It's Your Business: Plans move ahead for downtown Champaign restaurant

It's Your Business: Plans move ahead for downtown Champaign restaurant

Lois Wacholtz and Christopher Jupp are moving ahead with plans to get a downtown Champaign building ready for a new restaurant and bar.

Work is expected to begin this week on the building at 122-124 N. Neil St. that houses Christopher's Fine Jewelry Design.

The restaurant and bar would not replace the jewelry store, but instead occupy an L-shaped space around it.

That 3,000-square-foot space would include the former Ippatsu salon space at 122 N. Neil St. as well as space behind the store that opens onto Taylor Street to the north.

It's the north facade of the building — on Taylor Street — that will receive most of the work.

A doorway will be added for the new restaurant-bar, and the outside stairwell leading to the below-ground jewelry store studio will be rebuilt to conform to code, Wacholtz said.

Also, three balconies will be added on the Taylor Street side for apartments on the building's second floor, she said.

First-floor windows on that side of the building will be replaced, and the facade will have "soft-toned colors," with the first floor darker than the second, she added.

Wacholtz said she has a "solid agreement" with the prospective operator of the restaurant and bar, but would not identify who's involved. She said she expects the restaurant to serve lunch and dinner.

Once the restaurant is open, Wacholtz said she expects the jewelry store to be surrounded with outside seating for patrons.

The facade work is expected to take as long as two or three months, she said.

Wacholtz and Jupp also own the Dandelion building just to the east at 9 Taylor St. She said a balcony will be added to that building for a second-floor apartment.

Plants for sale

Matthis Helmick has designs on opening a plant store in downtown Champaign.

The Champaign-Urbana native has launched a campaign on the indiegogo crowd-funding website in hopes of raising $17,000 for a store on Washington Street just east of Neil Street.

The store would be called Plant Mode and carry a variety of indoor plants, including tropicals and succulents, as well as home goods.

The merchandise would include plant supplies, terrariums, bud vases, ceramics, organic soaps, soy candles, wall art, tableware and welcome mats.

Helmick is a longtime downtown denizen, having worked as a disc jockey and bartender and for the Dandelion vintage clothing store for four years.

In 2004, he moved to Chicago and worked eight years for Sprout Home, a home and garden store, much of that time as a manager.

Now, he's back in Champaign-Urbana and hoping to have Plant Mode up and running by late August or September. Hours of the store are expected to be 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

Details of Plant Mode's crowd-funding campaign can be found at

The campaign is scheduled to run through Aug. 7. As of Thursday, about $3,000 of the $17,000 goal had been raised.

Knollwood gains sparkle

Kari Smith plans to open Champaign Jewelers at 2223 S. Neil St., C, in the Shoppes of Knollwood sometime this week.

"We're going to have fine jewelry, diamonds, engagement rings, wedding rings, color gemstones, sterling silver fashion jewelry and University of Illinois-themed styles exclusive to our store," she said.

Smith, a Graduate Gemologist through the Gemological Institute of America, worked as a manager for a local jewelry store the last 14 years.

"It was time," she said of the decision to open her own store. "The opportunity presented itself."

Smith said she plans a "soft opening" this week and a "grand opening" in early August.

Champaign Jewelers will offer custom design, remaking older pieces and custom-designing new pieces, she said. The store will offer repair service, though not in-house.

The business will also have free jewelry cleaning and inspection and will offer appraisal services, she said.

Pueblo coming to Paxton

Correspondent Carol Thilmony reports that a new Mexican restaurant is preparing to open in Paxton.

Pueblo Lindo is planning to operate in the former Country Thyme Tea Room space at 124 W. State St. The tea room has since moved to a new location at 595 S. Elm St. in Paxton.

The Mexican restaurant will be operated by Mikki and Miguel Rebollo, who already operate two restaurants in Mattoon and one each in Arthur and Hoopeston.

The Paxton restaurant is expected to open by early fall. Hours are likely to be 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Pueblo Lindo plans to serve alcohol and will have a small banquet room that can be used for private parties or family get-togethers. The children's menu is expected to include some American items.

Building owner Kevin Marshall extensively remodeled the building in 1997, and more remodeling is under way to accommodate the Mexican restaurant.

Stylish studios filling up

The Salon House is up and running in southwest Champaign.

As of last week, the business at 2918 Crossing Court, C, was home to six hairstylists, a nail studio and a medical spa that does cosmetic tattooing.

Those eight businesses occupy seven studios, and CEO Bryan Batstone said another seven to 12 studios are available.

The Salon House is marketing them to stylists and hopes to have them filled by September, he said. The business is looking for a massage therapist/esthetician to take one studio.

Batstone and his wife, Lisa, plan to duplicate The Salon House concept elsewhere. They expect to start construction on a Bloomington location in September and later open sites in Springfield, Peoria and the Orland Park area,

"We plan to expand rapidly," Bryan Batstone said. "Within two years, all those sites should be open."

In addition to leasing studios to the stylists, the Batstones give them tips and advice, provide them help with accounting and offer a continuing education calendar.

Bryan Batstone said he handles administration and finance and manages construction and marketing, while Lisa procures stylists and provides support services.

Batstone, who is from the United Kingdom, said his wife has been a cosmetologist for 32 years and he has been in the hair care supply business for 27 years.

In addition to founding The Salon House, they have a traditional hair salon in the town of Haverfordwest in Wales, he said.

Store opens in Mansfield

Kelly Youngblood of the LeRoy-Farmer City Press reports that a new boutique has opened in Mansfield.

Junque & Jewelry Boutique is located at 101 N. Jefferson St., in the same building as Three-Toad Treasures Funky Junk Shop.

The boutique, owned by Debbie Huls, carries jewelry, handbags and home accessories.

Junque & Jewelry is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and Huls said she also hopes the store will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Blowout salon debuts

BJ Grand Salon & Spa has added a salon within a salon.

The new salon — called the do. Blowout Salon — is located inside BJ Grand at 3006 Crossing Court, C.

Unlike traditional hair salons, there is no hair cutting or coloring at the blowout salon — just professional blowouts, which are essentially a shampoo and blow-dry with styling.

"Blowout salons or bars are very popular in larger metropolitan cities like New York, Chicago and St. Louis," said Vickie Landess, director of operations for BJ Grand.

The blowout salon uses shampoos and conditioners from do. Active Products. The salon features seven different styles, with blowouts typically lasting a matter of days.

Mediacom goes digital

If you're a Mediacom cable customer with an older TV, you may not be able to get some of your favorite channels, beginning Tuesday, unless you get a digital adapter.

On Tuesday, Mediacom plans to remove analog signal reception for channels 16-78, leaving digital-reception only for those channels.

In recent weeks, area customers have received more than 16,500 digital adapters. Mediacom is providing the adapters at no cost through July 31, 2014.

Mediacom customers affected by the change include those in Rantoul, Mahomet, Fisher, Gifford, Ludlow, Thomasboro, Gibson City, Paxton, Melvin, Loda, Bayles Lake, Clinton, Farmer City, Weldon, Bement, Deland, Mansfield, LeRoy, Bellflower and Saybrook.

In a related move, Mediacom plans to introduce 40 new high-definition channels in early August, boosting the total number of high-definition channels above 100.

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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