years traveling to different places with jobs. The couple moved here permanently in 2004.

She wanted her children to grow up in a smaller community where they would get a good education, be close to family and experience the family-feel of a small town.

“Kids aren’t kids in a big district; more kids fall through the cracks. I didn’t like what I was seeing and what my kids were being exposed to,” Cronk said.

She has worked at the Maryville High School as the registrar since they moved here 13 years ago.

“I loved working with the kids, but my heart was screaming, ‘you’ve always wanted to do the creation side of things,’ so I made the jump,” Cronk said.

Her store offers home decor and fabrics displayed on repurposed farm-style historical pieces including barn boards from the family barn and old wooden doors from Conception Abbey.

In the back of the store is Bliss Salon with hairstylist Sherry Gaarder. The salon can support up to three stylists.

“I want this to be welcoming. Come hang out at the farm; come sit on our couch, get your hair done, browse the store,” Cronk said.

She has also created an art studio where she will be offering different art classes and events for children and adults. Some of the events include tea parties, princess breakfasts, painting Lincoln logs, mixed-media classes and creating decor for participants to display in their homes.

She wants to expose people to different types of art besides painting and has been searching for unique art forms. One class that will be offered this spring will be an Ikebana class. Ikebana, originating in South America, is a traditional art form that uses flowers and natural elements and will be taught by a woman who grew up in the Amazon River region.

“I want to expand people’s creativity,” Cronk said.

The store is located at 805 South Main, Maryville and is open from 9 am to 5:30 pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; 9 am to 7 pm, Thursday and the store is closed on Sundays.