WASHINGTON — Emily Junker is an innovator, entrepreneur, and winner of a statewide award.
While her name isn't up in lights, it is on a street sign.
A large green sign announcing her award was installed last month by the city of Washington on a busy stretch of North Wilmor Road near Five Points Washington and Washington Community High School.
Mayor Gary Manier unveiled the sign at a Washington City Council meeting, just after Junker was honored by the city with a proclamation.
All that adulation is for an 18-year-old who graduated this spring from Washington high school.
"Overwhelming and humbling. Certainly not something I expected to happen," Junker said about the kudos from her hometown.
Junker is the creator of "Tick Tick Fizz" bath bombs that are sold at area stores, vendor shows and farmers markets.
Her all-natural bath bombs, which come in several colors and sizes, release oils and salts into bath water that moisturize and detox.
Junker developed Tick Tick Fizz when she was a high school freshman.
After buying a large amount of expensive bath bombs from a United Kingdom-based company with her birthday money, Junker took her mother's advice and tried to make her own bath bombs.
"I spent my entire Christmas break researching oils, skin care, and the chemistry of a bath bomb," she said.
Six months later, her recipe was perfected.
She was making more bath bombs than she could use, so her mother suggested selling them.
Junker started doing that in the summer between her freshman and sophomore years, beginning with a vendor show at Northwoods Mall in Peoria.
Fast forward to 2019.
Junker was one of 11 winners this spring in the Celebrating High School Innovators Awards Program run by Millikin University, Illinois State University and Pontiac Township High School.
She won $1,000 and a small scholarship to Millikin, but she won't use it because she'll be attending Saint Louis University to study nursing.
It was Deanna Zehr, Junker's high school counselor, who told her about the innovators awards program.
"As I read an email I received about the program, I immediately thought of Emily," Zehr said. "I couldn't think of anyone more qualified to win the award.
"Emily created a part-time job for herself and was an entrepreneur while she was a busy high school student. I bought her product; I was very impressed."
Junker applied for the award and was invited to participate in the finals in April at Millikin, where she was one of the winners of the "Shark Tank" TV show style competition.
Tick Tick Fizz is sold at Define The Home and Boutique 309 in Washington, Lulu's on Main in Morton and The Nook Gifts & Décor in Germantown Hills and Peoria Heights.
Define The Home was the first store to sell Tick Tick Fizz, in the fall of Junker's sophomore year. Junker said store owner Barb Plata has been a mentor for her on how to market her product.
Junker sells her bath bombs for $5 at vendor shows and farmers markets. They're slightly more expensive in stores, with Junker getting 60 percent of the sale price.
"Charity bath bombs" created most months by Junker also sell for $5, with $4 going to selected organizations.
Donations from those sales have been made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Alzheimer's Disease and breast cancer research, among others.
Junker has expanded her businesses through the years to include kids bath bombs, shampoo bars, shower melts, lotion bars, bath and shower tea, foaming scrubs, lip balm and more.
Still, about 75 percent of her sales are from bath bombs.
"That's fine with me because bath bombs are my focus," she said. "But I do love the other things, too."
Before Junker heads to college, she plans to set up a website to sell her products.
"My mother (Courtney) is going to take care of the shipping," she said.
Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.