Isaac meets his hero

  • Isaac French reacts to seeing Channel 20’s Cheryl Lemke come to his shop.
  • Isaac French uses a microphone to greet and chat with people at his business, Isaac’s Coffee Shop, in Arenzville.
  • Isaac Roegge - ArenzvilleCheryl Lemke interviews Isaac French and Jill Roegge.   - Cheryle Lemke day, TV weather reporter visits his ice cream shop
Friday 20 May 2022 
Photos by Steve & Tiffany of Warmowski Photography 217.473.5581 - 220520
  • A bulletin board in the coffee shop is adorned with Lemke’s photo.
  • The Weathermaker, a Sprite-based drink with fluffy clouds of whipped cream on top
  • Arenzville Mayor Ron Kershaw reads a proclamation making the day Cheryl Lemke Day.
  • Sally Stock, Isaac’s aunt, laughs as she talks to a customer. 
  • (From left) Isaac’s mother, Jill Roegge; aunt, Sally Stock; and former aide Tara Hobrock, serve customers.
  • Isaac French and his customers welcome Channel 20 meteorologist Cheryl Lemke to Isaac’s Coffee Shop in Arenzville.
  •  A crowd of supporters watch to see Isaac’s reaction to Cheryl Lemke.

Photos and story by Steve Warmowski

The community of Arenzville came together Friday to watch as Isaac French greeted his hero, Channel 20 WICS’s Cheryl Lemke, at his coffee shop.

Isaac used to run a coffee cart at Triopia High School, and the teachers said checking in with him was the highlight of their days.

Last August, the family set him up in a coffee trailer in Arenzville. When the weather turned cold, they were able to move into Willie’s, Willard Peck’s old gas station.

Isaac’s Coffee Shop gets regular traffic from students and teachers from neighboring Trinity Lutheran School, especially on Fridays when parents treat their kids for good behavior during the week.

The shop features coffee and other drinks, as well as pastries and other goodies. However, many people come in just to get a greeting from Isaac. Isaac puts up the American flag and performs other tasks around the shop, but his real job is to use a microphone to greet his guests by name, and offer commentary and conversation.

Isaac’s mother, Jill Roegge, said he is fascinated by the weather. Also, he loves Channel 20’s Chief Meteorologist Cheryl Lemke because of her enthusiasm. When coffee shop patrons ask about the weather, Isaac always mentions Lemke. The shop recently started offering “The Weathermaker,” a Sprite-based drink with fluffy clouds of whipped cream on top. Lemke often uses the phrase “the next weathermaker coming through” when

talking about storm fronts.

The coffee shop puts out a weekly newsletter, in print and on Facebook. Readers tagged Lemke in Facebook posts, and the social media department at the TV station picked up on the mentions and contacted Isaac for a visit. Isaac gave Lemke a warm welcome, Arenzville Mayor Ron Kershaw proclaimed the day to be Cheryl Lemke Day, Lemke got a tour of the shop and then she interviewed Isaac and Roegge for a TV spot. The station also wanted to live broadcast the weather report, but a satellite link wasn’t able to be established. Issac’s reaction during the interview was a big “oh boy.”

“It was a good day, and Cheryl was such a gracious lady,” said Roegge. “We were happy to have her.”

Isaac’s Coffee Shop opens at 7 a.m. and serves until 1 p.m. weekdays, until 11 a.m. on Saturdays and closed Sundays. Located at 212 W. Frederick St., across from the Arenzville Post Office.

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