Entrepreneurs abound in Woodford County
Herb Boken of Metamora is well-acquainted with the food business.
Boken owned a small sandwich shop in his hometown of Peoria, as well as a family restaurant in Metamora in the 1960s and one in Colorado during the ‘70s, where he lived for 20 years before returning to Illinois.
Presently, he has taken his knowledge and love for food and formed Grampa’s Creations.
“It’s been a good five years or so,” Boken said, estimating the span of his newest food venture.
“It gives me something to do and helps supplement my income.”
Boken performs his culinary work at his home in Metamora, where signs of Grampa’s Creations are everywhere: old fashioned popcorn machine in the garage, packaged caramel corn on the kitchen table, and cakes in the refrigerator.
Boken said that he sells his food every Saturday at the local farmers market in Metamora’s town square, as well as at the annual Old Settler’s Days.
His creations are not limited to residents of Metamora.
Boken said he gets customers from nearby towns and travelers who stop for the farmer’s market, all of whom will find a diverse array of treats at his stand.
“I make fudge, turtles, chocolate chip cookies, and I bake small cakes,” Boken said.
“I’ve grown up around a lot of music and theater and art in general,” said Leah Cramer of Metamora.
Cramer has embraced the artistic environment that she has grown up in, and aside from playing the flute she has recently discovered an interest in photography.
“My uncle is a photojournalist,” she said.
“So I thought I’d give it a try.”
Her first photographs were of flowers in her yard, she said.
And it was not until her junior year of high school, after enrolling in a black and white film class, that she discovered her talent of creating art through a camera lens.
Cramer sets few limitations on her work, and chooses to photograph anything that catches her eye, elusive as it may be.
“It’s hard to get the camera to see what you see,” she said.
Though photography is of great interest to Cramer, it is, for the time, merely a hobby.
She will be attending Bradley University in the fall, where she plans to study engineering.
“I have a lot of hard math and science classes,” Cramer said.
“So I like to have a creative outlet.”
Cramer said she is working on small projects around the Metamora area for people who need photographs for various reasons, but she retains perspective on the role that photography plays in her life.
“It’s nothing too serious,” she said.
“It’s mainly just a hobby.”
Eleven-year-old Don McFarlin of Eureka is an emerging entrepreneur in the ice-cream business.
After seeing a Woodford Times article on the Ward brothers from Metamora, who sell ice cream from their bicycle, McFarlin decided it was a cool idea, and set out to start his own business on wheels.
He traveled with his parents, James and Jamie McFarlin, to Madison, Ill. to purchase a three-wheeled bicycle with a freezer attached to the front.
After getting a Eureka business license and a green light from the health department, McFarlin’s summer pursuit was set in motion.
McFarlin said he has a diverse selection of pre-packaged frozen treats and ice-cream.
With the help of his parents, who load his bike into their truck and take to different parts of town, McFarlin is able to peddle his business on wheels through all the neighborhoods of Eureka.
If you don’t catch him riding around town, you can be sure to see him at Reagan Fest in Eureka, on Aug. 26 and 27.