It's Your Business: Longtime film lab closing downtown

There's been a photo lab at the corner of University Avenue and Chestnut Street in downtown Champaign for more than 40 years.

But that history is due to come to an end Oct. 18 when Lissa Raybon closes Better Image Film Lab.

"With computers, people just don't get prints done anymore," Raybon said.

Better Image makes enlargements from prints, negatives, slides and digital files. It copies and restores old photographs, and it transfers images from old slides and prints onto CDs and DVDs.

But demand for those services has gradually declined.

"With everyone owning a computer and digital camera, they're putting their pictures on computer," Raybon said. "Year by year, we lost business and people lost interest in the quality of printing."

After the store closes, Raybon said she plans to move to the Buffalo, N.Y., area and continue providing some services (but not enlargements) through the firm's website, betterimagedigital.com.

At one time, her business employed 10 to 12 people, but for the last couple years, it has been just her.

Better Image occupied the entire building at 44 E. University Ave., C, until a couple years ago, when it moved to the southern portion.

In November, Jon's Pipe Shop is expected to move from Campustown and occupy the whole building.

Raybon, who went to graduate school at the University of Illinois for photography, got the opportunity to buy Key Color Lab in Urbana in 1993. She renamed the business Downtown Colorworks. Four years later, she bought Jon's Film Lab in downtown Champaign.

She adopted the Better Image name and eventually combined the two businesses at the Champaign location.

Raybon said Jon's Film Lab had been in business at that location since 1969.

"I would like to thank the community for supporting the business as long as they did," she said, adding she'll miss seeing friends.

Disc-ounts on North Prospect

Disc Replay, a store that will sell used movies, video games and electronics, is setting up shop at 2012 N. Prospect Ave., C.

It's in the strip shopping center between Lowe's and Target. Sally Beauty Supply is immediately north of the store, and the former Circuit City is just to the south.

This is the 33rd location for Disc Replay, which has stores throughout Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Kentucky. Twenty-five are franchise locations.

John Chesny, founder of the company, said the Champaign store probably won't have a grand opening until the second week of November, when it's expected to start selling items.

In the meantime, the store is open daily to buy inventory from people willing to part with their movies, video games and electronics.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. No appointments are needed.

Alan Jackson of Carmel, Ind., is franchisee for the local store. He also has franchise stores in Springfield; Lafayette, Ind.; and Mishawaka, Ind.

Disc Replay was founded in the Chicago suburb of Westmont in 1994, and today is based in Naperville. Chesny said the chain initially focused on music, selling used compact discs, before migrating to movies on DVD and video games.

The used electronic equipment it sells includes iPads, iPhones, Kindles and Nooks, Chesny said. The chain also carries some new merchandise, primarily electronic accessories.

Chesny said Disc Replay is designed to be a family entertainment store where "everyone can afford entertainment." The stores carry DVDs for $2.88 each and video games for less than $5, he said.

On average, a Disc Replay store has 25,000 items in stock, and because the chain buys from the public, "rare" and "out-of-print" items are often available, he said.

Jackson said the Champaign store is 3,240 square feet and is expected to have 25,000 items when fully stocked. The store plans to employ nine to 10 people, and most are already hired.

John Foster is the store's manager. The local phone number is 607-0851.

Common Ground update

As of last week, Common Ground Food Co-Op was considering three or four possible locations for the new store it hopes to open in Champaign-Urbana, General Manager Jacqueline Hannah said.

The cooperative announced last June that it wants to open a second store similar in size to its 11,000-square-foot store at Urbana's Lincoln Square.

The possible locations have "different levels of complexity and availability," Hannah said, and it will likely be 2014 before Common Ground moves forward with a site.

She said the cooperative's board must confirm the financial feasibility of the project before entering lease negotiations for properties.

Cassel Home Comfort heats up

Mahomet Citizen Editor Amelia Benner reports that All Seasons Heating and Air Conditioning has been succeeded by Cassel Home Comfort.

Lon Cassel is general manager of the newly formed residential heating and cooling company, and Fred Peterson, the longtime owner of All Seasons, is operations manager.

Cassel, the former owner of Chief Bauer Heating and Air Conditioning in Champaign, has 45 years of experience in the business and has owned seven companies in four states.

He spent 15 years as a consultant before returning to Champaign County.

Employees of All Seasons kept their jobs at Cassel Home Comfort, and Cassel said he's considering hiring two more technicians soon.

The biggest change for customers, Cassel said, is "$79 anytime" calls, with no overtime fees charged for night and weekend calls.

All warranties and guarantees issued by All Seasons will be honored, Peterson said.

Cassel said plans for the coming year include opening an office in Champaign and doubling the size of the business.

Reynolds Towing expands

Reynolds Towing Service, with locations in Urbana, Mahomet and Monticello, recently expanded to the Farmer City and LeRoy areas.

Susan Jepsen, chief financial officer of Reynolds Towing Service, said the company on Sept. 1 acquired Quinn's Towing in Farmer City from Jim Quinn. Quinn will continue to operate his auto repair business there.

The phone number for Reynolds Towing Service in Farmer City is 309-928-9821, and the phone number in LeRoy is 309-962-2334.

Jepsen's brother, Greg Reynolds, is president of Reynolds Towing Service.

Short move

InsureChampaign has moved to a space just north of its former office at 1704 S. Neil St., C.

The firm remains in the same building, but is now located in Suite A. The phone number is still 356-3111.

Inside The Salon House

The Salon House, which opened this summer in southwest Champaign, now has 10 studio owners operating from its quarters at 2918 Crossing Court, Unit D.

Each studio is leased to an independent licensed beauty professional with the freedom to run her business as she likes.

According to The Salon House's website, the professionals housed there now include: nail technician Belinda Spears of Nailed Perfection; medical spa professional Sheila Ozhayta of RN Ink; and hair stylists Britani Master of Newly Heads, Christina Walker of Beautiful Reflections, Jacinta Story of JstylezHair, Monica Conrod of Beyond Beauty Studio, Stacie Langendorf of Stacie Marie's, Susan Haines of Studio H, Linh Hopkins of Appearances Hair Salon and Bronz Heaven of Precision Hands.

At The Salon House's recent ribbon-cutting, CEO Bryan Batstone announced that one of the studio owners at year's end will win an expense-paid trip to London in early 2014 to attend a training course at the Vidal Sassoon Academy. The winner will be determined by a drawing.

He also said beauty professionals who register and take a tour of The Salon House before the end of November will be eligible for a drawing for a $1,200 pair of professional hairdressing shears.

The Salon House in Champaign is the first of five such locations planned for central Illinois. Construction of the Bloomington site is expected toward the end of this year, with an expected opening date of spring 2014.

Service business launches

Teri Pfau has started At Your Service, a business that offers a range of services including interior and exterior painting; basement, attic and garage cleaning; carpentry; interior and exterior repairs; lawn and garden maintenance; furniture rearranging; and the setup or relocation of electronics, among other things. The phone number is 493-8253.

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.

Sections (2):News, Business
Topics (1):Entrepreneurs

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