IYB Plantify

Long Luu at his shop, Plantify, on Thursday, June 18, 2020, in downtown Champaign.

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Local chemist Long Luu has combined his love of plants and interior design in his new downtown Champaign retail shop, Plantify.

This shop is at 14 E. Washington St., in the same building (but in another space) as the former Complete Care pharmacy.

Luu got a doctorate at University of Illinois and also works as a senior research scientist at Iria Pharma, Champaign.

His shop carries plants, planters and decor items.

It’s open from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Delivery is also available for orders over $50, Luu said.

2nd location on the way

Nando Milano Trattoria, an Italian restaurant in downtown Champaign, is opening a second location in Manhattan Beach, Calif.

Owner Dario Vullo said he hopes to have the new location open by the end of July. The California restaurant will be called Nando Trattoria and have more of a coastal focus, he said.

Vullo formerly operated a restaurant in Chicago and sold it to come to Champaign when his wife, Amy Yetasook, started her medical residency at Carle Foundation Hospital.

He remains involved with the Champaign restaurant, but he and his wife have moved to California, and his brother, Alessio Vullo, the chef at the Champaign restaurant, is now running the operation, he said.

Helping hobby shops

Horizon Hobby, a Champaign-based international hobby product distributor, has raised more than $50,000 to help support hobby shops that were impacted by COVID-19 closures.

The company raised the money through an online auction, donations and selling “I support my local hobby shop” merchandise.

“Hobby shops are a mainstay in many local communities,” said Horizon President Chris Dickerson. “They play an important role in helping people learn about the hobby and serve as a hub for engagement amongst passionate hobbyists. It was important to us to do something to show our support for them during this difficult period.”

Relief grants available

The city of Champaign COVID-19 Relief Grant program will make grants of up to $15,000 available to businesses in the city that have been impacted by the pandemic.

Eligible small businesses can request reimbursement for expenses between April 1 and June 30, according to the Champaign County Economic Development Corp.

Applications can be submitted beginning June 24 and will be accepted on a first come, first served basis

In addition to being within Champaign city limits, businesses must have fewer than 50 employees and must have been in operation as of Jan. 1 and meet several other requirements.

More information can be found at champaignil.gov/COVIDreliefgrant

Share news about your local business. Deb Pressey can be reached at 217-393-8258 or dpressey@news-gazette.com.