It's Your Business: Practice Factory opens for winter season

It's Your Business: Practice Factory opens for winter season

Can't wait for the return of baseball season? The Practice Factory, which opened recently in Champaign, provides baseball and softball players instruction and a place to practice during the cold months. It's located at 301 Mercury Drive, and is owned by the same person who owns The Practice Factory in Bloomington, Nic Nelson of Normal.

Nelson said this is his eighth year in business in Bloomington, and he opened in Champaign in response to requests from customers from Champaign, Monticello and Mahomet.

The Champaign facility offers both private instruction and practice facilities. Membership, available on a monthly basis, can be used at either facility in Champaign or Bloomington, Nelson said.

Members are asked to call ahead and reserve a space. They can come and hit, throw, catch, "anything to work on their game," he said.

Nelson said he got started in the business because his own kids are active in baseball. "I wanted to have a place where my kids could work out in the wintertime," he added. "It kind of took off, and we've grown in Bloomington."

Nelson is also a ballplayer. He has been involved with the Amateur Athletic Union and is a former high school assistant volleyball and softball coach in Bellflower.

Hours of The Practice Factory in Champaign are 4 to 9 p.m. weekdays and noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The facility will close around mid-April and reopen around Nov. 1, Nelson said. For more information, call 355-8002 or Nelson's cell number at (309) 826-2373.

Business to feature used kids' clothes

A former Urbana woman, Donna McGuire Pepper, is launching a new business called One Week Boutique that will stage massive consignment sales twice a year of high-quality children's and maternity clothing, toys, baby furniture and books and videos.

The first one, to feature spring and summer items, will be open to the public March 18-20 at Grace Community Church on Waterson Court, behind the County Market at Kirby Avenue and Duncan Road.

The sale will be run on a consignment basis, with consigners setting their own prices and receiving 70 percent of the selling price, Pepper said.

The sale will be staffed by consignment sellers and volunteers who get first crack at buying the merchandise at a presale.

Pepper, who now lives in Owasso, Okla., has been a consigner at similar sales and thought it would be a good concept to offer in Champaign-Urbana. Her parents, Dick and Kay McGuire of Urbana, are co-owners of One Week Boutique.

Consignment sellers must register in advance on the Web site at by calling 344-6631.

There will be a $2 admission charge for the first day of the sale. Items are to be dropped off during set hours March 16 and 17, with the presale set for the afternoon and evening of March 17.

Public sale hours will be 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. March 18 and 19, and remaining items will be sold for half-price March 20 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Consignment sellers can pick up leftover items or leave them to be donated to charity, Pepper said. She also said she plans to make a monetary donation to a charity from part of her profits.

Longtime shop sets closing date

Record Service, which recently declared its intent to close after 34 years in business, has set its last day as March 5. The store at 621 E. Green St., C, is having a going-out-of-business sale for the entire month of February, President Phil Strang said.

Following will be an estate sale in which all equipment and remaining assets will be sold, with plans to vacate the building by March 15.

Strang said the store fell victim to the easy availability of free music via downloading and CD burning. "We have always been able to compete with the big-box discount stores, but we cannot compete with free," he said.

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, or 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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