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85-year-old Cronise Market has 'always been in the family'

July 11, 2013|By KAREN MAWDSLEY | kmawdsley@schurz.com
  • Bonnie and Cliff Pereschuk, owners of Conise Market and Olde Homestead in Boonsboro, are celebrating the 85th anniversary of the marketplace this year.
By Yvette May/Staff Photographer

BOONSBORO — Bonnie Pereschuk has been working at Cronise Marketplace off South Main Street in Boonsboro since she first learned to count money as a girl.

Decades later, the marketplace is still a big part of her life, and it carries great significance for her. After all, it’s been in her family for generations — since her grandfather, E.E. Cronise, founded a mountain fruit stand in 1928.

“It’s always been in the family,” Pereschuk said of the marketplace, which this year celebrates its 85th anniversary.

She and her high school sweetheart and husband of 39 years, Cliff, 59, have been the owners of the marketplace since 1996, when they purchased it from a family member.

“Heritage is a big piece for me,” said Bonnie Pereschuk, 57. “It’s in my heart.”

In its former days, the marketplace boasted fresh produce, all grown by the family on its 100-acre mountainside orchard and in glass greenhouses. What wasn’t sold locally was shipped to Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

Although the family no longer sells just its own produce and products, the roadside market — open from early spring to the Christmas season — offers almost exclusively locally grown produce, varying throughout the year depending on the season.

“We deal with a lot of local growers anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes away,” Bonnie Pereschuk said, noting that they strive for “no spray” produce and offer some entirely organic produce.

Spring brings seas of flowering plants; summer is prime time for local produce; fall features classics such as pumpkins, squash, mums and pansies; and early winter welcomes customers with a spread of wreaths, trees and citrus fruits.

The 85-year-old market is a year younger than its next-door neighbor, the red brick house built in 1927 in which Bonnie, the youngest of three children, grew up.

In December 2011, Bonnie and Cliff converted the home into a commercial building, opening a store they named Olde Homestead. They now live about five miles away, she said.

Olde Homestead features country-style home decor, furniture, candles, linens, lamps and unique gifts.

Next to the renowned marketplace, it didn’t take long for the new business to get noticed.

Olde Homestead at Cronise Marketplace was named the 2013 Washington County Small Business of the Year by the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce and the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission.

“The business has grown in demand and in products,” Cliff Pereschuk said.

The store has a regular customer base, a Facebook page and email, offers free 30-day layaway and plans to add new product lines in the fall, he said.

Olde Homestead helps keep their 10 or so employees, most of whom work part-time, employed in the market’s off-season.

Cliff and Bonnie have two grown children — Amy, 34, and Clint, 32 — and two grandchildren, ages 5 and 7.

The couple’s daughter-in-law, Monica Pereschuk, started working at the market in June.

“I like it because of all the different people that come here,” she said.

They have regulars, but they also get customers passing through town who stop to look around.

Monica said her parents-in-law value their customers.

“They go above and beyond to help people out,” she said.

They offer curbside service to the elderly and disabled, Bonnie Pereschuk said.

“We try to accommodate people as best we can,” she said.

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