Business owners talk changes on Main Street

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — A downtown drum shop is closing its doors after more than 30 years in the business. Skins ‘N Tins opened in 1989. The shop sits downtown at the corner of Main and Walnut. The owners announced they’re closing because it’s time for them to retire.

Another example of a big change happening in that part of town is The Venue CU, A wedding venue which is taking over 51 Main and Memphis on Main. The Venue at CU just announced that change in October. 51 Main was a nightclub. In February, the owners announced it would be moving to Bradley Avenue where Rafters used to be. Memphis on Main closed in October 2018.

There are some staples that have remained. Jos. Kuhn & Co, the men’s clothing shop, for example. They’ve been in that area since 1865.

We talked to the owner of Esquire and Black Dog, Pedro Heller. Black Dog’s second location is just down the street from Skin N’ Tins. Heller says he has noticed many changes during just the four years he’s been at that spot. Despite some businesses leaving, he says other new ones have taken their places. However, he says that increase in business has taken away from the hometown feel the area used to have.

“It’s not as personal as it used to be. When there wasn’t all these businesses out here, you knew everybody that you saw around but now it’s become more impersonal, and you don’t know everybody like you used to,” said Heller.

Heller said he is happy overall with the direction the area is going, but says it would be helpful if there were more parking spots to accommodate the new business and shoppers. He also said he’s happy with the good relationship he has with the owner business owners in that block.

January 31st will be the last day for Skins ‘N Tins.

The new owners of The Venue CU are still working on renovations. They hope to open around June 15th. The original plan was to open on April 1. The renderings can be found below.

Varsity Ballroom rendering of The Venue at CU
Outside rendering of The Venue CU

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