It's Your Business: Brownfield Sports settling into Urbana location

It's Your Business: Brownfield Sports settling into Urbana location

Brownfield Sports has moved to the former English Hedgerow location at the southeast corner of Lincoln and University avenues in Urbana.

"We moved over the (July 4-6) weekend," said Kristi Brownfield, who noted the shop had been at Lincoln Square for 12 years.

The main motivation for the move, she said, was to get the firm's screen-printing, embroidery and retail operations under one roof.

"It seemed a good fit with one location and easier accessibility with a location just off University Avenue," she said.

Hours for the new location at 406 N. Lincoln Ave., Suite 1, U, are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The business is closed Sundays.

Mark and Kristi Brownfield founded the business 23 years ago, and today sons Matt and Ryne are working with them.

The screen-printing business started in a garage and moved to a warehouse on Poplar Street in Urbana before the Brownfields opened the retail store at Lincoln Square.

The new 3,000-square-foot store carries local high school apparel, clothing with recently rebranded University of Illinois athletic logos, plus clothes with logos of different UI units, such as the College of Business and College of Engineering.

The phone number for Brownfield Sports continues to be 367-8321.

First Fed to close branch

First Federal Savings Bank plans to close its branch office at Champaign's Country Fair Shopping Center on Nov. 1, the bank informed customers last week.

The lease for that branch at 1912 W. Springfield Ave. expires at the end of this year, and the bank figured that with the shift to mobile banking, fewer "bricks-and-mortar" facilities are needed.

"Over the last several years, it has become very clear that a shift to a mobile banking platform is where the bank should focus more to best serve customer needs," bank President George Rouse stated in a letter to customers.

All employees of the Country Fair location will be offered positions at the remaining First Federal locations — 1311 S. Neil St., C, and 301 W. Springfield Ave., U, he said.

First Federal's new mobile banking app, called Concierge, will offer mobile banking, mobile bill pay, mobile check deposit, text alerts and the ability to send money directly to friends, family or anyone.

Hot Pot on campus

Three entrepreneurs — Josh Yin, Edward Liu and Leary Qian — are cooking up plans for a new restaurant on Green Street in Champaign's Campustown.

The new restaurant, called Hot Pot Lab, is expected to open Sept. 26 on the main level of the new five-story apartment building at 112 E. Green St., C.

As reported in late June, the Campus Pantry convenience store will also take space in the building.

Josh Yin said the restaurant will offer Asian cuisine for lunch and dinner and late night as well.

"We have three parts of the menu. The main part is the traditional hot pot. We provide high-quality vegetables, and guests can choose combinations and order individually. The second part of the menu is Asian barbecue. The third part is Asian desserts, including Hong Kong-style desserts," he said.

It's called a "lab" because customers get to choose the hot-pot ingredients themselves and create different combinations for different tastes.

"We don't want to force them to have certain vegetable combinations for food. They can use their creativity," Yin said.

Guests will be able to order their meals on iPads, he added.

The restaurant is expected to have black marble tables and black ceramic flooring, Yin said. Both tables and booths will be available.

Yin said the three partners feel that restaurant-goers in Champaign-Urbana don't have enough options for eating out.

"We went to Chicago and found this, and we thought it would be a good idea to open this kind of restaurant in a college town," he said.

Though the partners initially looked at a site in Urbana, they eventually settled on the Green Street location. They like the traffic along Green Street and the proximity to apartments — not only upstairs, but down the street as well.

Hours haven't been determined yet, but they're expected to be 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. seven days a week, he said.

Aiming for August 2015

More details have been released on West Quad, the massive student apartment complex planned for the former Champaign Builders Supply property between Green and John streets, east of Canadian National railroad tracks and west of Locus Street.

CA Student Living (formerly Campus Acquisitions) and joint venture partner Murphy & O'Brien said last week that the development is expected to open in August 2015.

As previously reported, the complex would consist of a five-story apartment building on the west end of the property, plus two four-story buildings with townhouse-style apartments to the east. Altogether, the buildings would have 136 units with 472 beds.

A release from CA Student Living said the apartments will come fully furnished, with granite countertops and flat-screen TVs. Plus, West Quad will have a club lounge, fitness training facilities, a theater and both private and group study spaces.

The courtyard between the buildings will have "a high-end swimming pool, hot tub, sand volleyball court and community pavilion with barbecue grill stations and outdoor viewing screens," the release stated.

Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture is the project architect, and Broeren Russo Construction is the construction manager.

CA Student Living said it has eight projects involving 3,500 beds opening this fall — and nine projects involving 4,300 beds expected to open in the fall of 2015.

Among those projects: the HERE building under construction at Fourth and Green streets in Champaign, for which CA has another joint partner.

CA added that it also had involvement in the Hyatt Place that recently opened in downtown Champaign.

Creek still running

The Coldwater Creek women's apparel stores in Champaign and Tuscola remained open last week, even though the company announced in April that it would wind down business.

Coldwater Creek Inc. voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy that month and said it would begin liquidating inventory in May.

It said it had analyzed all alternatives, including a sale of the company, but was unable to find a potential buyer or a source of capital for a turnaround.

"The company's declining liquidity position and the challenging retail environment, together with the fact that we have exhausted all other possibilities, requires that we take this action," said company President and CEO Jill Dean.

Coldwater Creek has had a store in the Courtyard at Market Place in Champaign since August 2005 and a factory store at the Tanger Outlet Center in Tuscola since November 2007, according to the bankruptcy filing.

It takes up considerable real estate at both locations, occupying 4,262 square feet at Market Place and 7,020 square feet in Tuscola.

The chain also has several other stores in downstate Illinois — namely, in Normal, Springfield and Peoria.

No firm closing dates have been announced at this date for area stores. Last week, the company's website said all items in the stores were being sold for 60 percent to 80 percent off original prices.

Dennis Robertson, manager of Champaign's Market Place Shopping Center, said he had no announcement on a replacement for Coldwater Creek but anticipates one later this year.

Repeated calls to Coldwater Creek's public relations firm were not returned.

Styling advice for brides

Meg Lammers, owner and designer of Meg Jewelry, will visit Michelle's Bridal and Tuxedo in Urbana on Saturday, July 19, and Sunday, July 20, and schedule consultations with brides those days.

Appointments for the hourlong consultations are limited and can be arranged by calling the store at 384-7914, store manager Morgan Stone said.

Consultations will be offered from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 19 and from 10 a.m. to noon July 20 at the store, 2210 Willow Road, U.

Lammers — who frequents the Kleinfeld's in New York that is featured on the TLC show "Say Yes to the Dress" — hand-makes jewelry and headpieces and can give brides a custom look to match their gowns, Stone said.

Welcome to generous

Culver's is celebrating its 30th anniversary by giving away $150,000 over 30 days to 30 guests.

From July 1 to 30, guests who order a value basket or medium soft drink receive a cup with a special promotional code. Guests can then visit the website to enter their code for a chance to win the daily grand prize — or instant-win prizes such as mini concrete mixers and value baskets.

Culver's opened its first restaurant in Sauk City, Wis., in 1985 and today has more than 500 restaurants in 22 states.

Contact Don Dodson at 351-5227; 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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ROB McCOLLEY wrote on July 13, 2014 at 8:07 am
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Don, I always appreciate your columns. Thank you.


Could you please report on the noise abatement measures CA will employ to protect its residents from the inevitable sounds of railroads and major streets?


I love railroads and major streets. I think they're especially good neighbors to warehouses, dance clubs, and all kinds of entities that aren't trying to study, or get a good night's sleep.

rsp wrote on July 13, 2014 at 10:07 am

Shouldn't it be the same noise abatement measures they used for Oakwood Trace? What makes this project so special?