Kirlin's Hallmark plans to return to Champaign — and open a store in Danville too.
The Quincy-based, family owned chain has set a tentative opening date of Feb. 22 for its store at Marketview Shopping Center in Champaign, said marketing director Laura Sievert.
It will take the spot at 55 E. Marketview Drive, C, recently vacated by Dena's Hallmark.
Kirlin's also plans to open a store in Danville's Towne Centre, with a tentative opening date of March 8. Until last week, that location, at 2 E. Main St., #20, was also home to a Dena's Hallmark store.
Kirlin's Hallmark operates 92 stores in 10 states — predominantly in Illinois and Missouri, but also in Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Oklahoma.
Until the spring of 2011, Kirlin's had a store in Champaign's Market Place Shopping Center.
The company, founded in 1948, will celebrate its 65th anniversary in 2013, Sievert said.
Both the Champaign and Danville stores will be Hallmark Gold Crown stores carrying a broad array of cards and keepsake ornaments.
They'll also carry Willow Tree figurines from Demdaco, WoodWick Candle and Yankee Candle products, as well as the Precious Moments, Tervis Tumbler and DaVinci Beads lines.
The stores will also have candy, fashion accessories and seasonal items.
"We expect to be in the neighborhood of 20 to 30 total employees be-tween the two locations," Sievert said.
South China cuisine
If everything goes as planned, Nancy Shi and Qingqi Qin hope to open South China Restaurant today in the former Boneyard BBQ building at 25 E. Springfield Ave., C.
The lunch menu includes a wide variety of $6.95 specials, and there's a more extensive eight-page dinner menu, with house specials ranging from $11.95 to $18.95. The dinner menu also includes less expensive options.
The restaurant plans to feature Szechwan cuisine as well as other spicy dishes from south China. It plans to display live lobsters and fish in two tanks near the entrance.
Hours for South China will be 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. seven days a week.
Shi said she owned the Peking Garden restaurant in downtown Champaign from 2005 to 2007.
After selling the restaurant and moving to Kansas, she returned to Champaign-Urbana and worked with Qingqi Qin at Tang Dynasty in Urbana.
Now, Qin will be the chef for South China.
Shi said the University of Illinois has many Chinese students, and the Springfield Avenue location should be convenient for them. She said the restaurant is spacious and can host parties in private rooms.
South China doesn't have a liquor license at this point, but Shi said she hopes to get one eventually. When the weather gets nicer, the restaurant plans to make use of its patio.
South China's phone number is 352-9008.
Coming to town?
Tim Leek, who operates Leek & Sons Funeral Home in Danville, said he hopes to expand services in Champaign-Urbana with a new funeral home in Urbana.
Alpha & Omega Church has petitioned the city to rezone 3.6 acres at the southwest corner of Bradley and Goodwin avenues in Urbana for neighborhood business.
The church has the western half of that property under contract for sale to the funeral home.
The Urbana Plan Commission has recommended the rezoning to the Urbana City Council, which is expected to consider the matter Jan. 7.
Leek said if approval is given, he hopes the funeral home will be under construction by the end of next summer.
"I wanted to make sure I could obtain the property, then move forward with the details of the business," he said. "It's the first time I've ever built from the ground up. It's a new process for me."
But the funeral business is very familiar to Leek and his family.
His father, J. Carlyle Leek, got into the business in 1956, with Parker & Leek Funeral Home in Danville.
Two years later, anticipating his sons would one day follow him into the business, J. Carlyle Leek started Leek & Sons Funeral Home at 304 E. Williams St., Danville, where the business remains today.
Tim Leek has been licensed in the business since 1984, when he graduated from the Southern Illinois University School of Mortuary Science.
Leek said the Urbana funeral home will be "full-service."
"I'm happy to be moving forward," he said. "I'm excited about it."
Contact Don Dodson at 351-5227 or 800-252-3346; by email at firstname.lastname@example.org; or by regular mail at The News-Gazette, c/o It's Your Business column, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-0677.