2022 Champaign County Shop Local Guide
Tis’ the season to be out shopping! It’s time to throw on your favorite sweater, some comfy shoes, and get ready to spend your way across the greater Champaign County area!
Lucky for us, we are home to a plethora of locally-owned businesses, restaurants, and artisan makers which makes the holiday shopping experience all-the-more merrier. From fashion-forward boutiques, award-winning cheeses and farm-to-table cuisine, unique games for the kids, expertly-crafted furniture in the heart of Amish country, and everything in between—there is a thoughtful gift for anyone who resides in the greater Champaign County area.
Don't just consider local this year; commit to local! Be sure to reference our 2022 shop-local guide when you decide to take your shopping list out into the community.
SHOP LOCAL GUIDE FOR THE GREATER CHAMPAIGN COUNTY AREA
WOMEN OWNED BUSINESSES TO SHOP THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
There are countless women-owned businesses to explore on our website, and a few make great stops as you start to knock out holiday shopping while supporting local. To start, if you know someone who loves a fragranced home, Fire Doll Studios offers a unique selection of handcrafted soy-based candles, wax-melts, and plenty more. House plants make for a fabulous gift no matter what the budget, and Planted has all of those needs covered! You can choose from a variety of houseplants, planters, pots, and various other accessories to ensure those plant babies thrive throughout the winter. If you know someone who practices sustainability in their everyday life, Greener Goods over at Mahomet, Illinois, is a wonderful choice; every item at Greener Goods is 100% recyclable, reusable, and waste-free. If you’re unsure of what to buy, but want to support women-owned businesses, Bohemia on Main (Urbana, Illinois) and Monticello Mercantile (Monticello, Illinois) are your one-stop-shops for stylish women’s apparel, home decor, glass-ware, kitchenware, knick-knacks, blankets, locally-owned art, and just about anything you can think of. Be sure to check out all the wonderful local women-owned businesses by exploring the tab on our website's business directory!
LOOKS YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY WILL LOVE!
If your list is calling for clothes and accessories, our local boutiques are here to level-up the most challenging wardrobes! If you’re shopping for a thrifting enthusiast, you can’t go wrong with Haus of Karma in Urbana. With an extensive range of men’s, women’s, and gender-neutral second-hand clothing, you’ll never worry about going out of style; perfect for young adults or the teenagers in your life.
Fira Boutique in Savoy, Illinois, is a popular pick for effortless women’s fashion and chic statement pieces for the closet. Furthermore, you can’t forget the guys in your life—they’ll be happy with something from Joseph Kuhn and Company, whether it's sleek business attire or everyday sportswear to tackle the day. Take it a step further and treat him to a quality haircut and fade at Beard Culture & Barbershop. They also sell apparel and products to keep his facial hair looking moisturized and healthy! Rainbows and Sunshine in Tuscola adds a slew of options to your holiday shopping list for the kiddos, featuring an array of children’s clothing for boys and girls sizes newborn to 16, as well as maternity clothes! Searching for accessories? Pipapo is all about delightful birch jewelry: earrings and pins that take the form of animals to flowers and abstract shapes. Did we mention you can purchase them at our retail space downtown? Lastly, go big for that special someone with fine jewelry from Christopher & Co.; their store is freshly decorated with festive window displays to make shopping fun and fit for anyone who needs a gift for that special someone.
If there’s one thing kids love about the holidays, it’s getting that new toy or game everyone’s talking about. Don't be fooled—anyone can enjoy a good game no matter their age! Whether you want to purchase a board game for the whole family, or you want to surprise your child with something Outside of Ordinary, there are a few local shops ready to help make this holiday successful. If you're buying for someone who is up for a challenge, a puzzle or brainteaser from Dr. G’s Brainworks inside Market Place Mall is a great place to find something as fun as it is mind-melting. Yellow and Co in Mahomet may be a boutique, but it also offers games, puzzles, and coloring books for both adults and children. While we're on the topic of gaming, you likely know someone itching for the latest board game, Pokémon cards, or Magic: The Gathering booster box. If so, Rad Lad Games in Mahomet is a place you'll need to visit! Gopher Mafia Games on University Ave is also a great choice to buy the latest collectibles, board games, accessories, and other gaming needs. A sure-fire gift-giving favorite is Art Mart, ready to bring a smile to your kids’ faces with unique toys, puzzles, games, and fun activities for all ages. If you want an activity for older kids, grab a gift card to an area escape room like Brainstorm Escapes or CU Adventures in Time & Space to give them a real challenge!
GIVE THE GIFT OF A COZY, COMFY HOME!
There’s no greater feeling than adding that perfect statement piece, furniture, or decoration to your home or apartment. If you know someone who loves their home as much as you do, be sure to consider one of the greater Champaign County’s home stores. St. Joseph’s Country Chics is a wonderful place to find rustic home décor and home accents, with favorites from Mudpie and more! For homemade bath and body products, make a trip to the Arthur General Store for bath bombs, lotions, and many other items from local makers. While you’re out there, Yoder’s Homestead Shop in Arcola, Illinois, offers beautifully-crafted Amish furniture in walnut, oak, quarter-sawn, cherry, hickory and maple.
There’s plenty of other things that might make a great housewarming gift for recent college grads, or newly moved friends and family. No matter who you're shopping for, there's certainly a treasure waiting for you at Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch’s gift shop in Rantoul. With vintage decorations, home accents and eccentric odds & ends, you can easily pick up gifts that range any interest and age-range. Texture Home at the Old Farm Shops in Champaign is a gorgeous collection of vintage home decor, furniture, draperies, art, and comfy finds that’ll put a smile on anyone's face as they unwrap their gift. If you’re shopping for a lover of antique collectibles, Sticks & Stones Vintage Upcycling and Curiosities in Monticello is a go-to pick, with upcycled high end furnishings also available in store. For fans of mid-century décor and other retro home furnishings, Furniture Lounge is a great place to find a new chair, table, or piece from their collection of art and decorative items for the home. Hoping to help a friend or family member decorate this season? Send someone a gift from Flora Design Studio to show your gratitude and wow them with something they’ll want to use all winter long! Catherine’s Gallery in Sullivan, Illinois, is also a hotspot for boutique shopping, home furnishings and accessories, and custom framing. Lastly, we can’t forget about the plant parents in your life: Plant Mode in downtown Champaign rotates their items frequently and provides a wide-variety of plants, succulents, and exotic finds you can’t get anywhere else. Prairie Gardens on the edge of Champaign is also a great choice, as you can find seasonal plants as well as decorative items for your home, inside and outside.
READ ALL ABOUT IT!
It’s tough to beat a great read during the winter months, so why not take advantage of some of the great booksellers we have in the greater Champaign County area? Three stories of adventures and timeless classics exist at the Jane Addams Book Store. A staple of the downtown Champaign shopping scene, Jane Addams offers amazing assortments of books, magazines, and more across all genres of reading. Who knows: you may come across some novelties that are more than 100 years old! In Monticello, Hartfield Book Company is specially curated to carry new books, unique, high-quality, book-related products and gifts, and a sure-fire way to please the bookworm in your life this holiday season. For vintage lovers and the philanthropic, Orphans Treasure Box doesn’t just stock some amazing secondhand finds, but also provides all proceeds to vulnerable kids and families in our area. If you have a friend who can’t stop watching Marvel movies in anticipation of the next wave of superhero epics, be sure to gift them something from G-Mart Comic Books to hold them over! Don’t worry DC and Image Comic fans—they’ve got you covered too, plus lots of indies and one-offs worth checking out! Lastly, The Literary is a crowd-favorite in the heart of downtown Champaign, and is a great place to find books and enjoy a bite to eat, a glass of wine, or a latte to refuel for more holiday shopping!
HOLIDAY MUST-HAVES FOR ACTIVE FRIENDS AND FAMILY!
No matter if someone is looking to get fit or has been active for years, fresh gear from a local Champaign County retailer or specialty shop is a guaranteed winner. BikeLab on campus is perfect for those who love to bike or might want to start riding into the new year. If they’re looking to stay on foot, Body N’ Sole is a favorite of Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon runners for a reason - the shop sells clothing, socks, shoes, and more to get them ready for their next race. Let’s face it; running or biking in this weather is a bit rough between snow and cold temperatures, so make sure to give the gift of protection from the elements with a purchase from Rugged Outdoors. How about the gift of staying active indoors? A great option is a gift card to Urbana Boulders, the only climbing facility in Champaign County, no matter if they’re new to climbing or not. Plus, you can always grab a gift card or punch pass to facilities offered through the Champaign Park District and Urbana Park District!
GIVE THE GIFT OF LOCAL FLAVOR!
Truly—the gift that keeps on giving is our robust food scene. As the proud title of Midwest Living’s Greatest Midwest Food Town, a free meal at one of our incredible local establishments in the Champaign County area is sure to win over any friend, family member, or loved one. Gift certificates are also offered at many local restaurants and make wonderful presents for locals and out-of-towners planning to visit!
Between food, drink, and desserts, you have a wide variety of options when gifting local flavor. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, a leader in the local food scene, sells their award-winning goat cheeses as well as their gelato. They’ll also have other food options like their homemade jam, and local options from other area farmers. Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery also won two categories in the 2022 American Cheese Society’s annual competition! There’s a lot to love about our local makers, including the Center for Honeybee Research’s international choice for the World’s Best Honey at Curtis Orchard & Pumpkin Patch! Their shop is still open with great gift items and delicious treats such as apple doughnuts, apple fritters, and their coveted apple slushies. If you’re looking to buy a treat that’s representative of our area, and can travel some distance, CBPB Popcorn is a great fit. Arguably the best local specialty sweets and gourmet popcorn establishment in Central Illinois, you can choose from a variety of popcorn as well as caramel apples!
Being surrounded by corn is quite the advantage, as we have some of the best local breweries in the Midwest. There is a porter, stout, or ale for everyone, and each location offers packaged beer to gift and give this holiday season! The award-winning Triptych Brewing offers their delicious brews in a can that you can purchase online and pick up at their location in Savoy. For the wine drinkers, Ladro Enoteca is an excellent choice that opened up earlier this year in downtown Champaign. Ladro Enoteca is a small wine bar that features natural and small production wines, on top of cured meats, smoked fish, and Spanish conserva. Likewise, Sun Singer and Art Mart have incredible lineups of the world's best wines to pick-up in-store and send off to friends and family. For a fun, bubbly beverage that's alcohol-free, stop by Lincoln Square Mall and try locally-made Kombucha from Cloud Mountain Kombucha!
If you’re looking for delectable sweets, Flesor’s Candy Kitchen over in Tuscola is beloved as it is delicious. Their chocolate recipes were passed down from generation-to-generation, with their chocolate truffles and old-fashioned soda fountains being a menu-favorite.
Lastly, our downtown Champaign establishments are something to brag about: Homegrown establishments like Big Grove Tavern, award-winning barbeque at Black Dog Ale and Smokehouse, authentic Asian Cuisine at Suzu’s bakery, Sticky Rice and KO Fusion, mouth-watering BBQ and soul food at Wood N Hog BBQ and Neil Street Blues: your options for gifting food are endless. You can explore all the different local restaurants you can support this holiday season here.
SHOW LOCAL PRIDE, SHOP CHAMBANA PROUD
We all have community pride, so for that Chambana native on your gift list, our retail space is a must-visit for your #OutsideOfOrdinary apparel! We have t-shirts, tote bags, hats, sweatshirts, and all of our t-shirts are designed by local artists and celebrate all-things-Chambana: From our Team Champaign-Urbana vs. Team Urbana-Champaign t-shirts, whipped cream in a can, CU Pride, the inventions of the modern web browser, super sweet corn, and a general love of Chambana—we've got a t-shirt designed for everyone.
We’re proud to house items from locally-owned makers, such as artisan soaps from The Wright Soapery, mugs and dishes by Piper Pottery, and wooden birch jewelry from Pipapo! All of these wares can be found at our office in downtown Champaign, or you can purchase them online at chambanaproud.com
Support local art!
We belong to a wonderfully-creative, art-forward community here in the greater Champaign County area, and art also happens to make a wonderful gift—whether you’re the sentimental type, a lover of nature, or anything in between! If you want to help someone add a feature piece to their home, Cinema Gallery, in the historic Princess Theatre in downtown Urbana, is the area’s largest fine art gallery. Over 70 professional artists around the Midwest showcase their work here, which gives you a lot to choose from to find that perfect gift, maybe even for yourself! Just down the block, The Gilbert Gallery, represents nearly 40 local artists, from jewelry to sculpture and everything in between. Bohemia in Urbana may be a boutique, but it's also home to the works of over 20 local artists, spanning from paintings, jewelry, and metal-work. Local favorite Larry Kanfer and his art gallery make for a one-stop-shop for home prints, books, calendars, and more that display the beauty of the prairie land. In Tuscola, a trip to The Vault Art Gallery is sure to net you a few holiday gifts. Across 12,000 square feet of space, you can shop the works of more than 60+ Central Illinois artists. Last but not least, consider something a bit more delicate from some glassmakers in our area! Award-winning Prairie Fire Glass Studios in Monticello creates meaningful glasswork from garden ornaments, jewelry, bowls, glasses, and even glass memorials with ashes to commemorate a loved one. Art By Allie Janae specializes in beautiful stained glass window ornaments, nightlights, and jewelry!
MUSIC TO OUR EARS!
It’s only fair to say we have a number of ways to make the music lovers in your life happy this holiday season. For the rock stars in your life, Corson Music is the place to be for percussionists and drummers. Guitarists can pick up new amps, music, and vintage guitars at The Upper Bout to help them go from the practice room to the big stage! Exile on Main St. has a massive selection of LPs and turntables for seasoned vinyl fans and See You CD & Vinyl offers great options for new and old ways of listening! Another great option is Record Swap. Originally opened in 1979, this stop is great for deep cuts and favorite hits from decades past. Champaign-Urbana is home to a killer music scene that lends itself to great local shopping options.
LOYAL TO ORANGE AND BLUE!
With a number of diehard Illini fans likely on your list, don’t overlook the easy win waiting for you with a U of I-centric gift! You can’t go wrong with the Illini Union Bookstore, stocked full of everything orange and blue. The IUB even stocks Chambana Proud shirts in-store so you don't have to wait for online ordering and shipping! Another fantastic option for your Illini spirit is GameDay Spirit, featuring official Illini wear for every season, occasion, and day of the week! With locations in Campustown and on Neil St., you can easily grab the gifts you need or a gift card to allow your recipient the freedom to pick something to their style and liking.
GIFT AN EXPERIENCE!
Experience gifts are a wonderful alternative to your holiday lists, as they provide long-lasting memories for your loved-ones (and prevents a cluttered home!). Champaign’s first-ever Axe-throwing bar is a perfect gift for large families or friends looking to experience a thrill, with over 10 throwing lanes, quality bar food, and over 24 beers on tap! CU Adventures in Time and Space is also a great way to bond with your loved-ones by tackling puzzles and challenges in a themed-escape room! For those who enjoy live entertainment, take your loved one to a live theatrical performance at the Little Theatre on the Square in Sullivan, where you can discover Broadway-quality entertainment right in the heart of the Midwest. The Krannert Center for the Performing Arts also brings in big-named talent for musical, vocal, and dance performances of all mediums. If you have any animal lovers in your circle, tickets to Aikman Wildlife Adventure in Arcola will make a perfect gift! As the only drive-thru zoo in the state of Illinois, you can get up close and personal to kangaroos, camels, hyenas, zebras, and many more critters. Lastly, you can always take your loved one out to downtown Champaign for a dining experience they’ll never forget. With over 40 locally owned restaurants, there’s something for any appetite!
SHOP LOCAL MAKER MARKETS!
We have a handful of maker markets to explore for your holiday shopping needs. You can check out the following pop-up style markets:
Riggs Christmas Market: November 25 - December 18
Urbana Mistletoe Market: December 3
Mahomet Holiday Market: December 4
Holiday Pop-up Market at the Station: December 17
Champaign Mistletoe Market: December 18
RECOGNIZE EXCEPTIONAL SERVICE THIS SEASON
If you're out shopping and an employee or associate makes the process enjoyable and easy, be sure to nominate them for our Cream of the Crop award! Champaign County is known for its Midwest hospitality, and we want to recognize those in this community that are Outside of Ordinary in customer service! The holidays are always difficult for retail and service workers, as they work odd hours and long shifts to ensure we are all taken care of. Give them the kudos they deserve by nominating them as Cream of the Crop for a social media shoutout and special thanks.
SHOPPING MADE EASY IN THE GREATER CHAMPAIGN COUNTY AREA
The options are endless for shopping in Champaign County! This year, our local businesses appreciate your support more than ever. Putting dollars into a small business means directly supporting the local economy as well as our neighbors, friends, and family who own businesses in the greater Champaign County area.