Back in business: The Farm rebuilds

Jul 23, 2015

Difficult times often also reveal to a person a lot about themselves, their family, friends and community. Renee Franclemont, owner of The Farm, 9079 Allegheny Rd., can relate. Last December, her business literally went up in smoke as an early morning fire destroyed the more than 150-year-old barn that housed the craft shop and market next door to her house. “I thought I lost everything, but a lot of good has come out of it. Everybody rallied,” she said. The Farm is back in a new building at the same location and re-opened for business June 29. Franclemont went about literally rebuilding her business in a unique way — using planks from existing area barns on the inside walls of the new building and also incorporating their beams and doors. “When the barn burned, my parents offered up their barn. So we took my parents’ barn down which was in Alexander and used that,” she said. “We also had some friends give us pieces of their barns that had fallen and we also included those pieces.” The new building went up in six days — the interior took a while longer because of the teardown of the Alexander barn. “I designed the layout in here. I had a vision of what I wanted, but nobody else could see but me of how I wanted the walls to look. So we just started in one corner and I said ‘this is what we are going to do,’ and once we got that done, we just continued that look throughout.” Rock Construction of Corfu built the new structure, taking great care to listen to Franclemont’s vision for the barn wood. A laminated Daily News article on the December fire is posted prominently on the wall by the store’s front counter. Franclemont said she points it out to customers who ask “didn’t there used to be an old barn here?” “It’s just easier to show them the article rather than telling the whole story over and over.” She said the community’s outpouring of support has been overwhelming. Pembroke High School hosted a spaghetti dinner and Chinese Auction, a campaign on the GoFundMe website was created and a T-shirt sale was conducted. “Everyone was so nice. People made meals for my family. We had meals for two weeks straight,” she said. Franclemont is re-energized by the new beginning. “It’s been very emotional. I’m happy, I’m excited. I love my town.” She knows many good things have come from the rebirth. “We miss the barn, but the reality of it is this is fresh and clean new building. “There were people driving by before and a lot of them did not stop because it was just an old barn and they probably didn’t know what was going on in here,” she said. “Now it looks more like a store. It is more inviting.” As for what is going on inside, Franclemont said she has expanded her offerings. The Farm has a cooler now and carries Yancey’s Fancy and Kutter’s Cheese products, and pop, as well as local maple syrup and honey. Milk and eggs will be stocked soon. “We still have our produce. We try to keep it local. We grow some of our own and barter with other famers that come in.” Franclemont also brought back most of her consignors for the primitive goods that populate a good deal of the floor space. The Farm is now open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week and will be hosting a “community and customer appreciation grand re-opening” starting at noon today that will feature hot dogs, desserts and beverages. ——— On the Net: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Primitives-Produce-at-The-Farm/114249748680158?pnref=lhc