It's Your Business: Supplier in Demand

It's Your Business: Supplier in Demand

When it comes to providing restaurant supplies, there's still a Proctor in the house.

The Proctor family is continuing in that business, even though Proctor's Restaurant Equipment & Supply Co. closed on University Avenue in Champaign last November after 62 years in business.

After Scott Proctor retired, his brother, Dan Proctor, decided to expand his commercial food-service equipment business, KECdesign.

It now includes KECresco, a division that provides food-service operators with china, flatware, glassware, pots, pans, kitchen accessories and other supplies.

KECresco has opened a warehouse showroom at 301 E. Mercury Drive, #2, C, in the Apollo industrial park, where restaurant operators can walk in to buy what they need.

The business is holding a grand opening this week, with hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

"My father (H.H. Proctor) opened RESCO on University Avenue in 1952, and my brother Scott took it over in the early 1970s," Dan Proctor said.

"When he decided to retire last year, it was a great opportunity for us to keep the business in the family and grow an important market niche for KECdesign — small wares and supplies," he said.

Customers include chains and independent restaurants, bars, coffee shops, student housing and other businesses and institutions.

KECresco absorbed the inventory from the University Avenue store, as well as three employees — Brian Russell, Tod Roberts and Kyle Duckworth.

They'll be joined by Kurt Fenner and Jeni Hale of KEC design, plus Steve Smith, a certified food service professional, and Margaret Carson, a longtime restaurateur who once operated Pickles.

Proctor and his wife, Rhonda, described the warehouse showroom as "a grab-and-go shopping experience with most stock items on shelves rather than in the warehouse."

The restaurant supply company's busy season normally comes in late August, when area schools and colleges stock up on food service equipment and supplies.

"We just want to let everybody know that we're still here, but in a new location," said Russell, KECresco's purchasing manager.

The business offers free local delivery and takes orders by phone, email and text.

KECdesign, a wholesaler and distributor of commercial food service equipment, has doubled in size over the past year and now employs more than 30 on Mercury Drive, up from 15 last August.

The business has expanded from 20,000 to 25,000 square feet and expects to expand again to 31,000 square feet in November.

Sales volume, which totaled $30 million last year, is projected to reach $50 million this year, Dan Proctor said.

KECdesign has done a lot of work for Jimmy John's stores and assisted-living centers across the nation, as well as for local projects including the Hyatt Place, Carrie Busey and Bottenfield schools in Champaign and the Mahomet Early Learning Center.

The phone number for KECresco is 352-3556, the same number that was used by Proctor's Restaurant Equipment & Supply Co.

You can almost smell it

The new McDonald's in Champaign's Campustown could open as early as this week.

"It is close," said Scott Miller, who operates the business with his father, franchisee Dwight Miller.

The store, located in the Technology Plaza building on the north side of Green Street between Sixth and Wright streets, will operate 24 hours a day initially.

"It has a very contemporary look," Miller said. "We want to make sure college students appreciate the atmosphere of the restaurant, so we've tied in an Illini element into the store."

Graphics will include images of Memorial Stadium, the Block "I" and landmarks around campus, he said. Plus, there's lot of orange in the restaurant.

The store has hired 60 crew people and 10 managers.

"We're still taking applications," Miller said.

Mall move complete

MC Sports had its grand opening last week at Market Place Mall in Champaign.

The sporting goods store, which had been at Market View Shopping Center for 20 years, now occupies a much larger space near J.C. Penney.

With the move, MC Sports became a full-line store, providing gear not only for athletics but also for hunting and fishing.

MC Sports has about 75 sports in the Midwest. The privately held company is based in Grand Rapids, Mich.

After 15 years ...

Dan and Timmie Punkay have decided to close DWP Golf World at 807 N. Mattis Ave., C — probably in late October or early November of this year.

They've already started a liquidation sale of the golf equipment and and sports apparel they carry. But DWP will still get in a new line of Illini apparel.

"I'm going to miss the camaraderie with all the great customers we've had throughout the years," said Dan Punkay, who opened the store 15 years ago at Round Barn Center.

He said he will still give golf lessons and keep his PGA card, but has started a new career.

In March, he joined Martin OneSource as an account manager — and knew he could no longer devote full time to the store.

Punkay said the golf supply business has struggled since 2008 and hasn't rebounded to where it was 10 years ago.

But he said DWP Golf World didn't see an overall drop-off in business because its sports apparel did well.

Punkay attributes the fall-off in golf sales to the economy and to players who can't get to courses as often as they once did. Kids once played golf with their parents on weekends, but now other scheduled activities such as soccer cut into that.

Last year, about 130 golf courses closed while only four opened, he said.

Showroom underway

Tim Mooney said he expects the new addition to Tim Mooney Ford in Tuscola to be open by the end of the year.

Work on the project began last spring, and when finished, the new showroom will be about one-third larger than what the dealership had before, he said.

"The old building was getting tired so this will bring the facility up to current standards, to levels that customers are expecting when they buy a new vehicle," Mooney said.

The dealership's current building on U.S. 36 was built about 1951. Part of that building was torn down to make way for the new addition.

"We've got the new part all framed up, and they're starting to finish the roof. Then they'll start enclosing the structure and start putting up drywall," Mooney said.

When complete, "it will be a lot more open and a lot more spacious," he said. The showroom will be large enough to display three or four vehicles.

"Before, one vehicle was very comfortable and two vehicles was very crowded," he said.

The showroom will provide more room for kiosks and displays and allow the dealership to expand sales staff if it chooses, he added.

Shanghaied to Green Street

Here's important news for fans of Shanghai 1938 and Auntie Lee's Chinese Kitchen.

First, Shanghai 1938 has closed its restaurant at Village at the Crossing in southwest Champaign after seven years there and has relocated operations to Auntie Lee's Chinese Kitchen at 49-B E. Green St., C — next to the Mirsung Indian grocery.

Second, Auntie Lee's, which opened in 2013, will extend its late-night delivery hours from midnight to 3:30 a.m., beginning Monday.

"We realized there is huge market demand for late-night business," not only from students, but from doctors, nurses and restaurant employees who work late, said Kit Lee Huang.

She worked in a financial consultancy firm in Malaysia before getting into the restaurant business in Champaign.

Her husband, Chef Huang Wei Guo, attended culinary school in China and has been in the restaurant business in Champaign-Urbana for almost 15 years.

Before opening Shanghai 1938, they operated Chinese Express at 39 E. Green St., C, from 1999 to 2006.

Auntie Lee's is open for lunch, dinner and late-night delivery. The restaurant focuses mainly on carryout and delivery, and there are a few tables for dine-in.

Hours of operation are 4 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. Mondays; noon to 3;30 a.m. Tuesday through Friday; and 3 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

The phone number for Auntie Lee's is 693-7928, and online orders are taken at auntieleechampaign.com.

Customers of Shanghai 1938 can order online at shanghai1938online.com or by calling 351-8886.

"We still serve the same menus for both restaurants with the same chefs," Kit Lee Huang said. "There are plans to expand our menu to include Southeast Asia cuisine."

Math after school

On Monday, Sterling Math & Writing will launch an interactive after-school program for elementary and middle school students in the Champaign-Urbana area.

The program will have structured math-focused enrichment activities and games, tech-based resources, homework help, one-on-one tutoring and learning-based play and social time.

Sterling Math & Writing is based at 2110 N. Market St., Suite E, in Champaign.

Students will take part in rotating sessions — homework lab, math exploration and social hour — that are based on grade groups.

The program's curriculum integrates social skills, math and literature. It is aligned with both the Common Core state standards and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics standards.

Joe Glass III is the center's owner and director of math enrichment. Glass, a certified teacher, offers one-on-one tutoring in addition to the after-school program.

Parents can call Sterling at 689-4353 to register.

Got ice cream?

Common Ground Food Co-Op does, and it will serve it at an ice cream social to benefit the Eastern Illinois Foodbank.

The fundraiser is from 2 to 4 p.m. today in the co-op's parking lot at Urbana's Lincoln Square Mall.

This is the third annual ice cream social that Common Ground has held.

Guests can build their own ice cream sundae featuring Kilgus Farmstead ice cream and an organic toppings buffet.

Common Ground asks that everyone attending make a monetary donation to the foodbank, but the amount of the donation will be left to the donor.

The Church Street Ramblers will provide live music, and children's activities will include face painting and hula hooping.

Common Ground hopes to raise at least $1,667 — enough to provide 10,000 meals. Last year more than 400 people attended the fund-raiser, which generated enough for 9,000 meals.

School supplies drive

Charter Fitness, with locations at 2414 Galen Drive, C, and Lincoln Square Mall, Urbana, is collecting school supplies to help local schools.

Supplies needed most include paper, notebooks, crayons, pencils, markers, tissues, paper towels, hand sanitizer and calculators. New and nearly new backpacks can also be donated.

The drive continues through early September. This is the fifth year Charter Fitness has collected supplies.

Contact Don Dodson at 351-5227; 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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