A dramatic increase in business and a desire to stay busy have resulted in changes at Rebecca Ruth Candy. More business necessitated the need for additional storage, and a love of cooking demanded the creation of a small cafe.
Charles Booe is the owner of the candy company that’s now entering its second century, started and operated by his family. Since purchasing it from his father, the late John Booe, in 1997, business has grown 157 percent and the company needed more space.
Risa Booe, Charles’ wife, loves to cook and found more time on her hands as the “nest” began to empty. In November, she opened a café in the front room of the business on Second Street, where lunch is served Monday through Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Located on Schenkel Lane in what was the first Heck’s building, Charles Booe bought the structure in 2013 and has been refurbishing it to use as a warehouse by Rebecca Ruth. A portion of it is leased to the state and there’s still space available for leasing.
Booe lists several reasons for purchasing the building, including being able to buy shipping materials in larger quantities, more office space, a call center and management functions. Also, one of the primary reasons was easy access for 53-foot delivery trucks.
“Our downtown location is problematic for these trucks,” he said. “The turning radius from Capital Avenue onto Battle Alley is difficult because of the flood wall, and the wall itself makes access to our loading dock impossible.”
The trucks must be unloaded in the street in front of the store and materials rolled to the dock with a hand truck. The Schenkel Lane facility allows trucks to be unloaded with forklifts; materials are then loaded onto smaller trucks that can access the loading dock at the Second Street location.
Booe said 75 percent of the building has been refurbished and, when completed, he hopes to lease additional space for offices or retail opportunities.
With their daughter, Sarah, away at college and son, Alex, completing his final months at Frankfort High School, Risa Booe found herself with more time on her hands.
“I love to cook and to see people happy,” she said while standing in the kitchen of Miss Risa’s, which opened in November. “There are no restaurants in this area, so it made sense to open here.”
The cafe is open just for lunch now. It has seating for 20 or so customers and offers carryout, as well.
Risa serves traditional Southern foods featuring soups and sandwiches. Her specialties are from her native Thailand, where she learned to make and sell traditional Thai street foods and desserts.
She operated a popular restaurant in west Frankfort but closed it when the lease came up and she needed to spend more time with the children. Now the scenario has flipped, and she’s returned to cooking and serving food.