C-U to get Boston's pizza restaurant

C-U to get Boston's pizza restaurant

By The News-Gazette

If ordinary pizza just doesn't satisfy you, maybe Boston's The Gourmet Pizza will.

The casual-dining restaurant chain, a favorite in Canada for the last 40 years, plans to open a restaurant on North Prospect Avenue – directly in front of Champaign's Meijer store – later this year or early next year.

Boston's serves 25 varieties of gourmet pizza as well as pasta, baby back ribs, chicken, seafood and other entrees. It includes a restaurant and sports bar under one roof.

Michael Richards, whose father, Gary Richards, holds the franchise for the local restaurant, said his family already operates a Boston's in Terre Haute, Ind., and is preparing to open one this week in Evansville, Ind.

Richards said he'd like the Champaign restaurant to open around Thanksgiving, but if it's not ready by the first week of December, the opening will likely be delayed until late January.

The first Boston Pizza opened in 1964 in Edmonton, Alberta, and today the chain has more than 200 locations across Canada. The first U.S. restaurant opened in 1998, and today there are more than 40, mostly in the Northern states.

When built, the Champaign restaurant will accommodate about 200 people inside, and another 70 on the patio, Richards said.

The Richards family has been in the restaurant business for several decades, with one of its best-known enterprises the Richards Farm restaurant in Casey.

Say what?

If you enjoy used books, you'll soon have another place to browse in Champaign.

Jeanne Sathre and Jill Harms are planning to open Say3 Books at 900 S. Mattis Ave. sometime in August. And no, that's not a typo – "Say3" is how Sathre pronounces her last name.

Sathre said she and Harms plan to carry "gently used books" with an emphasis on more popular works. They aim to run a user-friendly store, and Sathre said she plans to sell more esoteric titles online.

Sathre formerly worked as a public defender in Clark and Edgar counties, and Harms graduated from Grinnell College in 2005 and has done some student teaching since then.

"Jill and I are both avid readers and we have a lot of recommendations if you want," Sathre said.

NAPA moves north

NAPA Auto Parts is planning to build a new store to replace its store at 802 Bloomington Road, C. But patrons won't have to go far to find it – the new store will be just 300 to 400 feet north of the current location.

Although the new address will be 1503 N. Hagan St., the store will actually face west into the Home Depot parking lot – so it'll be easy to catch the eye of motorists heading east on Bloomington Road.

Store manager Joe Kington said the company-owned store will be between 8,000 and 10,000 square feet – a good bit roomier than the current 6,600.

"I was told we should be in there by the end of the year, but that depends on the weather," Kington said.

The current store opened in 1979.

Depke expands in Urbana

Depke Welding Supplies has embarked on a massive expansion at its Urbana location at 806 W. Bradley Ave. – just east of the Lincoln Avenue intersection.

"We're doubling the size of our facility and closing down the Champaign branch," said Jedd Swisher, Depke's general manager in Champaign-Urbana. "It makes no sense to have two stores less than 3 miles from each other."

The Champaign branch Swisher referred to – at 11 E. Logan St. – was for many years known as Claudin Welding Supply. The Claudin firm dated back to 1921, and Depke traces its history back to 1926. The two companies merged a few years ago.

Swisher said that with the expansion, Depke plans to provide rental of welding equipment and do welder repair. It will continue to resupply hospitals, welding shops and other businesses with welding wire and liquid argon, oxygen and nitrogen.

Curt Towne is owner and president of Depke, which also has offices in Danville and Kankakee.

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