When Becky and Freddy Smith bought a building more than a century old in downtown Homer, it wasn't much to look at inside.
"When we bought it, the roof leaked, the ceiling was falling down, plaster was falling from the walls," Becky Smith said.
That was three years ago. With the help of volunteers, the couple transformed the 1895 building at 120 S. Main St. into Ms. Becky's Variety Shop and Tea Room.
It opened earlier this month and is carrying collectibles, dolls, seasonal items and some handcrafted things made by Becky Smith. The shop, which doesn't have a kitchen, serves coffees, teas and packaged desserts, she said.
The shop is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Freddy Smith, who retired in July from SuperValu, is running the shop on weekdays. Becky Smith, who works for the University of Illinois Housing Division, said she's helping out for the last hour of the day and on weekends.
New service available
Christie Clinic patients who find it difficult to walk from the parking lot to the front door are now getting a helping hand. The downtown clinic at 101 W. University Ave., C, recently started offering valet parking service between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Patients wanting this service should just drive up to the main entrance, and the staff at the door will take it from there, clinic officials said.
Gallery opens in Urbana
Heartland Gallery has opened at 112 W. Main St. in downtown Urbana.
It features the photos and paintings of Celtic lands done by owner/artist Jan Chandler. Also at the gallery are handcrafted items from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man such as jewelry, pottery, cards, masks and wood and stone carvings, along with works of other artists from the area sold on a consignment basis, Chandler said.
The gallery also has some works from India and Latin America, wooden furniture and educational art books and toys for children.
Chandler said the prices range from $1 to $2,500.
A grand opening celebration will take place from noon to 5 p.m. Nov. 4, and will include entertainment, refreshments and the works of several artists.
The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday or by appointment.
For more information, call 337-4767 or see the Web site at www.heartland-gallery.com.
Dealer/collision center team up
O'Brien Motors and Tatman's Collision Center have teamed up to make Tatman's the auto body repair center for the new 42-acre O'Brien Auto Park in north Urbana.
Customers still get one-stop service, though, the two businesses said. Estimates, drop-off and pickup service for body shop work are available at the dealership.
Back in repair business
Don's 24-Hour Towing and Repair at 2810 N. Lincoln Ave., U, is once again offering automotive service.
Earl Jones, who has been named shop manager and lead technician, has 32 years of experience and is a certified master technician and advanced diagnostic specialist. He is taking repair jobs on all cars, but specializes in foreign car repairs.
For more information, call 352-8457.
Eat pizza for a cause
Monical's Pizza restaurants in Champaign-Urbana and Mahomet will hold an Alzheimer's Association fundraiser Monday evening to help education and support programs for Alzheimer's patients and their caregivers and families.
For each customer bringing in a special flier, Monical's will donate 20 percent of the cost of the meal purchase to the Alzheimer's Association.
Printable fliers are available on the Monical's Web site at www.monicals.com.
Persimmon Grocery, an upscale deli and food market at 111 N. Walnut St., C, has closed.
Owner Thad Morrow said the store lacked business.
His wine bar and restaurant next door, Bacaro, remains open.
Are you opening a new business, or changing something at your existing business? Debra Pressey can be reached by phone at 351-5229 or 1-800-252-3346; by e-mail at dpresseynews-gazette.com; or by regular mail at The News-Gazette, c/o It's Your Business column, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-0677.