It's Your Business: Pfister Seeds moving to Champaign

It's Your Business: Pfister Seeds moving to Champaign

Seed company to move operations to Champaign

Pfister Seeds will move its sales and distribution office to Champaign from its longtime home in El Paso, Ill., on Aug. 1.

Pfister, which is owned by Dow AgroSciences, decided to move when another seed company purchased the facilities Pfister leased in El Paso.

"The idea of the University of Illinois being a large agricultural school was attractive, and the size of the city and the accessibility were all things we liked," said Jim Reifenrath, Pfister's assistant general manager .

Being in Champaign-Urbana will also give Pfister a greater labor pool to draw from, he said.

Pfister — pronounced "feaster" — will initially have 10 to 12 employees in its new office at 201 Knollwood Drive in south Champaign. Plus, it will have a field sales force of 20 to 25, Reifenrath said.

Most of the current employees will commute, and the company is looking to hire a staff accountant and sales support specialist.

Pfister also has a warehouse in El Paso, but those functions are expected to be divided between two locations — Grand Ridge, just north of Streator, and a location in Iowa, Reifenrath said.

Pfister Seeds was founded in the 1930s by Lester Pfister, a pioneer in corn hybrids. By 1940, farmers in 44 states and 30 countries were planting Pfister corn, according to a release issued when Dow acquired the company in 2009.

Buy-Sell-Trade opening in Urbana

A pair of Elvis Presley's sunglasses, a 1909 Harley-Davidson Model 5A motorcycle and a 1941 Indian Scout motorcycle were among the oddities on display as The Buy-Sell-Trade Store prepared to open this weekend at 105 E. University Ave., U.

It's the third Buy-Sell-Trade Store the Parsons family of Springfield has opened this year, according to Lance Stone, who works in retail management for their company, THR & Associates.

The first two were in Springfield and Jacksonville, and the Urbana store — at 10,000 square feet — is the biggest store so far, Stone said.

Stone said people should think of Buy-Sell-Trade as a place to bring all their unwanted items — not just gold, silver and musical instruments, but also blenders, lawn mowers, area rugs and cars.

In the store, shoppers can find sports memorabilia, vintage toys, tools, electronics, household goods and jewelry, he said. Most of the antiques are located toward the front of the store, but others are sprinkled throughout the area.

The store took over the space vacated by Blockbuster Video and Ohana Pools and Spas. Its merchandise is probably the most eclectic assortment there since the Huey's Store closed there in 1986 after a run of more than two decades.

Tone said the store has five employees and is managed by Barb Hipsher. Before the store opened its doors, it launched a "yard sale" on Thursday, selling used goods from a tent.

The phone number for Buy-Sell-Trade in Urbana is 954-1041.

Ella's Consignment Shop to close?

Ella's Consignment Shop in Urbana is tentatively scheduled to close Saturday , as a result of owner Karen Reitsma moving to Florida.

But Reitsma, whose nickname is "Ella," said she's still hoping to find a buyer for the store, located in Millhouse Plaza at 408 N. Race St.

The store, which carries furniture, home decor items and upscale women's clothing, including purses and shoes, opened in August 2010.

Reitsma said she has had consignors from as far away as Westville, Catlin, Penfield, Mansfield and Tuscola.

"It was really needed in Urbana," Reitsma said, noting that Champaign already had consignment shops when she opened.

Before Ella's opened, Reitsma had done accounting for nursing homes, and that's what she expects to do when she moves to Florida.

If the store doesn't sell by the end of this month, Reitsma said she'll close it for two weeks, then reopen for two weeks in late July for a final clearance sale.

"I've met so many wonderful friends here," she said. "It's sad to see it close."

Floral shop to blossom in St. Joseph

Sara Wilborn plans to open Sunvine Florist and Gifts at 101 S. Main St. in St. Joseph, probably in late July.

The shop will be a full-line floral shop, with gift items that include jewelry, candles, wind chimes and greeting cards, she said.

The building dates from the 1800s, Wilborn said, and formerly housed a dress shop and a Hallmark store, among other things.

But the changing rooms have been removed to make way for a floral cooler, and Wilborn said it's taken a lot of work to remove old wallpaper and treat the walls.

The name of the shop, Wilborn said, was inspired by fragrant flowering vines that attract hummingbirds. She said she plans to operate the shop with her daughter, Katie Williamson.

Eye Center moving to Shoppes of Knollwood

The Eye Center will move its Champaign office from 403 W. Windsor Road to the Shoppes of Knollwood on Monday, July 2.

The business will be located at 2151 S. Neil St. — south of Great Harvest Bread Company and north of Le Peep.

"We were growing too fast. There was not enough space for us," General Manager Bill Badie said of the 2,300-square-foot office on Windsor Road.

The Eye Center now has a 13-person staff, having doubling its size in the last two years. Dr. Samir Sayegh, an ophthalmologist, established the Eye Center, and another ophthalmologist, Dr. James Kresca, joined in January.

In addition to the office where patients will go at 2151 S. Neil St., the Eye Center is also taking space at 2143 S. Neil St., but that won't be used for patient care.

The phone number will remain 352-2020. The Eye Center also has an office in Danville, at 911 Harmon St.

Hudson Drug expanding in Paxton

Andy Hudson is expanding the Hudson Drug & Hallmark Shop in Paxton, according to Will Brumleve of the Paxton Record.

The shop, at 108 N. Market St., is expanding into the former Country Insurance & Financial Services space at 114 N. Market St.

Hallmark gift items will be housed in the new space, and the entrance to Hudson Drug will be shifted to that area. The pharmacy and over-the-counter drugs section won't change locations.

The Country Financial office recently moved to the former offices of the Ford-Baier Furniture Store in the State Street Mall.

LaVida to host special events

LaVida Massage, at 1812 Glenn Park Drive, C, will host a grand opening/open house event from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday.

Tours will be given, and refreshments and beverages will be served. There will also be giveaways, including a couples massage package.

LaVida massage will also host a fund-raiser on Saturday for the St. Jude's Champaign to Peoria Run. LaVida will offer chair massages from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with all proceeds going to the run. Barbecue and lemonade will be on hand, and several businesses will be represented there that day.

LaVida's phone number is 363-2811.

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