OK, so we aren’t the Wall Street Journal, but we have opinions on what Champaign-Urbana business stories mattered to our readers in 2013. And yes, it’s all about consumerism. So without further ado, and in no particular order:
- Common Ground Food Co-Op Expands — and wow. The expansion of the co-op is truly a community victory. It was supported by local dollars and you should all pat yourselves on the back for a job well done. The new place is intoxicating.
- The new Stephens Family YMCA (formerly Champaign County YMCA) opens its doors to great fanfare. Recreation for all! We are big fans of the first completely accessible waterslide in the NATION, the kids indoor adventure center, the beautiful gyms, the walking track …do we go on?
- The Trader Joe’s petition goes viral. We had several posts here about the Trader Joe’s petition, both pro (by the petitioners) and con. Our take: we’ve followed the TJ’s rumors for years, and while it would be a nice amenity in town, we’re not we’re not holding our collective breath — or moving in protest.
- Women’s Lifestyle Magazine Comes — and goes. It burst on the scene in the spring, and by July, rumors were flying and the magazine’s publisher disappeared from the local scene. Remember talk of an August issue? Never happened.
- Five Guys Comes to Champaign-Urbana. The burger chain opened on North Prospect, further clogging up the retail strip — and who in the heck thought that parking lot would be adequate?
- Buca di Beppo opens in Market Place Mall — quick, name the original full-service restaurant that was in the space before Buca di Beppo opened in November. Trivia aside, the Italian family-style restaurant is a great place to take big groups.
- If You Build It, Chains Will Come: more chain restaurants/retailers that opened in C-U in 2012. Denny’s returns; Francesca’s Boutique Opens at Market Place Mall; Teavana Comes to Market Place Mall; HH Gregg goes into the former Linens-N-Things Space; Binny’s Beverage Depot takes over former Border’s location; TCBY returns to Old Farm Shoppes; Friday’s closes … and opens again, in a different location.
- The Food Truck Craze Continues. The Crave Truck came on the scene in 2011, but closed in 2012. The City of Champaign implemented a new “food truck program.” It paved the way for the new Cracked Truck. Another truck, Candide Coffee, came and went in 2012.
- Local, Local, Local: Several new locally owned businesses/restaurants opened … Big Grove Tavern, Wedge and Prairie Fire in Champaign; Rick’s Bakery and Cafe Zojo in Urbana. And Zorba’s, the Campustown institution, re-opened after more than a year’s absence due to fire.
- Shahid Khan buys the Jacksonville Jaguars. Well, this really isn’t a C-U story … but it is. Local businessman and philanthropist Shahid Khan achieves his dream to buy an NFL team, and even though it’s in Florida, the event brought good press to Champaign-Urbana.
What Champaign-Urbana business stories did you find fascinating in 2012? I’m sure we missed a few!