DANVILLE – Rhodes-Burford Furniture Store and E.B. Collins Carquest Auto Parts store both survived more than a century of change. But recent economic pressures finally proved too much for the historic downtown businesses.
"It's just pure economics. The old-fashioned furniture stores and mom-and-pop stuff is on its way out. It's box stores and superstores," said Shane Darr, manager of Rhodes-Burford Furniture Store at 103 E. Main St., Danville.
CHAMPAIGN – Sam Issa isn't one of those downtown businessmen who caters to an upscale crowd.
Issa owns and operates Sam's Cafe, 115 N. Walnut St., a small diner that sells breakfast and lunch and draws a good crowd of budget-conscious patrons. His breakfast special: Two eggs, bacon and toast for $3.40.
So Issa is worried – probably more than most business owners – about city plans to increase parking meter rates in the core of downtown Champaign from the current 25 cents per hour to 75 cents per hour, effective Jan. 1.
CHAMPAIGN – Improving the fitness of school kids in Texas could help Champaign-based Human Kinetics improve its bottom line.
The sports and fitness products company recently was selected by the Texas Education Agency to supply a fitness assessment program for every student from third-graders to high school seniors.
CHAMPAIGN – Human Kinetics has published its first stand-alone "electronic" book, and it's getting national attention – not for the format, but for the content.
"Souled Out?: How Blacks Are Winning and Losing in Sports" has drawn attention from National Public Radio in its initial weeks on the market, and ESPN and Sports Illustrated are also planning coverage, Human Kinetics chief executive officer Brian Holding said.
Hot Wok Express in Urbana has closed, but only temporarily.
The restaurant at 1102 W. University Ave. is undergoing some remodeling and should reopen by the end of November, said owner Greg D'Amico.
CHAMPAIGN – Yahoo Inc., which hired 110 former Motorola employees in Champaign this fall, probably won't do much additional hiring locally until January, a company spokeswoman said Thursday.
"Starting with the new year, we'll be looking to expand our team," said Cathy Singer, engineering director at Yahoo's facility in the University of Illinois Research Park.
URBANA – Riley Homes in Urbana is expected to be sold to four of its employees later this month, the company's president said.
Dennis Ohnstad, who has owned Riley Homes with partner John North for 20 years, said they plan to sell the company to employees Nancy Hesselmann, Chuck Pridemore, Steve Remole and Sidney Padgett.
URBANA – Provena Covenant Medical Center has paid its overdue property taxes.
But hospital officials still insist they didn't owe the money.
CHAMPAIGN – Video game developer Volition Inc. plans to open a video game testing center in downtown Champaign that could add 120 jobs to the 240 it already employs.
Volition President Mike Kulas said he expects the new quality assurance center to be housed on the third floor of Church Street Square – a block west of Volition's headquarters at One Main Plaza.
CHAMPAIGN – For those in a frenzy because they haven't had their Frosty, hope is on the way.
Wendy's International is vowing to return Wendy's Old-Fashioned Hamburgers to the Champaign-Urbana market within a few months.