Life's Better Here: Grabill 2013 (VIDEOS)

By Emma Koch
By Eric Olson
By Jason Meyers

July 18, 2013 Updated Aug 2, 2013 at 9:04 AM EDT

GRABILL, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) -- Time for another local hometown feature in this week's Life's Better Here and we are headed to Grabill.

A lot of good things, including good economic progress, have happened in Grabill this past year. Graber and Graber Concrete, a big local employer, is moving to a new location and expanding and another local company will move into Grabers old facility. Truck parts builder Brendl Products will be the new occupant and expand as well, adding new jobs. All adding up to a big improvement to life in this historic town.

But we're spending time in one of Grabill's most popular spots, the public library which is the only branch in the Allen County Public Library system with its own hitching post.

It provides a sense of community. Library officials know the community out here and the people that they serve. Sometimes they see them on a weekly, if not a daily, basis.

Grabill is the smallest of the fifteen county library branches but it's the fifth busiest and if you need proof just stop by any day of the week.

You'll find everything here you expect at a modern library, computers and free internet access, lots of books and periodicals of course. But this library is a real favorite for kids who are deeply involved in the summer reading program. Librarian, Dawn Stoops, is reading books about winter and snow on this ninety degree July day. The kids are loving it, and so are their parents.

And he's not officially a librarian but Dusty the Dog drops by. After the obligatory hugs and pets, Dusty settles down and every child who wants to, gets to read to him from their favorite book. There aren't many places in any town universally loved regardless of age, ethnic origin, religion or political persuasion. But this is one of them, teaching the good people of Grabill all about the world around them.

Grabill's a small community with plenty of reasons to visit. They've recently started a flea market. They're going through with their plans to build a new restaurant and hotel, but there are still those few mainstays that survive and even thrive.

Grabill may be best known as a small community with a large Amish population, but if the owner of the Grabill Country Inn has his way, that'll change.

"We've probably got the best barbeque in Northern Indiana,” Sky DeCamp boasts. “Pulled pork is one of our best sellers and now we're getting into ribs, which we just did ribfest. And we do a lot of different things. We have country meals and we also have pizza. So we do a little bit... we probably got too big of a menu.”

Grabill Country Inn has been in Grabill since 1957. Sky DeCamp and his wife bought the restaurant 36 years ago, and they fell in love with the community.

"You know everybody in town. You may see'em six, seven times a day, and everybody waves,” DeCamp said. “They may come in for breakfast. You see'em two hours later driving, and they wave. They may be back for supper, so it's just a unique community. Everybody gets along fine and supports everybody."

While pie and home cooking may be a fixture at the Grabill Country Inn, around the corner, you'll find a fixture of Grabill that's been there for more than 100 years - H. Souder & Sons General Store. The same family has been running this shop for generations.

"My dream when I was little... Most people want to do something like be a fireman or become a nurse. I wanted to work in this store with my Grandma, and I got to,” Sasha Hullinger said. “So now I've been part of the stores for over 15 years."

Stepping through the front door is like stepping through time before big box stores were the norm. And maybe this simplicity, along with a home cooked meal, is what makes life better in Grabill.

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