It's Your Business: Catering firm moving; new strip mall planned
Marble's Catering Service in Savoy will move to a new location at 104 W. Tomaras Ave. at the outset of the new year.
The location — formerly the home of the ABC Learning Center — has about 9,000 square feet, and Marble's will occupy the southern portion, said Richard Coyne, who co-owns the business with his wife, Frances.
They hope to lease out the rest of the space.
Marble's will continue to operate from its current location at 101 S. Dunlap Ave., Savoy, for the remainder of the year.
But that property, at the southwest corner of U.S. 45 and Church Street, has been acquired by Liautaud Development — which already owned two tracts to the south.
Savoy Village Manager Dick Helton said the village has touched base with Liautaud Development a couple times, but at this point doesn't know what plans the company has for the land or its timetable for developing it.
As for Marble's, it has a long history. Founded by Royce Marble about 40 years ago, the catering business was later sold to Lee Chesnut and eventually to Frances Coyne's mother and father, Katie and Dan Schrock, and sister and brother-in-law, Carol and Terry Mazure.
Frances Coyne started working for the business in February 1984, and she and husband Richard bought the firm in 2007.
Most of Marble's business is providing lunches for day care centers and private schools, Richard Coyne said.
But a year ago, the catering business also began providing box lunches Monday through Friday. A box lunch menu is available on its website, http://www.marblescatering.com.
In February, Marble's plans to begin offering carryout lunches Monday through Thursday, Richard Coyne said. They'll differ by the day, he said, and might include Italian beef, Cincinnati-style chili and chicken and noodles.
Carryout lunches will likely be available only from September to May, he added.
After the move, Marble's will continue to have its same phone number, 352-1112.
Strip mall on North Neil
Look for a strip shopping center called Neil Plaza to be built on North Neil Street across from Champaign's Market Place Mall next spring.
The site was most recently the home of East Buffet and, before that, Ginger Asian Bistro, Baker's Square and Denny's.
Demolition of the old East Buffet building was under way last week.
Steve Zhao, who is developing the strip shopping center, said it will have about 12,000 square feet.
He expects it to be divided into seven spaces, and three will likely be taken by a fast-food restaurant, a nail salon and a financial services firm.
Zhao said he hopes construction will get under way in early spring and be finished by June. It's expected to have 85 parking spaces.
Zhao, who lives in Springfield but also has a home in Champaign, said he has a strip shopping center in Springfield. He said he took over the Champaign property in 2009 and opened Ginger Asian Bistro. When that didn't work out, he leased the building to East Buffet.
Zhao said he thinks the location is ripe for a strip shopping center because there aren't many in that part of town.
"I think it will be a good opportunity," he said.
More 'market' in Urbana
The Urbana Business Association announced last week it will bridge the seasonal gap between the Holiday Market and Market at the Square by offering the "Middle Market" on the third Saturdays of January, February, March and April.
The market will be inside Lincoln Square Village from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Jan. 19, Feb. 16, March 16 and April 20.
Featured items will include baked goods, jewelry, dog biscuits and pet accessories, candles, soaps and body care items, plants and produce.
The association's executive director, Cynthia Johnson, said the Middle Market will feature many of the vendors from the holiday and summer markets. All items for sale will be made, grown or produced in Illinois.
Fewer vacancies downtown
Two vacant storefronts in downtown Champaign are expected to have occupants soon.
The former Trader's World building at 57 E. Main St., is getting a new front, with front doors more consistent with the building's history. Attorney Marc Miller said he expects a lease to be signed shortly, but declined to identify the prospective lessee.
Likewise, Miller said the first floor of the century-old Enterprise Building at the southeast corner of Main and Walnut streets is "no longer for lease." But he said he could not yet disclose who has signed the lease.
Contact Don Dodson at 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.