It's Your Business: Hy-Vee grows in Illinois; Mahomet sub shop open

It's Your Business: Hy-Vee grows in Illinois; Mahomet sub shop open

Could there be a Hy-Vee in C-U's future?

The Iowa-based supermarket chain has begun work on a store in Springfield and recently announced plans for a store in Bloomington and a second store in Peoria.

Company spokeswoman Ruth Comer said Hy-Vee doesn't "have anything put together" for Champaign-Urbana, but said the Champaign area is a lot like communities where Hy-Vee already operates.

In Springfield, Hy-Vee is reusing parts of a former Kmart on MacArthur Boulevard, and in Bloomington, the supermarket wants to renovate a former K's Merchandise Mart on Veterans Parkway. Both are expected to open in 2014.

In each case, the company plans 90,000-square-foot stores. Hy-Vee stores that size typically employ more than 400 people — with about 30 percent of them full-time workers and 70 percent part-time, Comer said.

Hy-Vee, a privately held, employee-owned company that has 233 stores in eight Midwestern states, has restaurants and pharmacies in its largest, newest stores.

Within the last year, the chain has included bars inside the restaurants that serve wine and beer either as a part of a meal or separately, Comer said.

The chain got its start in 1930 when Charles Hyde and David Vredenburg began operating a small general store in southern Iowa. They ended up acquiring other stores, and eventually the groceries adopted the Hy-Vee contraction of their names, Comer said.

Hy-Vee stores operate autonomously, with local management given considerable latitude in pricing, sales and product selection, Comer said.

While Bloomington-Normal would be on the eastern edge of Hy-Vee's territory, the chain extends as far west as Kearney, Neb., and as far south as Springfield, Mo.

New sub shop in Mahomet

Doug Bewley has opened Doughbelly Subs at 201 N. Lombard St. in Mahomet. For those unacquainted with street addresses there, the shop is on the west side of Illinois 47, just south of Apollo Mart.

"We don't use any processed or pre-cooked meats," Bewley said. "We slow-roast ham and roast beef here and use well-seasoned fresh poultry to make our sandwiches."

Plus, Doughbelly uses a specialty bread known as pretzel bread.

The restaurant offers hot and cold sandwiches, wraps and salads, seasoned french fries, house-made potato chips, milkshakes and fountain drinks.

Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. seven days a week, and Doughbelly has a dining room and drive-up window. Bewley said the shop, which opened June 6, has about 30 employees.

Bewley, who lives in Monticello, also operates Professional Aquarium Services, which does aquarium cleaning for commercial and residential customers.

He said he was attracted to the Mahomet location for Doughbelly because it's close to Interstate 74, enjoys good local traffic and offers the drive-up option.

The store's phone number is 590-0246.

Salon at the Pines

It didn't take long for the Wines at the Pines space to fill up.

Bouffant Salon plans to open Monday in the space at The Pines shopping center in southeast Urbana that Wines at the Pines vacated in late April. The spot is south of The Little Gym and north of Milo's.

The hair salon, owned by Ashlee Bialeschki and Hillary Warner, will have eight stylist stations.

Hours will be 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and by appointment only on Monday. The shop is closed on Sunday.

Bialeschki has been a stylist for seven years, the last six at John George Salon in Savoy. Warner has been a stylist for five years, the last three at John George.

Bialeschki and Warner have been friends since high school, and Bialeschki said it's been their dream to own a salon since becoming stylists. They'll provide hair care for men, women and children and carry Redken, Surface and Moroccan Oil products.

The phone number for the salon at 2860 S. Philo Road, Suite L, is 693-7481. The website is

Wireless Mike's moves

The first tenant in the SARUS Galleria on South Neil Street in Champaign could open as early as this week.

Wireless Mike's plans to move its store from 501 S. Mattis Ave., C, to 2116 S. Neil St., C, as early as Monday, said Mike Gerkin, owner-president of Wireless Mike's.

Gerkin said he felt the spot was "retail-friendly," had good traffic count and was likely to be approved by Verizon Wireless, for which Wireless Mike's is a premium retailer.

Gerkin said he expects the store to expand its product line and hours as a result of the move.

Wireless Mike's opened in the Round Barn Centre area of Champaign in November 2000 and moved to the Mattis Avenue site about three years later.

The chain has seven other stores, with one each in Urbana, Clinton, Charleston, Shelbyville and Robinson and two in Mattoon.

In addition to selling phones and smartphones, Wireless Mike's sells Xfinity packages for Comcast and repairs most cellphones, Gerkin said.

The store's phone number remains 356-9300.

Sandwiches in Camargo

Correspondent Amy Rose reports that Thompson's General Store in Camargo has begun serving grilled cheeseburgers and pork tenderloins from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays and Saturdays, except for Wednesdays, when serving hours are 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

There are a couple tables outside the store where folks can sit and enjoy the sandwiches.

The store, owned by Jack Thompson, recently added packaged beer and is planning to add wine as well, according to his daughter, Jamie Thompson, who manages the store at 109 Main St.

'It's Your Biz' 70 years ago

With the recent sale of Shelby Motors to new franchisee Dave Taylor, Robert Shelby — now living in Sun Lakes, Ariz. — took time to write about the early days of the business:

"In 1942, my father, Mervin Shelby, was service manager at the local Dodge dealership. When it was offered for sale, Dad decided to buy the business. He got a bank loan, and I added some money that I had saved.

"We built a new building at 408 S. Neil St. in Champaign. I was 16 at the time and worked there until I graduated from high school and went into service.

"When I came out of the Navy in 1945, I went back to Shelbys and was sales manager and helped any way I could, while finishing college. I was there for 10 years when Dad and I had a falling-out so I went to Florida and started a hearing-aid business.

"It was doing well, but in 1960, Dad had a stroke and could no longer work. The factory asked me to run the business, or they would cancel the franchise.

"I was dealer-principal from 1960 to 1978. During that time, I acquired Toyota and Mazda for Shelby Motors and started a leasing business which I gave to my son, Mike, who had started working there.

"In 1978, I had some health problems and decided to move to Arizona, so I sold the business to my brother Richard, who eventually sold it to Mike. Mike moved the business to (the area near) Market Place and built a new building where the business is still located."

Shelby said he's proud of his part in building the business and wishes the new owner of Champaign Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram "success in every way."

American Freight open

American Freight Furniture and Mattress opened June 14 at 2002 Glenn Park Drive, C — about a month earlier than initially indicated.

It's the 83rd American Freight store in the U.S. and the second in Illinois.

The store gets furniture through factory closeouts, dealer cancellations, wholesale liquidations and retail chain buyouts.

American Freight carries house brands such as Stewart and Hamilton as well as name brands such as Simmons.

New Drew's

Jose Bezerra reports that the new Drew's Pizzeria has opened at 508 E. Green St., C, serving made-from-scratch pizza as well as sandwiches and wings.

Bezerra, the owner, said he has more than three decades of pizza-making experience in Champaign.

The shop is open from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday for takeout. Delivery orders can be placed by calling 384-7000 or online at

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.

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