Jet's Pizza should be landing in Champaign in mid-February.
The fast-growing chain plans to open a store at 512 S. Neil St., C, in part of the space vacated by Hollywood Video.
Jet's, based in Sterling Heights, Mich., is probably best known for its deep-dish square pizza. It has more than 200 franchises in 13 states, and the Champaign location will be its first in downstate Illinois.
The local franchise is operated by Wiese Enterprises, a venture of former General Motors employee Pat Snack and her son, Don Wiese of Danville.
Snack, who grew up in the Georgetown area, was a materials superintendent for General Motors Powertrain. She was twice assigned to the Tilton facility, most recently from 1988 to 1995.
"I have a lot of good memories from when I was raising my boys down there," said Snack, who now lives in Michigan. "Jet's wasn't in that area ... and I wanted to be part of that community down there."
Her son Don — a probation officer in Vermilion County for the last 10 years and a case manager in human services before that — will be general manager for Jet's in Champaign.
Wiese said the Champaign store will offer takeout and delivery, with Jet's delivering to all of Champaign-Urbana.
In addition to deep-dish pizza, Jet's will offer thin-crust round pizzas, with 11 types of specialty pizzas as well as "build-your-own" options. Folks can choose from eight flavors of crust, according to the Jet's website.
Customers can even order pizza by the slice, Wiese said.
"We'll offer subs, salads, boneless chicken, wings, several types of cheesy breads and their version of a calzone called a 'Deli Boat.' We also have a dessert called Cinnamon Stix," Wiese said.
Hours are likely to be 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays and 10:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. on weekends, he said. Folks can also order online.
"Online ordering is very large, and we expect we'll be utilized heavily by the campus," Wiese said.
The restaurant at Neil and Green streets is expected to employ about 30, part-time and full-time, he said.
Brothers Eugene and John Jetts opened the first Jet's Pizza in 1978 in Sterling Heights, Mich.
Franchising began in 1990. Today the chain operates in a swath extending from the upper Great Lakes to the Southeast. The closest stores to Champaign are in Indianapolis and the Chicagoland area.
Wiese and Snack said they've been impressed by Jet's.
"It's a very good product, and I like the people who run it," Snack said. "It's a family-oriented corporation, and the franchisees like the fact they're a part of it."
Added Wiese: "We thought the product was high-quality and competitively priced. That made it a very appealing product for us."
The corporate website for Jet's is http://www.jetspizza.com.
Remember Archie Bunker's son-in-law?
Meatheads Burgers & Fries opened Friday in the former Blockbuster building at 1305 S. Neil St., C.
The chain prides itself on fresh Angus beef burgers, hand-dipped shakes and french fries hand-cut from Idaho potatoes.
Plus, you can get unusual toppings, including bacon, avocado, jalapenos, roasted red peppers and sauteed mushrooms, if you choose.
Not in the mood for a meathead? The restaurant offers other options, including a chicken meathead, a chili cheese dog and an avocado, lettuce and tomato sandwich.
Shake flavors include vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, mocha, Oreo and coffee with chocolate sprinkles.
This is the seventh Meatheads, joining two in Bloomington-Normal and four in the Chicagoland area — Naperville, Northbrook, Schaumburg and Willowbrook, said marketing manager Joe Sanders. The first opened in Bloomington in 2007.
Hours for the Champaign store are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Last week, Meatheads hosted pre-opening fundraisers for YMCA Gymnastics, the Crisis Nursery and the Champaign-Urbana Youth Hockey Association.
The phone number for the restaurant is 352-5555. The chain's website is http://www.meatheadsburgers.com.
On the move in Vermilion County
Allerton Supply Co. is moving its Ridge Farm plant to a new location north of town.
The company bought 10 acres to increase the size of the plant to meet customer demand for fertilizer, chemicals and application services.
Eventually, all the Ridge Farm operations will be moved to the new site.
Ron Mowen, general manager for Allerton Supply, said the new plant should be operational by March 1. Brian Sheehy is manager for the Ridge Farm location.
Auld lang syne
A couple area businesses bowed out at the close of 2011, after long runs of service.
Ernie's Brake Shop and Garage in St. Joseph closed its doors Dec. 31. Owner Ernie Goyne, 74, started the business in 1970, but has worked as a mechanic since 1955, according to Nora Maberry of The Leader.
In early December, Goyne decided to retire after it took him three days to recover from a brake job on a truck.
Dr. John F. Couillard closed the Eyecare Associates office in LeRoy on Dec. 31.
"It is hard to believe it has been 33 years since I started here," the optometrist said in a letter to patients.
Couillard will continue to serve patients at the Eyecare Associates office at 2103 E. Washington St. in Bloomington.
He said the closing of the LeRoy office was due partly to the retirement of one of his partners. Couillard also noted his wife recently retired, giving them the opportunity to travel and visit grandchildren more often.
Are you opening a new business or changing an existing one? Contact Don Dodson at 351-5227 or 800-252-3346; by email at email@example.com; or by regular mail at The News-Gazette, c/o It's Your Business column, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-0677.