It's not every day that bank employees go to work and pick up a hammer and paintbrush instead of counting out your cash.
But on Wednesday, all four Champaign-Urbana locations of National City Bank will close their lobbies at 1 p.m. and send more than 20 employees out into the community to paint, build ramps and clean.
Drive-through windows and ATM machines will remain to serve customers, but lobby services won't be available for the afternoon.
The bank employees will be doing service work for the Greater Champaign County AMBUCS and the Champaign County YMCA.
Jeff Hall, National City president for the local market, said charitable giving and volunteering are part of National City's corporate culture. Getting bank employees to volunteer for the service work wasn't a problem, he said.
"They're glad to go out and lend a hand," he added.
National City, based in Cleveland, Ohio, says it will also contribute more than $20,000 to central Illinois charities this month as part of its Community Appreciation Week activities.
Fithian has new shop
The mother-daughter team of Carolyn Frerichs and Stacy Anderson is in business with a new shop called Country Chics at 103 N. Main St., Fithian.
It sells folk art, primitives and other antiques.
Frerichs is a farmer and homemaker, and her daughter is a supervisor at the Vermilion County Juvenile Detention Center.
Store hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Peoria Charter moving in
Peoria Charter Coach Co., a family-owned and -operated business in Peoria since 1941, will break ground this week on a new satellite garage at 2008 N. Federal Drive, U, behind the Holiday Inn Express.
The company has been temporarily leasing space for its buses in the local community. Its new building will initially house six buses and an office, according to company president Bill Winkler.
Within five to 10 years, he said, he expects to expand by having a dozen buses in Urbana and a fleet of 24 there eventually.
Peoria Charter Coach already transports University of Illinois sports teams, and Winkler said he saw a further opportunity to serve Champaign-Urbana after the bankruptcy of Illini-Swallow Lines, which had an operation in Champaign.
Peoria Charter employs 150, including 10 people already serving Champaign-Urbana business, he said.
The company operates 47-passenger and 55-passenger coaches, and provides charter service, convention shuttles, tour planning and retail tours, airport transfers and scheduled service. Currently most of its business originates in Peoria, Chicago, Springfield, Bloomington and St. Louis, Winkler said.
Studio moves, expands
Primelight Studio has moved a couple of blocks east, from 41 E. University Ave. in downtown Champaign to the former Champaign Mattress building at 211 E. University Ave., C.
Owners Ron and Anita Sullivan bought the building and did a complete remodeling of it, Ron Sullivan said.
They now have more efficient space for their photography business, plus a new venture called The Picture Lab, a digital photo lab for both amateurs and professionals.
Part of their service will include professional advice on shooting and cropping pictures for amateur photographers, Sullivan said.
Sullivan said Primelight did some printing for professional photographers and its own work, but this is the first time it will be serving amateur photographers with digital cameras.
In addition to its portrait business, Primelight does yearbook photography for three local high schools.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and by appointment.
Watts Copy Systems will hold a public open house from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 24 to show off its new location – the former Rental City building – at 2204 W. John St., C.
Products will be on display and refreshments will be served, said Steve Cler, branch manager.
Watts, based in Springfield, sells and leases copiers, fax machines, postage equipment and purified drinking water systems for homes and offices.
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 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.