It's Your Business: Kleiss Farms to operate weekly produce stand

Kleiss Farms will open a weekly produce stand July 1 at the Shoppes of Knollwood on South Neil Street in Champaign.

It will be open weekly on Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the north end of the shopping center, according to the center's owner, Fox Development Corp.

The produce stand will carry seasonal vegetables, which will include sweet corn, green beans, tomatoes, pickles, cucumbers and peppers when it opens. Melons, peaches, apples and raspberries will be available in July, and broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower are expected in August.

The produce stand will continue through mid-November.

Moving

Dimond Bros. Agency plans to move its Champaign office to 102 W. Springfield Ave. in late July, and its latest acquisition, First Alliance Financial Group, will also move to that location.

Dimond Bros. acquired First Alliance, currently based at 206 N. Randolph St., C, earlier in the year. First Alliance's former owners, Dennis Swanson and J. Victor Malkovich, remain with the company.

Dimond Bros. Champaign Agency Manager Grant Sloniger said the agency is moving because it doesn't have enough space to add the First Alliance operation at its offices at 406 W. Windsor Road, C.

Malkovich said First Alliance, which opened in 1976, had six staff members, all of whom have been retained with the acquisition.

Dimond Bros. acquired The Lewis Insurance Store in 2002, and both the Lewis agency and First Alliance are transitioning to the Dimond Bros. name, Sloniger said.

Dimond Bros., which has been in the insurance business since 1867, also has offices in Arcola, Danville, Paris, Rantoul, Springfield and Mattoon.

Business sold

Balloon Creations at 202 W. University Ave., U, has been sold to Hitch Kids Inc., the company founded by Ron Hitch and currently run by his son, Jason Hitch.

The longtime owner of Balloon Creations, Mary Lou Younger, has retired from the business after 21 years and is working part-time as a registered nurse at the Champaign County Nursing Home, she said.

Hitch Kids Inc. also owns A Pampered Pet grooming and boarding business at 603 E. University Ave., C, and Puttin' on the Dog, a company that makes disposable decorative dog collars for groomers.

Ron Hitch said services have already been expanded at Balloon Creations, which sells and delivers balloon bouquets. New services include wedding videography, gift items to go along with balloon bouquets, and fresh flowers.

Hitch said he and his son aren't turning Balloon Creations into a large-scale florist operation, but they wanted to make fresh flowers available to go with the balloons, especially with two hospitals nearby and people stopping by for get-well gifts for patients.

"It's just a natural for them to pick up a balloon and a few flowers," he said.

Sears salon hosts fund-raiser

The hair salon at Sears Roebuck and Co. at Market Place Mall, Champaign, will hold a "cut-a-thon" fund-raiser Tuesday to benefit Sears' American Dream Campaign.

Haircuts will be offered for $6 – which is about one-third the normal price – from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at The Hair Studio at Sears. A donation will be made from the proceeds, said salon Manager Deanna Wilson.

The American Dream Campaign is an organization that offers programs committed to strengthening families, homes and communities, the company said.

Closing note

The Appliance Parts & Service Center, 905 Francis Drive, C, will begin closing Friday after 13 years in business.

Owner Steven Pease said he'll remain around the shop in July to finish up remaining repair jobs. The parts counter will remain open while he's still around, but he won't be accepting any new repair jobs after Friday. Pease said he is retiring from the parts and service business, and is entertaining offers to buy his business.

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 dpressey@news-gazette.com, 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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