It's Your Business: Savoy 16 to be an IMAX theater

It's official: The big screen going into the Savoy 16 theater complex will be an IMAX, says Heath Thomas, regional manager for Goodrich Quality Theatres.

Representatives of Carmike Cinemas, which operates the Beverly 18 in Champaign, and Goodrich, which operates the Savoy 16, both confirmed last week that they plan to add an auditorium with a big screen.

Thomas later got word that Savoy's new big-screen auditorium will be an IMAX.

The closest IMAX theaters to Champaign-Urbana are in Peoria, the Indianapolis area, the Chicago metropolitan area and Edwardsville.

Thomas said Peoria's auditorium was retrofitted for IMAX, while Savoy's will be "purpose-built" to meet IMAX specifications.

The IMAX auditorium will be added to the south end of the Savoy 16, and an existing auditorium will be converted to provide more restrooms and a birthday-party room.

The concessions area in the middle of the Savoy 16 lobby will be reconfigured to occupy one side of the lobby, and renovations will also be made to the building's exterior.

Work is expected to get under way in mid- to late August, with completion targeted for mid-January, Thomas said. When done, the IMAX au-ditorium is expected to accommodate 500 to 600 people.

IMAX is a projection system developed by the IMAX Corp. that makes possible images of greater size and resolution than conventional projection systems. Early systems were featured at world's fairs. Today there are more than 500 IMAX theaters around the world.

Stroll down Memory Lane

If you're nostalgic for downtown Champaign the way it used to be, pop into the lobby of the Executive Center, 115 N. Neil St., C.

On the walls you'll find 12 poster-size — or larger — photos of the W. Lewis & Co. department store that used to occupy that building.

You'll see the modern-day building in its early days — and its predecessor, destroyed in a 1915 fire, as well as dramatic scenes of that fire.

Look carefully, and you'll spot other downtown landmarks — the Hamilton Hotel that stood where the current Chicago Title Insurance office is; F.W. Woolworth & Co.; even a Kroger meats store.

Today the Executive Center office building is owned by Busey Bank. Don Schlorff, the bank's executive vice president of facilities, said the photos went up as part of a recent refurbishing.

Ella's may get new life

Ella's Consignment Shop at 408 N. Race St., U, may not close after all.

Owner Karen Reitsma had planned to close the shop June 30 because she's moving to Florida. But Reitsma said a prospective buyer recently approached her, and if the deal goes through, Ella's will remain open.

The buyer would acquire rights to the name and to the inventory that Reitsma owns. Arrangements with consignors would continue as usual.

Casey's sneak preview

The new Casey's General Store in Urbana is expected to be much larger and offer more services than the current one at 2108 E. University Ave., U, according to Bill Walljasper, chief financial officer for the Iowa-based company.

As reported a couple weeks ago, Casey's is acquiring the former Champaign County Power Equipment site, just west of the current store.

No timetable for construction has been set yet, Walljasper said. But the store is expected to be about 4,600 square feet, or roughly 60 percent larger than the typical Casey's store.

Unlike the current store, the new store will have:

— Made-to-order sub sandwiches, with bread baked on site.

— An expanded coffee bar.

— Self-service ice cream.

— Additional cooler space, including a "beer cave" that customers can enter.

— A sit-down area for customers.

Walljasper said it's likely Casey's will sell the old convenience store, with restrictions on how it can be used.

Rantoul reshuffling

Matt Daniels of the Rantoul Press reports that Lindsey Lane Bridal will move to the former Busey Bank office at 200 E. Sangamon Ave., Rantoul, probably in September.

The bridal shop, which has been operated by Janet Brotherton since 2005, is now in the former train station at 107 N. Kentucky Ave. But Brotherton said the shop needs more space.

She plans to sell the old train station to her brother, Jerry King. He and his wife, Denise, expect to move their store, Route 136 Resale, to the front part of the train station — and probably change the store's name with the move.

Route 136 Resale is currently at 620 E. Champaign Ave. (U.S. 136) in Rantoul.

King said he plans to lease out the back part of the old train station to Beltone Hearing and Adecco temporary employment service — both of which have been located in the Mathews Business Centre, 201 E. Sangamon Ave.

Atkins additions

Several businesses have opened offices recently in the Atkins Building in the University of Illinois Research Park, according to Masha Trenhaile, vice president of operations at Fox Development Corp.

Both Cazoodle and Infobright are taking space in the building — formerly known as the Motorola building and later the Gateway Building — this week. Both firms had been housed in EnterpriseWorks, the park's business incubator.

Websafedeposit.com opened an office in the Atkins Building on June 11. That business has a Web-based product that helps organize, store and retrieve paper and digital documents, such as living wills, power-of-attorney documents, receipts, insurance policies and tax returns, according to Mark Snow, its CEO. Champaign will be the company's primary technology development office, and UI lecturer Susan Hinrichs will be key in the operation, Snow said.

Also moving in recently was Cline Financial Concepts, operated by investment adviser and financial planner Scott Cline of Tolono.

Moving to new space in the building was the Center for Foresight Leadership, a coaching and strategy leadership organization founded by Virginia Richardson.

The center will share space with the Illinois office of the Institute for Leadership in Medicine, of which Richardson is president and co-founder.

Goodbye to the Clarence grain elevator

Ludlow Cooperative Elevator Co. closed its grain elevator in the eastern Ford County community of Clarence on June 22, according to Shelbie Rottman of The Paxton Record.

Bruce Bastert, general manager of Ludlow Cooperative, cited several reasons for the closure, including the need for safety improvements and quality control issues.

Massive improvements were needed, he said, and the costs would be prohibitive. The cooperative has elevators at 10 other locations: Ludlow in Champaign County; Paxton, Perdueville and Piper City in Ford County; and Buckley, Danforth, Del Rey, Gilman, La Hogue and Loda in Iroquois County.

The Clarence elevator had been in operation for more than 80 years; Ludlow Cooperative bought it in 2002 from the Carson family.

Keith Carson, the elevator's manager, said family members had either owned or worked at an elevator in Clarence since the 1890s.

His father, John Carson, began working at the elevator in 1972, when the operation was known as Carson Grain.

The elevator is expected to be torn down in the next few weeks, according to the cooperative.

Pampered Pet stretches out

Pampered Pet Grooming and Dog Training, which has been located at 2 Henson Place, C, has expanded into the space at 4 Henson Place.

Owner Nada Cagle said the expansion allows the business to accommodate more big dogs.

The original space provided 10 rooms for small dogs and three rooms for big dogs. The additional 1,500 square feet will provide another three rooms for big dogs, she said.

Last year, Pampered Pet began offering expanded boarding and doggie day care services, in addition to dog and cat grooming and dog obedience training.

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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