It's Your Business: Crossroads expanding

It's Your Business: Crossroads expanding

Crossroads Corner Consignment is expanding into another 5,000 square feet of the Whiteline Building in Champaign.

The new space is expected to open in late February or early March, with a "re-grand opening" for the business sometime in mid-March, said William Fleming, who co-owns Crossroads Corner with Kenny Lamm.

With that expansion, "the building is completely occupied. There are no empty spaces," Fleming said.

The remaining first-floor space of the building, owned by Janet Bubin, is occupied by El Toro restaurant, The Gaming Goat game shop and The Upper Bout guitar store.

Crossroads Corner already occupies 4,500 square feet in the southwest corner of the building at 723 S. Neil St.

Now the business is planning to occupy an additional 5,000 square feet on the building's north side.

"That will allow us to expand into vintage and designer clothing," Fleming said. It also gives the business an opportunity to expand both consignment and vendor space.

Other items customers can expect to find in the new space are artwork, jewelry and new retail gifts.

The original Crossroads space will continue to be devoted primarily to furniture and home decor, he said.

Altogether, Crossroads will have about 2,500 square feet of consignment space and about 7,000 square feet of vendor space, Fleming said.

Last week, Carrie Homann announced she will move her store, Carrie's Fabulous to Funky, from downtown Champaign to Crossroads Corner.

Homann said she'll occupy about 1,100 square feet of the new space, in addition to 600 square feet she already has in the existing Crossroads.

"We're shooting for a March 1 opening down there," Homann said. "I have until May 1 here to deplete extra inventory."

Homann, who sold her building at 204 N. Neil St., C, to Carlos Nieto in late 2012 and continued to lease space there, said she had planned to stay downtown for two more years.

But when she got the opportunity to expand within Crossroads, she jumped at it.

"We'll get back to the old JBJ feel," she said, referring to JBJ-The Collector Shop, which once occupied the entire Whiteline building. "Lots of people are renting space, and there's a lot of activity."

Fleming said Bubin plans to acquire land to the north for additional parking, which he said will be "handy" this spring.

Change of venue?

Exile on Main Street, the music and video game store in downtown Champaign's One Main Plaza, may leave that space later this year due to growing pains.

"Our 10-year lease with One Main will be up in November," said Jeff Brandt, the store's manager and co-owner. "We're not moving because we don't like it, but we've kind of outgrown the space."

You might be surprised to hear what products have proved so popular that they're crimping the space — vinyl records.

"Vinyl records have come more into fashion, and the space has shrunk because records are so much bigger (than CDs)," Brandt said.

"There's a misconception that they don't print new records, but (the fact is) they never stopped making records," he said. "In the last five years, there's been a large swing. Most everything comes out on vinyl now."

And yes, in addition to buying records at Exile on Main Street, you can buy phonographs, new and used, there.

Brandt estimated that music accounts for at least 60 to 70 percent of his business, while video games make up the rest.

There's a lot of seasonal variation to that mix since video game releases tend to be clustered in certain parts of the year.

Brandt said he hasn't decided where to move, but he'd like to stay in downtown Champaign, where many of his customers are.

Though nothing has been decided, he likes the idea of sharing space with G-Mart Comics, currently in the Lincoln Building at 44 E. Main St., C. Many of the two firms' customers overlap, he said.

Exile on Main Street, by the way, takes its name from one of Brandt's favorite Rolling Stones albums, released in 1972.

Off the tracks

Derailed 57, a new sports bar, has opened in the old Trader's World space at 57 Main St., in downtown Champaign — adjacent to Memphis on Main.

The sports bar marked its grand opening on Dec. 28, according to its Facebook page.

Its general manager is Jason Reda, former standout place-kicker for the University of Illinois football team. Reda played from 2004 to 2008.

New Verizon Wireless dealer

Russell Cellular has acquired the Verizon Wireless business formerly operated by Champaign Telephone Co., and is continuing to operate that business within Champaign Telephone's building at 1300 S. Neil St., C.

Nicole Valentine, operations manager for Russell Cellular, said two Champaign Telephone employees are transferring to Russell Cellular, and they'll be joined by four other Russell employees. John McPherson will be the local manager.

Russell Cellular, based in Springfield Mo., was established in 1993 and has more than 187 locations in 18 states. A Verizon Premium Retailer, it has about 700 full-time employees, according to its website.

With the change in ownership, the Verizon Wireless business will be open longer hours — 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Mike Hosier, owner of Champaign Telephone, said his company had been in the cellular business since 1988 when it became an agent of Ameritech Cellular, which later became Verizon Wireless.

Champaign Telephone will continue its other lines of business, including:

— Structured cabling for the telephone and data needs of business and enterprise customers.

— Phone systems for government entities, banks and other businesses.

— A competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) business that provides phone service to businesses and government entities.

— Internet service provider business, serving businesses and "multiple dwelling units" such as the Winfield Village cooperative.

Hosier said Monday was Champaign Telephone's last day in the cellular business and he decided to exit for several reasons.

He said Verizon likes dealers to have multiple locations, and Champaign Telephone had only one.

Also, Verizon Wireless had changed its structure for paying commissions and residual income. Consequently, Champaign Telephone found itself providing a lot of support and not receiving much compensation for it.

"It was a good business for us for years," Hosier said. But as Verizon Wireless made more changes, "it made it more clear to me that we needed to get out of the cellular business."

At one time, Champaign Telephone's Verizon Wireless business had a customer base of 16,000. Before the transaction with Russell Cellular, the number stood at about 6,000, he said.

Champaign Telephone has a staff of 50. It had four full-time employees devoted to the Verizon Wireless business, and the two not joining Russell Cellular will continue to work for Champaign Telephone in other lines of business.

Russell Cellular's new phone number is 369-5870. Champaign Telephone's number continues to be 344-4444.

Silver Mine anytime

Starting Monday, Silver Mine Subs at 612 E. Daniel St., C, will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for delivery, walk-in or carryout.

"We used to close at 3 a.m., and people would still try and come in and call for delivery while we were cleaning up to go home," said John Wilder, the local franchisee.

The same thing happened at 6 a.m., when the staff was starting the opening process for breakfast, he said.

"We probably should not have waited so long to do this," Wilder said.

Wilder said customers can order from Silver Mine's breakfast menu from 5 to 11 a.m.

New development in LeRoy

Jerry Nowicki, editor of the LeRoy/Farmer City Press, reports that Koehl Bros. Inc. is taking over operations at Automated Agri Systems, the grain storage, handling and drying equipment dealer in LeRoy.

Russ Bauer, the owner of Automated Agri Systems for 30 years, said his company had technology needs, and Koehl Bros. had the experience, interest and capital necessary to facilitate growth in the company.

As a result, Jason Luster and Jeff Fjelstul will be the new operators of the business at 508 N. Hemlock St., LeRoy.

Bauer and co-owner Larry Poppe planned to remain with the company a while to contribute to a smooth transition.

Koehl Enterprises already has locations in Fairbury and Maroa.

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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