It's Your Business: Gameday Spirit moves to North Prospect

Gameday Spirit will open a new store on Champaign's North Prospect Avenue to replace its store on West Springfield Avenue in Champaign.

The new store, at 2024 N. Prospect Ave., will be in the Champaign Towne Center between Target and the former Circuit City, said Gameday Spirit co-owner Tim Hoerr.

The new location is expected to open in mid-August, with a grand opening slated for Aug. 17-19, said Becca Stroot, Gameday Spirit's general manager.

It will have nearly triple the retail space of the store at 1615 W. Springfield Ave., C, which is expected to close by the end of this month.

Gameday Spirit, which will continue to operate its store in Campustown, bills itself as the "Official Fan Store of The Fighting Illini." It has held that designation since 2001.

Although 90 percent of the new store's merchandise will be Illini, the store will also carry merchandise of pro teams, such as the Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Bears, Chicago Bulls, St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs.

Eventually, the store hopes to arrange to carry the pro jerseys of former Illini athletes such as Deron Williams and Meyers Leonard, Hoerr said.

The move to North Prospect came about after the business was given a year's notice on its West Springfield lease, Hoerr said.

Gameday Spirit's screen-printing operation, warehouse and office is also located on West Springfield, and those are expected to move to a new location next January, Hoerr said.

Stroot said she expects the new store to employ five to 10, and the company is hiring for some positions. The new store's phone number is 355-7499.

Gameday Spirit's co-owners include Hoerr, Steve Vogelsang and David Hodge.

JCPenney's stores within a store

Look for JCPenney to open its "stores within a store" this Wednesday at Champaign's Market Place Shopping Center.

Separate Levi's stores for men and women have been built inside JCPenney, as have separate Arizona Jean stores for men and women, said JCPenney Store Leader Carrie Bryl.

JCPenney has also added the Buffalo brand of denims and tops for men and women, but no construction is associated with that line of merchandise, she added.

Also, JCPenney is offering free kids' haircuts in its salon throughout August. The free cuts apply to children up to the sixth grade, Bryl said.

JCPenney announced the "stores within a store" concept last January, saying it planned to open a series of 80 to 100 brand shops within its stores. At the time, the company said it intended to install two to three shops monthly over a four-year period.

Bratwurst cooking today

Johnsonville Sausage is bringing its Big Taste Grill to Champaign today to grill up brats to benefit a high school band.

The Big Taste Grill — a semi-truck-sized grill — will be parked at the County Market store, 2901 W. Kirby Ave., C, from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. today.

The grill, which measures 65 feet long and 6 feet wide, has the capacity to cook 2,500 brats an hour.

Store director Mike Miskimins said folks can buy a bratwurst for $2 — or a combo of bratwurst, chips and drink for $3. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Champaign Centennial Band and Band Boosters, he said.

Hardee's to resurrect restaurant

Look for the Hardee's fast-food chain to reopen its store near Parkland College in Champaign.

Hardee's once operated a store at 1806 W. Bradley Ave., C. But in 2006, that was replaced by Windy City Express, which operated a restaurant there until 2009, when it moved to Urbana.

Building owner David Scrima said last week that a major Hardee's franchisee has leased the property. A building permit was recently issued for the renovation.

Scrima said he didn't know when the Bradley Avenue store is expected to reopen, but he said other properties renovated for Hardee's have typically taken about 3- 1/2 months to get in shape.

Hardee's already has a store at 1703 S. Neil St., C. Other area stores, according to the company's website, are in Danville, Rantoul, Clinton, Paxton, Monticello, Sullivan, Mattoon and Paris.

Buca di Beppo update

Buca di Beppo still plans to open a restaurant inside Market Place Shopping Center, even though construction hasn't begun, mall manager Dennis Robertson said.

In February, the popular chain announced it would open restaurants at 10 malls owned by General Growth Properties, including Market Place. At that time, the opening was projected for late summer.

Robertson said he understands the restaurant is likely to open about six weeks after construction begins.

Buca di Beppo is slated to occupy the former Pasta House space near the mall's food court.

The restaurant chain, which has more than 90 locations in the U.S., England and Mexico, is owned by Planet Hollywood International. The chain offers casual, sit-down Italian dining in a fun atmosphere.

In the meantime, Market Place shoppers in the mood for something new can watch for Teavana, which is expected to open Aug. 17 between Francesca's Collection and Pandora in the mall's JCPenney wing.

Teavana, which sells bulk and loose tea, hot and frozen tea drinks, teapots and tea accessories, has 150 locations in the U.S. and Mexico.

Lab makes a move

Jewelry Lab — which has been at 7 Convenience Center Road in Champaign since 2001 — has moved inside Market Place Mall.

The jewelry repair business, owned by Seng Soutchay, is in the Bergner's wing of the mall, and its business hours are the same as the mall's hours.

Jewelry Lab provides in-house, one-hour jewelry repair services as well as watch battery service. It also buys jewelry ranging from sterling silver to 10-karat, 14-karat and 18-karat gold.

Jewelry Lab's phone numbers are 355-2009 and 352-2927.

Village Wardrobe up for sale

Kate Boyer said she's looking for a buyer for Village Wardrobe, the children's consignment boutique in Monticello.

"I want to find an 'adoptive parent' for it to carry the torch," said Boyer, who opened the store at 111 S. State St. three years ago.

The store carries new items for children, as well as consignment items.

But Boyer said she is involved in two other businesses, Homer Soda Company and Toshware, and she needs to devote more time to Homer Soda, which has grown 400 percent so far this year.

Boyer said the company has shipped soda to Texas, Nebraska, New Hampshire and North Carolina, among other places.

"We're gaining customers all over," she said.

That includes a coffee shop chain in the Milwaukee area and an ice cream chain in Ohio.

Homer Soda distributes more than 100 varieties of soft drinks. Among the most popular products: Dang butterscotch root beer and Cheerwine, a cherry-flavored soft drink.

Now Homer Soda is offering store starter kits that display 36 and 72 flavors.

As for Village Wardrobe, Boyer said, "We're going to stay open if we don't find a buyer." Inquiries about the store can be emailed to info@villagewardrobe.com.

I.D.E.A, Store to expand hours

The I.D.E.A. Store, on the second floor of 28 E. Springfield Ave., C, will be open two hours longer on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, starting Aug. 15.

The store, which bills itself as a "creative reuse marketplace," will be open from noon to 7 p.m. those days. It currently opens at 2 p.m.

Saturday hours will remain 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The store — part of the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation — is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

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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