This spring, you can look for two Dressbarn stores in Champaign.
The women's clothing chain plans to open a new 7,000-square-foot store in Market Place Plaza, between Gordmans and Maurices.
The store is intended to replace the current Dressbarn at 712 W. Town Center Blvd., C.
But Kim Collins, regional sales manager for the chain, said the current store will remain open a while — even after the projected March 23 opening of the Market Place Plaza store — because the company is "still obligated" at Champaign Town Center shopping center.
The new store will follow Dressbarn's "white store" prototype, which the chain recently introduced. So far, the design has been used in fewer than 100 of Dressbarn's 850 locations, Collins said.
"It's much lighter and brighter and more feminine," she added.
The decor includes a pink-and-white color scheme, and the fitting-room area is adorned with chandeliers and scrollwork on the walls, she said.
The new store will offer the same size range and categories of clothing as the existing store, Collins said. Half the new store will be devoted to dresses, but it will also carry shoes, jeans, sweaters, outerwear and accessories.
Dressbarn primarily targets women 35 to 45 years old, "but we have customers at both ends of the age spectrum," Collins said, adding that mothers often bring in their daughters. Dress sizes range from 4 to 24.
Dressbarn chose to move to Market Place Plaza because neighboring tenants at its current location "are not that strong," Collins said. Linens 'n Things and Cost Plus World Market both closed, and Old Navy moved to Market Place Mall.
That left a big void in the shopping center, with Dressbarn left at one end and Men's Wearhouse at the other. But that should change soon, with H.H. Gregg appliances and Jo-Ann Fabrics scheduled to move in later this year.
In operating two stores, Dressbarn will need more staff, Collins said. So the chain is looking to hire three new managers and six to 10 new sales associates, who will be spread across both stores.
Dressbarn is part of the Ascena Retail Group, which also operates Maurices and Justice stores.
Even though the new store will be slightly smaller than the 8,000 square feet Dressbarn has at Champaign Town Center, "we're projected to do more business than the store we're in," she said.
Skinni Girl changes name
Sometime later this month, a City Girl Yogurt sign is expected to replace the Skinni Girl Yogurt sign at the Gateway Shoppes at Five Points in Urbana.
Amanda Yates, who opened the frozen yogurt shop in September, said she's making the change after receiving a letter from Skinnygirl Cocktails asking that she not infringe on their trademark.
Aside from that, her business — which offers multiple flavors of frozen yogurt — will remain the same.
Since the opening, Yates said, the shop has added hot fudge and other new toppings and is now offering quarts to go.
Hours remain the same, except that City Girl is closed on Sundays during the winter.
New suite of offices developed
Ramshaw Real Estate has recently renovated the second story of the building at 505 W. University Ave., C, for small office suites.
The building — which once housed McGladrey & Pullen, Applied Research Associates and most recently The PASS Program — became the home of Ramshaw Real Estate last summer, said John Carson, the company's property manager.
The second story has been remodeled for 25 offices ranging from 140 to 225 square feet, he said. Tenants share a common reception area, conference room and workroom.
Are you opening a new business or changing an existing business? Contact Don Dodson by calling 351-5227 or 800-252-3346; by email 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.