It's Your Business: Hip-hop shop now open on North Prospect
A new store featuring hip-hop clothing and accessories has opened on North Prospect Avenue in Champaign.
Activewear, located in the former Rest Spot furniture store at 1505 N. Prospect Ave. by Good Vibes, opened this spring.
"We had a similar store at Pulaski and Madison in Chicago, and customers were coming from down here and said they needed one in town," said manager Mike Thapetei.
The store sells clothing for men, women and children; children's sizes range from infant to 18.
"Our style is urban and hip-hop," Thapetei said. The store carries brands such as pelle pelle and New Era hats.
As for accessories, the store features some athletic shoes and flats, a variety of bags and purses, sunglasses, watches and other jewelry, cologne and perfume.
The store, which can be reached at 355-1111, is open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
Champaign-Urbana area families have one more consignment store to look to for bargains.
Pink and Blue Closet, 401 W. Springfield Ave., near Strawberry Fields in Urbana, opened in April.
It sells children's clothing as well as baby accessories, toys and furniture. Some of the items sold in the store are new, including dresses imported from Mexico. The store operators speak Spanish, too.
"We're always looking for consignors," said store manager Diana Olmedo. The store offers 50 percent commission on the items sold.
The store can be reached at 365-0479. It's open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, and located just west of downtown Urbana.
Toffee biz expands
Audra Martin has rebranded her product from Toffee by Audra to A Toffee Tale and expanded into an office and warehouse space in Urbana.
"It's always been called Toffee by Audra because it's always been just me. Since we have other employees now, I wanted a name that encompassed everybody," she said.
Since she started the business in 2004, Martin has been renting space in commercial kitchens to make the toffee. As the company grew (it's now sold in 19 stores around the state), she had a hard time keeping up with demand, especially during the winter holidays.
Earlier this spring and winter, she found warehouse and office space in the Lincoln Commerce Center off North Lincoln Avenue in Urbana and had a custom commercial kitchen with three stoves built there. The kitchen can be expanded to include up to 10 stoves as sales and employees increase.
"We're hoping to take it throughout the country," she said.
The business also recently launched a website, http://www.atoffeetale.com, to offer online sales. The business will continue to sell at Urbana's Market at the Square and will expand to festivals this summer such as Taste of Champaign, the Urbana Sweet Corn Festival and Renaissance fairs in the region.
Onarga garden center
Country Arbors, a nursery and garden center in Urbana, opened a new garden center called Cultra Nurseries in Onarga on Saturday.
Country Arbors, the family owned business based in Urbana, started growing shrubs and trees in Onarga a year ago and, due to demand from people living north of Rantoul and south of Kankakee, decided to open a garden center as well, said Shane Cultra, who heads up the Urbana business.
The company's history dates back to 1865 in Onarga, and "it feels like we're coming back home," Cultra said.
The entire Onarga property is about 60 acres and the family renovated a farmhouse to be the center. There are several greenhouses and garden center displays. They sell products grown at both locations, including shrubs and trees from Onarga and perennials and annuals grown in Urbana.
The garden center is just off the Interstate 57 exit, to the west at 1101 W. Seminary, Onarga, and can be reached at 815-268-7771. It's open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Are you opening a new business or changing an existing one? Christine des Garennes can be reached by phone at 351-5388 or 800-252-3346; by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; or by regular mail at The News-Gazette, c/o It's Your Business column, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-0677.