It's Your Business: Firehouse Subs, El Toro plan new sites

It's Your Business: Firehouse Subs, El Toro plan new sites

Firehouse Subs plans to come to Champaign this spring, occupying the space next to Einstein Bros. Bagels at 803 W. Anthony Drive, C.

Einstein Bros. is in 2,400 square feet at the west end of the building, and Firehouse Subs will take the remaining 2,300 square feet, said Matt Wavering of Coldwell Banker Commercial Devonshire Realty.

Franchisee Johannes Lin of Brownsburg, Ind., already has a store in the Beech Grove area of Indianapolis and hopes to open in Champaign in early April.

Lin said he chose Champaign for his second location because "I loved the idea of operating in a college town. ... Champaign is a rapidly developing city with a lot of potential for business and a strong economy."

Firehouse Subs, which has more than 720 restaurants in the U.S., offers hot and cold submarine sandwiches, soups and salads.

Using the slogan, "Founded by Firemen," the chain plays on that theme for several of its menu items, including the Hook & Ladder and New York Steamer specialty subs, the Engineer sub, the Firehouse Hero and Firehouse Chili.

Based in Jacksonville, Fla., Firehouse Subs has locations in 39 states, with particularly heavy concentrations in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Texas.

Its 11 locations in Illinois are predominantly in the Chicago area, as well as in Springfield, Fairview Heights and Granite City.

Hours for the Champaign store are expected to be 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. The store will employ about 20, Lin said.

Firehouse Subs was founded in 1994 by two brothers, Chris and Robin Sorensen, who were former firefighters.

In 2005, the chain created the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, which has donated more than $8.3 million to first responders and public safety agencies over the last eight years.

'The bull' heads to Mahomet

El Toro Mexican Restaurant plans to open its newest location — in Mahomet — probably in mid-February.

The restaurant plans to take space at the east end of Eastwood Plaza, in the spots formerly occupied by The Coffee Shop and Azteca Mexican restaurant.

"We're hoping to be ready to open in six weeks," said Victor Fuentes, co-owner of the El Toro restaurants in Champaign, Urbana, St. Joseph, Danville, Rantoul, Monticello, Arcola, Bloomington, Cincinnati and Walton, Ky.

"We have a lot of customers who ask, 'How come you've never come to Mahomet?'" Fuentes said.

He said he looked at the community before, but either the timing or the location wasn't right.

Hours for the new restaurant at 703 Eastwood Center Drive are expected to be 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The restaurant will have a full bar, he said.

Once El Toro opens, the plaza will be filled, with Diamond Nails, The Wok, Sweet Designs bakery and Subway occupying the spaces to the west, shopping center owner Mark Kesler said.

What's next for Fuentes? He said he's interested in opening restaurants in the Peoria and Effingham areas, but doesn't have concrete plans at this point.

Coming to M2

Verdant Partners, which provides consulting and business brokerage services for agribusiness clients, plans to move its offices to M2 on Neil in downtown Champaign this spring.

Currently located at 2504 Galen Drive, C, Verdant Partners will relocate to the south end of the third floor at M2, adjacent to Chicago Title, said Cynthia Faullin, vice president of development for One Main Development.

Dean Cavey, managing partner of Verdant Partners, said he expects the move to occur about April 15. Seven people are slated to relocate into the 2,500-square-foot space.

Cavey said more than half of Verdant's business these days is international, reflecting the global nature of agribusiness.

The tax man cometh to Savoy

H&R Block recently opened a retail tax office at 1333 Savoy Plaza Lane, Savoy, and is planning an open house from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Those attending the open house can talk with tax professionals about tax law changes, tax planning and financial resources available through the office.

For more information about the open house, call 355-1040.

Two days marking 100 years

You can help the State Bank of Bement celebrate its 100-year anniversary this week.

On Thursday, the bank will host an open house at 180 E. Bodman St., Bement, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with cake, refreshments, commemorative coin set vouchers, live entertainment and a drawing.

On Friday, the bank will continue the celebration with an event from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Second Story Banquet Hall, 111 E. Bodman St., Bement.

Complimentary refreshments and hors d'oeuvres will be served that evening. A DVD showing images from historical bank albums will be played, and people will stroll about in period dress representing each decade of the last 100 years.

Bank memorabilia will be on display at both celebrations, said Tabitha Elder, the bank's marketing director.

Rubdown in Ashmore

Tonya Ealy recently opened Tonya's Therapeutic Massage at 401 W. Buckeye St. in the Coles County community of Ashmore.

Ealy, who graduated from Lake Land College's massage therapy program in May, offers different kinds of massage, including hot stones, cupping, deep-tissue, Swedish, prenatal and chair massage, plus hand waxing and body wraps.

Hours are by appointment, and the therapy can be done either at the business or at the client's home. The phone number is 822-6399.

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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