Fisher Produce marks 100 years

FISHER – Fisher Produce began as a poultry dresser and packer and also graded and packed eggs – 100 years ago.

Today, the business custom mills feed mixes for swine and fills an important niche in that market.

Freestar agrees to buy five bank sites

CHAMPAIGN – Freestar Bank has agreed to acquire five branches of Main Street Bank & Trust as a prelude to the latter bank's eventual merger into Busey Bank.

Freestar, which opened its first branch in Champaign in April 2006 and moved to the corner of Neil Street and Hessel Boulevard this year, will acquire the Main Street offices at:

Mahomet Chamber of Commerce gets brand-name lesson

MAHOMET – In a marketplace full of corporate retailers, small-business owners must be able to emotionally connect customers to their products, Debra LoveClark told Mahomet business owners Thursday morning at the Mahomet Area Chamber of Commerce meeting.

"When people are passionate about your brand, about your business ... it's great word-of-mouth advertising," LoveClark said in a presentation about branding.

Brace yourself: Longtime area orthodontist retiring

CHAMPAIGN – According to Genesis, the Lord rested after six days' work.

It's taken his namesake, Dr. Richard Lord, a lot longer to pause. The Champaign orthodontist is calling it quits after 42 years in practice.

Sale likely won't affect Tuscola chemical plant

TUSCOLA – The sale of Lyondell Chemical Co. to Dutch chemical company Basell isn't expected to have an immediate effect on Lyondell's plant west of Tuscola, a Lyondell vice president said Thursday.

"We don't expect the transaction to (affect) the day-to-day activities of most employees," said Susan Moore, Lyondell's vice president of corporate communications. "The existing Lyondell management structure is expected to stay in place for the foreseeable future."

Renovation overruns questioned

DANVILLE – Renaissance Danville board members plan to question Executive Director Bob Yapp on Friday on how renovation costs at 112 Pine St. exceeded the final budget by an estimated $46,000.

Yapp, however, called the totals inaccurate and said the board is illegally discussing his employment in an open meeting.

N-G acquires papers in Paxton, Loda

PAXTON – The Record in Paxton and the Loda Times are slated to become the latest weekly newspapers to join The News-Gazette's community newspaper division.

John Foreman, president of The News-Gazette Inc., said the company has reached a tentative agreement to buy the papers, effective Aug. 1.

Danville Starbucks plans grand opening Friday

DANVILLE – Before the sun rises on Friday, Starbucks Coffee Company will open the doors to its new Danville store.

The public is invited to attend the store's grand opening throughout the day Friday, from 5:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., at 3100 N. Vermilion St. – the corner of Vermilion Street and Lakeshore Drive.

Mall service to allow shoppers to find, reserve products

CHAMPAIGN – Market Place Mall is adopting new technology in an effort to battle online retailers.

In a sense, it's, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

Bath & Bodyworks store coming to Tuscola

TUSCOLA – A Bath & Bodyworks outlet store will open in the Tanger Outlet Center in Tuscola later this year said mall General Manager Morrie Mendenhall says.

Tanger has a signed lease for the store, but doesn't have a projected opening date for it yet, he added.

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