The Shoppes of Knollwood, a shopping center along South Neil Street in Champaign, will add a new retailer in April.
Jim and Carol Wisniewski of Champaign will open a franchised location of The Great Frame Up, a chain that offers art and custom framing.
The Great Frame Up shops carry more than 1,000 different custom frame moldings and mat styles. The Champaign shop will also have a do-it-yourself picture framing area and a virtual gallery with a data base of art prints, Jim Wisniewski said.
The Great Frame Up, based in Houston, has nearly 400 locations in the United States and Canada.
Jim Wisniewski is former director of clinical applications for Provena Health, and before that director of respiratory therapy at the old Burnham Hospital in Champaign. He said he and his wife will operate the store.
The opening is set for early to mid-April.
Retailer may be exploring comeback
When JC Penney departed from Market Place Mall in 2000, the mall's management never quite closed the door on a possible return.
"We've been in negotiation with JC Penney to get them back since they left, basically," says the mall's general manager, Randy Tennison.
Those efforts may have been kicked up a notch recently, when the retailer agreed to take a look at the local market to see if it might fare better here than it did a few years ago, Tennison said. But it will be about a month before he knows whether Penney wants to get a little more serious about negotiating.
For now, he said, there aren't any leases on the table.
"I know we've asked JC Penney to reconsider coming back to the area, and they are in the process of doing research about whether it would be viable for them to come back," he added.
JC Penney spokesman Quinton Crenshaw said the company won't comment on whether it is taking a second look at the Champaign-Urbana market. He did say, however, that there have been instances in which the retailer has reopened a store in the same community it closed one.
Meanwhile, Market Place has recently begun talking to another department store chain - which Tennison declined to identify - about the vacant Penney space.
"They came here and showed some interest in it," Tennison said. "They are investigating if the market is right for them."
Looking for great teachers
Local Wal-Mart stores are looking for outstanding local teachers to honor.
Anyone can drop by the service desks at both the Champaign and Savoy stores and fill out nominations, the company said.
Each store will name one Teacher of the Year who will receive a $1,000 educational grant for the classroom. Winners will be announced in May.
Wal-Mart stores are partnering with Phi Delta Kappa International to host the teacher competitions in 3,400 communities around the country. Since the competition was started in 1995, more than 14,000 teachers have been recognized nationwide, the company said.
Cycle/firearm shop moves
Dave Costley has moved his bicycle repair and firearms shop from Urbana to the former location of Mayview Mercantile four miles east of Urbana on U.S. 150.
Costley, who formerly operated his business under the names Sport 101 and Wild Thang Cycles in Urbana, has renamed his shop Dave's Firearms and Cycle Repair.
The new location is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.
Are you opening a new business or changing something at your existing business? Debra Pressey can be reached by phone at 351-5229, or 800-252-3346; by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or regular mail at The News-Gazette, c/o It's Your Business column, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-0677.