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It's Your Business: Karen's Kloset count climbing

A store that began as a dream of a small-town postmaster reached a milestone last week.

Karen's Kloset, a resale shop at the Country Fair Shopping Center in Champaign, served its 20,000th consigner/customer.

The store has been offering clothing to thrifty shoppers in the area for nearly 25 years. The store's owner, Karen Boudreau, got the idea for Karen's Kloset while sorting mail and packages as the postmaster of Pesotum in about 1990.

"I was a single parent of two kids, and I love to shop," Boudreau said. "At the time, there was only one resale shop in town, and I thought I could do it better with a nice-looking store."

When Boudreau shared her dream with her children, the kids wholeheartedly supported her. Karen's Kloset was born.

The current store is actually the fourth building to host Karen's Kloset.

Boudreau started out selling clothing in a building on East University Avenue in Champaign.

"I opened it up with clothing from my closet (hence the name, Karen's Kloset) and from my friends' closets," she said.

After three years, the shop moved to 304 S. Neil St., next to the Tumble Inn.

"We shared a basement with the Tumble Inn," she said. "I was there for two years."

Boudreau said the third site, on Glenn Park Drive, was a bit cramped.

"The space was only 750 square feet; it was just packed," she said. "My joke was that the only way we could have more room for merchandise was if we had a dry cleaning rack on the ceiling."

In 2000, Karen's Kloset moved to its current site at Country Fair.

"Our store strives to satisfy the varied needs of residents, offering everything from high-quality women's clothing to designer handbags," she said.

The business will celebrate its 25th birthday in April.

Beauty supply buy

A longtime hairstylist has acquired the former Rhodes Beautician Supplies at 1108 N. Cunningham Ave., U.

Fuad Handal of Urbana, who has owned Fuad's Creative Hair Design on South First Street in Champaign for more than 30 years, said the new name of the business will be H-F Beauty Supply.

"Rhodes has been in business for 90 years, so I thought taking it over would be a good investment," Handal said.

He described the business as a wholesaler for professional beauty salons and barbershops.

Handal's plans include carrying exclusive products for beauty salons, especially products under the Evox brand.

"I would like to change the industry for the better and move the salons forward," he said.

"I am all about making clients and people look gorgeous and feel great about themselves."

Handal named his son, Jad Handal, as the chief executive officer for the Urbana wholesaler, which has five employees.

H-F Beauty Supply is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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photo:black formal dresses

Its grand opening celebration will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and Monday.

The store may be reached at 344-8910.

Outdoor beer garden

Following a successful Kickstarter campaign, Sipyard, an outdoor beer garden, has opened at 204 W. Main St., U.

The outdoor space features gravel and boardwalk groundwork, dramatic murals on its walls and four large, bright red shipping containers to be used as concession stands, covered seating and vendor stalls.

Urbana Business Association marketing and events coordinator Jessica Snyder said Sipyard will focus on showcasing local businesses in its space, including local breweries, food options and retailers.

Sipyard is open from 4 p.m. to midnight on Thursday and Friday and noon to midnight on Saturday.

Rental cottage opens

Pines Cottage, a new "short stay" rental cottage, opened today in Monticello.

Pines Cottage is a fully furnished rental home that is available for two-day, weekly or monthly stays.

Persons interested in staying there can call owners Don and Pam Ashcraft of Monticello at 762-2674.

Rantoul grand reopening

Rantoul Press Editor Dave Hinton reports that Java Connection, an upscale food and coffee shop at 107 E. Sangamon Ave. in Rantoul, will hold a grand reopening Friday.

Dinner will be served at 5 p.m., followed by a 7 p.m. Christian concert featuring Eric Kidwell of Rantoul's Christian Life Church and Phoebe Lenear.

The establishment operated by the Rantoul First United Methodist Church has a new chef, Curtis McGhee.

"McGhee has partnered with Java Connection to offer his version of Southern cuisine — in his words, soul food," Hinton said. "What better place to offer soul food than at a church-based place? So far, so good."

The business features fresh ingredients, so salt and pepper are not needed at the tables.

"Salt and pepper sort of (aggravates) me," McGhee said, adding he sees so many people at restaurants put salt and pepper on their food before they even taste it because they're used to the food being bland.

McGhee's food is available from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

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