Favorite Local Businesses

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Several people responded to our request for tips about good places to shop locally. This is by far not an exhaustive list of the many excellent locally owned and operated businesses but it does indicate places that people felt strongly enough to write to us about.
Contributors: Linda Evans, Belden Fields, Phyllis Brussel, Gabriele Cooper, Sandra Ahten, Paul Mueth, Lisa Chason.

127 Lincoln Square Mall,Urbana, 344-7979
Mon-Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-6pm, Sun noon-5pm.
I love shopping for toys and kitchen tools at Art Mart at Lincoln Square mall. I like the feel of Art Mart and we like wooden toys. My son loves to play with the trains while I shop. Art Mart has a great selection, a friendly staff, and reasonable prices. – LE
Specialty foods. Great coffee. Space to eat a snack or lunch. Unusual and always changing selection of table settings, kitchen related stuff, cards for all occasions, gifts, candles etc. – PB
114 Lincoln Square Mall,Urbana, 328-2254
Mon-Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-6pm, Sun noon-5pm
An eclectic collection of jewelry, pottery, prints and posters, candles, wind chimes, incense, and more. They feature local artists’ works. Also custom framing. Great place to look for gifts and art. – LC
1707 W.Kirby Ave, Champaign, 356-4646
Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 10am-3pm
I really like to shop at Skandinavian Link at Old Farm shopping center. The staff and owner are very helpful. They keep track of certain toy brands so others can come in and buy things for your child and you don’t end up with duplicates. They have great sales and a fun area for children to play while you shop. – LE
115 W.Kirby, Champaign, 359-7500
Mon-Fri 9:30am-6pm, Sat 9:30am-5pm, Sun 12:30pm-5pm
I buy all my kids’ shoes at Andy’s Shoe’s. If I bring them in and they haven’t outgrown the old pair of shoes, Andy won’t sell me a new pair. He just tells me to come back in a couple of months. Do you think one of the big chains would do that? –GC
The owner Andy Pomokoy says “it’s important to be honest and good at what you do” when you are fitting children’s shoes. It is responsibility that he takes seriously. The store all types of shoes, but only for children up to about 7 or 8 years of age. Andy has been in business since 1984 in the same location. – SA
518 E.Green, Champaign, 351-6110
Mon & Thurs 9-6,Wed & Fri 9-5:30, Sat 9-1
I lost my glasses last week and was badly in need of a pair of new lenses I could put in some old frames very quickly because I had to grade a lot of papers. So, at the urging of my wife, I called the large chains in Market Place Mall to see how much it would cost me and how soon I could get them. I was promised one-hour service in one and one day service in the other. In one place, the minimum cost for plastic lenses was $99 for the scratch-resistant coated lenses. In the other, the range was from $89 to $109. Then I called Dr. Curtis Johnson’s Illini Eyecare on Green Street in Campus Town to see if the expected higher cost would be worth the convenience of the location. Low and behold, they offered me scratch resistant lenses for $65. And they could do it in half an hour. Two lessons: (1) Small business is not always more expensive than the large corporate chains despite the advertising propaganda of the latter to the contrary, and (2) Campus Town businesses are not always trying to rip off students and other university people as is sometimes assumed. – BF
208 N.Neil, Champaign, 356-2555
Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 1-5pm
Jane Adams bookstore is a rare find in many communities, but they are located conveniently in downtown Champaign. We love to peruse the shelves and we invariably find a book that we have no idea how we lived without. – LE
1201 Savoy Plaza Ln, Savoy, 351-7243
Mon-Sat 9am-11pm, Sun 10am-9pm
My family buys way too many books at Pages for All Ages. Some days we go more than once to this wonderful locally owned bookstore in Savoy.We walk or ride our bikes to Pages several times a week and find it hard to leave without an armful of books.We love the live music and tea too. If Pages does not have a book in stock, the extremely knowledgeable and helpful staff is eager to special order books. I heard about a book on public radio one day and couldn’t remember the author or the title. I felt foolish and asked a staff member and they quickly took me to A Bondwoman’s Narrative…just the book I was stumbling to find. I was very impressed and have never hesitated to ask for a book by subject alone again. – LE
1601 N. Coler,Urbana, 328-2613
If you have a book that you treasure and it’s coming apart, this is the place to go and have it fixed like new. – PB
346 N.Neil, Champaign, 352-5895
Tues 9am-6pm,Wed-Sun 1pm-6pm
When looking for something to do with our three-year-old during inclement weather (we are after all in themidwest), we have been saved more than once by The Orpheum Children’s Science Museum. In fact, when the skies clear up it is hard to convince my son to leave. – LE
44 E.Washington St, Champaign, 359-7222
Wed 4pm-7pm, Sat 9am-noon
This warehouse store is operated by a “club” of folks who “promote preservation and re-use of buildings or areas of historic or architectural significance in Champaign County.” They saved the famous Ricker House (Green and Coler in Urbana) from becoming a parking lot, or worse. Their architectural salvage center is a place to look for that odd part that will get your old door working again, or enough stuff to entirely refit your abode in period décor, or perhaps that objet trouve that makes for a conversation piece in an otherwise antiseptic apartment. Check it out. – PM
355 W.Griggs St.,Urbana, 344-8546
Mon-Fri 11am-4pm; also by appointment Some very talented potters turn out beautiful as well as useful things here.Really fun to visit and see work in progress. – PB
120 W.Main St.,Urbana, 367-3711
Tues-Sat 10am-4pm, Sun 1pm-5pm
Many wonderful displays of local art and crafts – all for sale, or you can simply walk about and admire the beautiful things. (There are rooms beyond the main entrance) – PB
406 N. Lincoln,Urbana, 365-0055
Mon-Sat 9am-5:30pm
In addition to being a full service florist, this store sells many items to catch a gardener’s fancy.Many items from England, reflecting the English background of the owners. They also specialize in handcast metal signs. – PB
1017 W. Bloomington Rd, Champaign, 359-9009
Mon-Fri 9am-7pm ,Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 10am-5pm
I really like Jack’s Greenery. Their plants are of excellent quality and Jack and his wife know a lot about plants. They even help me load the plants into my car. They will also order any special plants or heirloom vegetables. – GC

124 W.Main,Urbana, 384-6460
Tues-Fri 8:30am-6pm, Sat 8am-3pm
My breadmaker is now collecting dust since I started buying bread at Mirabelle in downtown Urbana. I love the smell of fresh baked bread. The staff is very helpful with ingredient inquiries and they even remember regular customers. – LE
Going into Mirabelle’s is like going into a real French bakery and the bread and pastries are every bit as good. Pastries can be made to order. This bakery has totally spoiled me. – PB
306 W. Springfield Ave,Urbana, 328-1655
Mon-Sat 7am-8pm, Sun 10am-6pm
Coming from the DC area, I thought local organic “health food” stores were a thing of our past, but we are so happy to have Strawberry Fields in the community. We love their “deli” food and the fact that vegan food is labeled. (Thank you!) It is great to walk into a store and see the owner working or eating his own food. The staff is incredibly friendly and helpful. – LE May be the only source for shade grown, organically grown coffee beans. – PB
2225 S.Neil, Champaign, 355-6365
Mon-Sat 9am-6pm
Since we live in Savoy, we are overjoyed to have Natural Gourmet close by. They have a great selection of supplements and other grocery items. The owners and staff are always helpful and happy to point out something new a customer might want to try. – LE
403 S.Wright, 352-3347
Mon-Fri 3pm-8pm, Sat 11am-4pm, Sun 11am-7pm
Common Ground Coop at the IDF is one of our favorite places to shop for groceries. I love the coop system and all the workers we’ve meet have been wonderful.Many days they have member baked goods and they specialize in locally grown organic produce.We are so lucky to have the coop in CU. – LE
117 W.Washington,Urbana, 384-6668 Everyday 7:30 am to 7pm (hours can vary) Owner operated, dedicated to serving the neighborhood. Knows customers by name. The best fresh eggs you can buy. Owner makes egg rolls that high school students love to eat for lunch! – PB

519 E.University, Champaign, 356-4444
Mon-Sat 10am-9pm, Sun 11am-6pm
Food tasting: every Saturday 11am-5pm
A fantastic assortment of foods from everywhere. We go there especially to buy olives, olive  oil, cheese and the best dark chocolate bars in existence. If you need an unusual item, the store’s owner will order it for you in a flash. – PB

109 N.Walnut, Champaign, 359-4266
Mon-Thurs 7am-11pm, Fri-Sat 7am-midnight, Sun 8am-11pm
If you enjoy reading The Paper or The Public i and drinking tea in a comfortable setting, look no further than Cafe Kopi in downtown Champaign.We are always running into people we know at Cafe Kopi and it is great place to meet. I love the hummus eggplant experience and the art work is always a treat. – LE
17 E. Taylor, Champaign, 366-3202.
Gallery: Tues-Sat 10am-10pm
Café: Mon-Sat 7am-10pm
Verde gallery and cafe in downtown Champaign has quickly become a family favorite. My three-year-old son loves to sit down with some soy milk and a magazine and “read.” I
love to look at the art and my husband is always up for their coffee. – LE
115 S.Walnut, Champaign, 351-6975
Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 10am-5pm
A great assortment of teas and coffees, pots and cups, biscuits and jams, etc… and if you can walk out the door without buying a melt-in-your-mouth caramel you’ve got real will
power. – PB
309 W. Kirby, Champaign, 352-2273
Mon-Sat noon-10pm, Sun 1pm-10pm
This is really good, creamy smooth frozen custard. I know people who mark the opening
day of the store in the Spring on their calendar, and who have a farewell cone at the close in Fall. Then it’s a long, dull winter. – PB
306 W. Springfield Ave,Urbana, 328-1655
Mon-Sat 7am-8pm, Sun 10am-6pm
…the café…
710 S. Goodwin,Urbana, 344-7619.
Mon-Thurs 11:30am-10pm, Fri 11:30am-11pm, Sat 5pm-11pm
Just the best Italian food anywhere. – PB
1209 W. Oregon,Urbana, 367-2340.
Only open during the U of I school year for lunch 11am-2pm and sometimes for Friday night pasta night (recommend calling ahead) I am always happy to eat at The Red Herring restaurant in the basement of the Channing-Murray Foundation. As a vegan, I am happy to have lunch or Friday night pasta with my family and non-vegan friends at the Red Herring. Great tasting healthy food at a child-friendly place…what more could I ask for? – LE
2560 South Stone Creek Blvd.,Urbana, 384-8111.
Mon-Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 10am-8pm
Good food and a really nice view over the golf course. Large parties can be accommodated. – PB
402 N. Race,Urbana, 328-3402
Mon-Thurs 11am-10pm, Fri 11am-11pm, Sun 10:30am-3pm; 4:30pm-10pm
Good food at a reasonable price. Very pleasant surroundings. Good Sunday brunch. – PB
111 N. Race,Urbana, 328-1811
Sun-Thurs 7am-11pm, Fri-Sat 7am-midnt.
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner everyday.
A popular, fun, good place to eat. Real wood booths. Good coffee. – PB
156-D Lincoln Square,Urbana, 344-8946
Tues-Sun 11am-2pm, 5pm-9pm; Fri-Sat 5pm-10pm
Some of the best food in town. Outdoor tables in summer (entrance is from the east side of Lincoln Square). – PB
805 S. Philo Road,Urbana, 344-0414
Mon-Sat 7am-3pm,Wed 7am-7pm
Unbeatable sandwiches and hearty soups. In the summer there’s nothing like a Lemon Shake-up to quench the thirst. –PB

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