It's Your Business: Coffee, tea shop coming in summer

It's Your Business: Coffee, tea shop coming in summer

Watch for Boneyard Coffee and Tea to open a retail store at First and Chester streets in Champaign later this summer.

Lauren and Karl Klein, who operate the Latte Da cafes at the Champaign Public Library and at Carle's South Clinic in Urbana, launched the Boneyard Coffee and Tea line last year.

They sell the coffee and tea at farmers' markets in Danville and Monticello and also supply it to Pekara, the Urbana Free Library store and Walnut Street Tea Co.

Now they're preparing to open a shop of their own.

"It's going to be a retail store selling coffee and tea for home consumption and coffee and tea by the cup — not for sale, just for sampling," Lauren Klein said.

In other words, it won't be a cafe. In addition to selling coffee and tea, the store will also sell coffee- and tea-related gift items, such as teapots, coffee brewers and pottery, she said.

"We'll host coffee tastings and tea times and lots of educational classes," she said.

Klein said Boneyard carries four principal types of coffee: Rwandan, Ethiopian and Colombian decaf, as well as a house blend that has Rwandan coffee as its major constituent.

Boneyard also carries black teas, green teas, herbal teas, dark teas and a new purple tea that Klein says is high in antioxidants and has a pineapple-like flavor.

Klein said she and her husband "have always been coffee people." They initially worked together at a Barnes & Noble cafe in Florida and then operated coffee concessions in that state under the Latte Da name.

In 2006, they moved to Champaign, where Lauren Klein's grandmother, Jane Anderson, had lived.

Boneyard Coffee and Tea will operate from the Roland Building at 75 Chester St., C.

"It's just a cool spot on the corner," Klein said. "We love midtown (the name given to the area between downtown Champaign and Campustown) — it's an up-and-coming part of the community now."

Dance club coming

Downtown Urbana could soon be the home of a new dance club.

Recent University of Illinois graduate Jun Feng Ma and three of his friends plan to open A-Plus VIP Lounge in the former V. Picasso space at 214 W. Main St., U.

Jun Feng Ma described the lounge as an "Asian-style" venue with a disc jockey and dance floor. The place will play popular music and use state-of-the-art lighting systems, in hopes of attracting an upscale crowd, he said.

"We'll be serving food, and our hours will be mostly nighttime, probably from 8:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.," he said.

The lounge is expected to be open seven nights a week.

"We're doing a complete remodeling of everything," he said, adding it will likely take four months. He said he hopes it will be open in September or October.

New twist in ice cream

El Oasis, a Mexican ice cream shop, plans to open in the former Smoothie King location at 510 N. Cunningham Ave., U, sometime late this month or in early July.

Co-owner Mauricio Salinas of Champaign said the shop will also sell American ice cream. Mexican ice cream tends to have less sugar and more fruit than American ice cream, he said.

The shop will also have ice cream bars, water- and fruit-based ice cream and milk-based ice cream, he added.

Plus, it will carry other desserts and snacks, including Mexican sodas, natural yogurts and fruit.

"There are several (Mexican) ice cream shops in Chicago, and they are very well-known and very profitable too," Salinas said. "We don't have anything like that in Champaign-Urbana."

Hours are expected to be 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays, he said.

Salinas' partners in the venture include Adela Diaz and his sister, Yolanda Salinas.

Greener than ever

If certain parts of Champaign-Urbana look a little greener this summer, there's good reason.

More than 600 trees have been planted on Atkins Group properties this spring — about twice as many trees as the development company ever previously planted in a single season.

The most visible plantings were along Interstate Drive and Boardwalk Drive in north Champaign and along Stone Creek Boulevard in southeast Urbana.

Trees were also planted in the Clearview, Pinehurst, Apollo, Eastgate and Stone Creek Commons subdivisions and on several other Atkins properties.

Moore Trees, an Atkins company, had trees available and wanted to improve the aesthetics of the properties. Schuren Nursery in St. Joseph provided the labor and machines to install the trees.

Logo contest

The State Bank of Bement is sponsoring a contest to design a logo for the bank's upcoming 100th anniversary celebration. The prize: $100.

Drawings should be submitted in paper form to: State Bank of Bement, 100-Year Anniversary Logo Contest, P.O. Box 140, Bement, IL 61813, along with the contestant's name, mailing address and phone number.

Deadline for submission is Aug. 1.

The bank's board of directors will vote on the logo designs, and the winner will be announced Aug. 15.

The State Bank of Bement was chartered in 1914, and much of the bank's history is at the bank website, http://www.bankbement.com. Those needing further details can contact Tabitha Elder, the bank's marketing director at 678-2311.

Now hear this ...

Hometown Hearing & Audiology will celebrate its one-year anniversary in Champaign by donating custom ear pieces for the Champaign Police Department SWAT team's police radios.

The ear pieces are expected to allow for better hands-free communication between officers.

The Hometown office in Champaign is at 2305 Village Green Place, Suite D. Andy Bierbaum is the hearing instrument specialist there.

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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