It's Your Business: Illini Mini Market Express hopes convenience drives sales

Why walk, bike or drive to the grocery store when you can visit the van down the street?

In a few weeks, University of Illinois students will be able to pay a visit to the Illini Mini Market Express, a new business that is part-food truck, part-corner convenience store.

Dean Georgoulis of Champaign converted a Ford minivan into a mobile shop that will sell snack items such as candy and gum but also bread, fresh fruit and vegetables and frozen entrees as well as cleaning supplies and paper goods.

Starting Nov. 1, he'll park near Washington Park — otherwise known as "Frat Park" — between Armory Avenue and Daniel Street and between Second and Third streets in Champaign. He's running the business with the help of his parents.

"It's a business opportunity but also a service for the students on campus," said Connie Georgoulis, Dean's mother.

It will be open from roughly 8 or 9 a.m. until about 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and, pending demand, possibly on weekends.

Georgoulis can be reached at deang7676@yahoo.com.

Opening soon

The Social Butterfly Boutique, at 2215 S. Neil St., C, opens Monday in the Shoppes of Knollwood.

Jan Johnson is featuring wo-men's jewelry and accessories in the shop, which can be found between Le Peep and Spa Envy.

A grand opening celebration is being held from Monday through Sunday, Oct. 30. Ten percent of daily sales during the grand opening week will be donated to a different nonprofit each day: the Greater Community AIDS Project on Monday, Champaign County Humane Society on Tuesday, Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club on Wednesday, Roundhouse on Thursday, American Cancer Society on Friday and Crisis Nursery on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 30. The store can be reached at 649-3414 or janj@thesocialbutterflyboutique.com.

Hootenanny!

Analog Outfitters, the Champaign business that repairs and restores vintage instruments and amps and installs audiovisual equipment (among many other things), will hold a hootenanny on Friday outside the business at 514 N. Neil St.

It will have live bands playing from 4 p.m. until midnight and will be cooking hot dogs.

The company recently doubled its size, creating a showroom for its stuff, including an "ORGANic" series of guitar amplifiers made of recycled materials.

Merger

Tom Voight, Roger Miller and Brian Loman recently announced a merger between Miller-Voight Insurance and Real Estate and Loman Ray Insurance Group.

Miller-Voight of Villa Grove dates back 73 years, starting as Wegeng Insurance and Real Estate in 1938, then Hardin-Voight Agency Inc. in 1975 and finally Miller-Voight.

Loman Ray Insurance Group was established in 1981 and has offices in Broadlands, Newman and Sidney. The merger is expected to take place by the end of the year.

Website makeover update

LRS Web Solutions of Springfield recently announced the 10 finalists for its Big Website Makeover Contest. (Last year, if you recall, Crisis Nursery won.)

The finalists are ARC Community Support Systems in Teutopolis, Autism Society of America Central Illinois Chapter in Springfield, Big Brothers Big Sisters of West Central Illinois in Jacksonville, Central Illinois Honor Flight in Effingham, Champaign County Humane Society in Urbana, the Children's Museum of Illinois in Decatur, Helping Hands of Springfield in Springfield, Madonna House Shelter for Women and Children in Quincy, Sojourn Shelter & Services in Springfield and Springfield's Salvation Army.

Each organization has until Oct. 30 to get as many online votes from the public as possible.

Votes can be cast by visiting http://www.lrs.com and following the link to the Big Website Makeover page. Voting ends on Oct. 30, and the $10,000 makeover grand prize winner will be announced Nov. 1.

Spooky pancakes

On Friday, IHOP will celebrate October by holding a daylong Scary Face Pancake giveaway for trick-or-treaters.

The pancake giveaway, for children 12 and under, will be from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. that day.

According to IHOP, parents can sign up at http://www.ihop.com for a wake-up call on Oct. 28 from "Count Spatula," who will remind them of the giveaway.

Christine des Garennes can be reached by phone at 351-5388 or 800-252-3346; by email at cgarenne@news-gazette.com; or by mail at The News-Gazette, c/o It's Your Business column, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-0677.

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