It's Your Business: Coffee shop coming to Urbana

A new coffee shop, Cafe Zojo, is slated to open in April at The Pines shopping center in southeast Urbana.

The coffee shop, located next to Kinex Fitness Studios, plans to have its grand opening April 23, according to Teresa Baldwin, its managing partner.

Cafe Zojo will serve Intelligentsia coffee and feature guest roasters with a variety of blends, she said. The shop will also offer fresh fruit smoothies made with organic fruit and yogurt. (An earlier version of this story had the wrong name at the start of this paragraph.)

Also on the menu: soups, salads, sandwiches, breakfast items such as quiche, pastries, espresso drinks and plenty of "grab-and-go" foods.

Cafe Zojo's hours will be 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week, she said.

Baldwin said she grew up in Urbana and worked at a number of restaurants since she was a teen. After receiving a degree in elementary education, she elected to remain in the restaurant business.

The cafe's name is an amalgamation of her two cats' names — Zola and Jozy.

Cafe Zojo is expected to seat 35 to 40 people inside and also have seating on a covered patio out front.

During opening week, the cafe plans to offer free brewed coffee all week and other drinks for a dollar, Baldwin said.

Meanwhile in downtown Champaign ...

Aroma Cafe's new owners unveiled some of their new food offerings during the cafe's "grand reopening" this weekend.

Aroma, at 118 N. Neil St., C, still serves quesadillas, Cubans and chicken wraps — and the same kind of coffee.

But it has added dishes including braised short ribs with carmelized onions, chickpea salad with raspberry and pomegranate vinaigrette and several varieties of open-faced sandwiches, according to a release from the business.

As reported in this column Feb. 26, Aroma was recently purchased by Casey Hayasaki, who operates it with business partner Alex Niizuma.

Hayasaki, 30, is executive chef for Norwegian Cruise Lines' Hawaiian route and oversaw menus for the ship's 11 restaurants.

One of Hayasaki's culinary contributions to Aroma: "Sexy Toast." There's the avocado, boiled egg and thyme variety, and the artichoke, bacon and parmesan variety.

Hayasaki calls it sexy because "it stimulates all the senses."

Artist co-op to take new name

Look for the Shared Space artist cooperative in downtown Urbana to adopt a new name.

The co-op, which recently marked its second anniversary, plans to change its name to Eclectic: an artist co-op.

Its gallery at 123 W. Main St. features a variety of artwork including watercolor and acrylic paintings, charcoal drawings, glass, ceramics, photos, collages, beaded jewelry and cards.

Susan Pryde, director of Shared Space, said the new name is supposed to convey the message that the co-op offers unusual, one-of-a-kind arts and crafts.

The old name, she said, sounded like a place that rents studio or office space.

Pryde said more than 85 artists and crafters have been members of Shared Space, and 50 are members now. Sales in the past year were double what they were the previous year.

But rents have gone up, and sales "need to grow more in order for us to become self-sustaining," she said.

Pryde said she has secured a new domain name — eclecticartistcoop.com — but that web address is not yet operational.

The switch to the new name is expected to take place through April and be complete by May 1.

Employment Plus opens in Danville

One of the nation's fastest-growing staffing agencies has opened an office in Danville.

Employment Plus recently opened an office at 1001 E. Voorhees St., Suite C. Area Manager Pam Quinlan said the company plans to open additional offices in Champaign and Decatur in the next year.

The Champaign office is probably six months away, while the Decatur office will likely open next year, she said.

Employment Plus opened in Danville to fulfill contracts with a couple major employers in the area, Quinlan said. Both do manufacturing and distribution.

Andrea Gerber is the staffing manager, Michele Woods a staffing specialist and John Frazier the "partner on premises," putting associates in positions for client companies, Quinlan said.

Employment Plus — based in Bloomington, Ind., and started in 1993 — is opening 35 new offices this year, she said.

According to the company's website, Employment Plus has more than 100 offices nationwide, more than 300 full-time employees and more than 50,000 temporary associates a year.

The phone number for the Danville office is 431-7521.

More than sugar in this shack

If country and wilderness items appeal to you, you may want to mosey over to Sugar Shack Antiques, which will open next weekend in a rural setting north of Oakwood.

The shop, at the edge of Kickapoo State Park, is owned by Kim and Doug Marsh.

It features antiques, primitives, handmade quilts, old hunting and fishing items, Western items as well as antlers, horns and hides.

Like meat? Sugar Shack will also carry packaged meat from KD Ranch, where the Marshes raise buffalo and Texas longhorn cattle.

The meat selection is seasonal and includes elk, deer, bison and Texas longhorn beef.

A grand opening for the shop is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 7 and 8. After that, the shop will be open only the first weekend of each month, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. — or by appointment.

"If things progress and we grow in a good direction, we'll entertain the possibility of being open more," Kim Marsh said.

Sugar Shack Antiques is at 9912 E. 1980 North Road in Vermilion County. To get there, take the Oakwood exit off Interstate 74 and head 2 miles north on County Road 850 E, then turn right on County Road 1980 N and go about a mile east.

Look for a bright red pole barn with a white roof and a long front porch with chairs and gliders — that's the "shack."

The shop's phone number is 260-9713. In addition to regular hours, appointments can be arranged.

Are you opening a new business or changing an existing one? Contact Don Dodson at 351-5227 or 800-252-3346; by email at dodson@news-gazette.com; or by regular mail at The News-Gazette, c/o It's Your Business column, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-0677.

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Orbiter wrote on April 01, 2012 at 6:04 pm

"Kinex will serve Intelligentsia coffee and feature guest roasters with a variety of blends"

Wait, I'm confused. I thought the name of the coffee shop is Cafe Zojo, and that it is located near Kinex Fitness Studios.  Is the plan that the fitness center will also serve the coffee from the Cafe?  And where does Intelligentsia coffee come from, I've never heard of that brand or style.

Vicious Aloysius wrote on April 01, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Intelligentsia coffee is from Chicago. Currently, Urbana businesses Cafe Paradiso and Art Mart both use Intelligentsia for their brewed coffee and sell their whole beans. I'm sorry if this sounds snarky, but you presumably have a computer with internet access if you wrote a comment for this story. You might try entering "Intelligentsia Coffee" at http://www.google.com to find out the information you seek.  

Orbiter wrote on April 01, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Your explanation is very useful, it's a shame the reporter didn't offer it in the story. Although a search engine might have revealed that such a brand comes from Chicago, it's unlikely the connection to Paradiso or ArtMart would have been found. 

Pardon me for sounding snarky, but a news story should offer relevant information related to the topic of the story, and not require readers to consult the google at the interweb to make sense of it.  I'm still trying to understand why it's relevant that Kinex Fitness Studio is serving coffee.

MadGasser wrote on April 01, 2012 at 11:04 pm
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I have bed waiting for a coffee shop to come to Urbana for years and while I am glad one has finally decided to call Urbana home I am at the same time disappointed with the chosen location. I would have prefered to see it come to downtown Urbana where it would be be more accessible by foot. Also, the brand of coffee they're gonna be offering isn't that good. Why not use the local roastery? Their coffee is much better in my opinion.