It's your business: Owner looks at options for the Art

It's your business: Owner looks at options for the Art

David Kraft figures it's going to take some time to find the right person to take over his historic downtown Champaign movie theater.

So he's starting his search early.

Kraft said Greg Boardman, the current operator of the 240-seat Art Theater at 126 W. Church St., has declined to continue after his contract ends at the end of 2009.

"I offered it to him for three more years, and he was not interested," he added.

That three years would have been at a higher rate, Kraft said, but not nearly the level of increase the city imposed on downtown parking.

Boardman, who has operated the theater since 2003, didn't respond to questions regarding the theater.

Kraft, who once operated the Princess Theatre in LeRoy, contends the Art is in a desirable location, given all the redevelopment taking place in the vicinity.

He's looking for "an experienced, credible, financially stable" operator willing to pay market or near-market rent, he said.

His first choice is to see the vintage movie house remain a theater, he added, but he'll consider all options, including a sale that would involve a different use of the property.

Business of fun

Misty Appleby of Newman and Gayle Lewis of Arthur met at their church and started a business together based on their mutual love of party planning, decorating and fun.

They call their new party and event planning business The Party Girls, and they'll handle arrangements for parties, weddings, receptions, showers, corporate and black-tie events, special family dinners, campouts and group events such as cooking and etiquette classes.

Clients just need to tell them the theme they want, and "we try to make it personal to them," she said. Regret missing your prom or want to relive the memory? They also offer adult proms complete with dinner, DJ and prom queen selection.

Appleby, who also helps operate the Joines-Appleby Funeral Home in Newman with her husband, Andy, says she and Lewis had both done party planning for friends and family over the years before they decided to launch a business.

The Party Girls also want to give back to the community, Appleby said, so they have a fundraiser planned for the Mills Breast Cancer Institute at Carle at 10 a.m. Aug. 9. It will be a tea party with desserts and raffles at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Center in Urbana.

Net proceeds from the $25 admission will go to the Mills institute.

For more information, call 837-2367 or see the Web site at

Pizza with a purpose

Eat at any of six area Monical's Pizza restaurants on Tuesday and 20 percent of the check you pay will be donated to the Champaign County Humane Society.

You must have a Community Day flier (available at the animal shelter in Urbana or on the humane society's Web site at for your check to count toward the donation.

Participating locations include the Monical's at 205 N. Mattis Ave., C; 103 W Kirby Ave., C; 2720 S. Philo Road, U; and those in Rantoul, Mahomet and Tolono.

Are you opening a business or changing something at your existing one? Debra Pressey can be reached by phone at 351-5229 or 800-252-3346; by e-mail at; or by regular mail at The News-Gazette, c/o It's Your Business column, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-0677.

Topics (1):Art