Brilliant Stories

Local Summer Shopping Spree

June 8, 2020

Local retailers are settling into the new plans for Phase Three safety guidelines after weeks of wondering when they could reopen. The shops that line our downtown streets and fill our shopping plazas are run by neighbors, friends, and family. Many of us want to know what we can do to help our local businesses during these uncertain times, and in many cases, it's as easy as shopping local every chance we get. The greater Champaign County area is reopening and ready for shoppers, and we have your guide to some of the best gifts, products, and goods in the area.



Between food, drink, and desserts, you have a wide variety of options when shopping for local flavor; we are Midwest Living’s Greatest Midwest Food Town after all! Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery a leader in the local food movement, sell 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. It’s easy to make a coffee-lover happy this time of year with a single origin roast from Page Roasting Company, served at Flying Machine Avionics.

If you enjoy a good drink, then you're lucky to shop for the best beer and wine our area has to offer! Between our local breweries, there is a porter, stout, or ale for everyone. For the wine drinkers, Wyldewood Cellars is now making its Kansas-based wine right here in St. Joseph across from their storefront. You can also try flavors in the Champaign tasting room at Alto Vineyards before bringing a bottle (or a few) home. Lastly, if you’re looking for a quick treat or bite to eat, including desserts that look as good as they taste, Hopscotch Bakery+Market always has amazing pastries behind the glass and gorgeous cakes and pies in the cooler! If you're not sure what you want quite yet, go with a gift card. Many of our locally-owned shops and restaurants offer certificates.


A book for your next summer road trip or just a relaxing day under the sun is always necessary. Why not take advantage of some of the great booksellers we have in Champaign County? Three stories of adventures and timeless classics exist at the Jane Addams Book Store. in downtown Champaign. 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 for bookworms to find their next great read. 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!


Is there any better feeling than adding a new, perfect-for-you decoration to your home? Be sure to consider one of the greater Champaign County’s home stores. At Ms. Becky’s Country Primitive Gifts and Décor, you can find just about anything country-inspired you could think of! If you love gifting ornaments to anyone, this is definitely the place to come! St. Joseph’s Country Chics is also a wonderful place to find that cozy home décor you’re looking for, 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 more from local makers. There are also plenty of other things sprinkled in that might make a great home warming gift for recent college grads or newly moved friends and family.

Speaking of, 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. Yellow & Co. has a mix of fun and unique pieces to help people feel happy at home, Sale Street Boutique in Tuscola is full of fantastic collections of home décor and jewelry, and Monticello Mercantile, located off the historic square in Monticello, is a unique place to find the statement pieces you need to complete your living room, bedroom, and the entire home. Not quite sure what you're looking for? Browsing the 8,000+ square feet at Antiques & More at Staley Road is a great way to find something you'll love.

Stay (or get) Active this summer!

No matter if you've been looking to get fit or have been active for years, fresh gear from a local Champaign County retailer or specialty shop is a guaranteed winner. Neutral Cycle on campus is perfect for those who love to bike or might want to start riding into the new year. They offer summer rentals if you're not ready to buy a bike, and offer a pop-up tuning shop at Analog all June long! If you'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. Plus, you can always grab a gift card or punch pass to facilities offered through the Champaign Park District and Urbana Park District!

Keep the kids happy all summer long

With many summer activities canceled or in jeopardy, activities for kids are going to be a hot commodity in our area this summer. Luckily, a lot of our local shops offer options to keep your kids busy and happy! If your kids are 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! Have a gamer in the family? Live Action Games is at a new location in Downtown Champaign and fully stocked with new hits for the Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch, as well as retro favorites. A sure-fire favorite is Art Mart, ready to bring a smile to your kids’ faces with toys, puzzles, games, and fun activities for all ages. 


If you're behind on updating your clothes and accessories, local shops are ready to help! From top names in style to finds you won’t believe, head to Bluebird Boutique in Urbana to find the latest and greatest gifts for women of all ages. For the classic looks and bold accessories everyone loves, Circles Boutique is a staple of Downtown Champaign and many wardrobes! Be sure to also stop by Checkered Moon for great pieces for the wardrobe. Need a hat to block the sun or stay stylish? Happy Jack Hat Co. features favorite brands and amazing products from local makers at their shop! Lastly, fine jewelry from Christopher & Co can be a great way to make a statement with gorgeous pieces that fit any occasion.


The local art scene is something we’re extremely proud of in the greater Champaign County area, and it also happens to make for a great array of sources of shopping! To start, if you have an artist at home, shop curbside pickup or local delivery at Art Coop for supplies to keep them creating into the new year. 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. 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. Last but not least, consider something a bit more delicate from a glassmaker in our area! Prairie Fire Glass offers a number of pieces for sale in-house that can help complete any room of the house in style!


It’s only fair to say we have a number of ways to make the music lovers in our community happy with a ton of options to shop music gear and more. 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! If you’re looking for a new speaker set-up, ARS Harmonia is a saving grace for audiophiles, featuring handmade, custom speakers that are sure to blow friends and family away!


We all have community pride, so to show off a bit of local love, check out our new line of t-shirts designed by local artists that celebrate all things Chambana. From the inventions of the modern web browser, whipped cream in a can, and super sweet corn, to the general love of Chambana, we've got a t-shirt for everyone. Shop now!

A list of local shops and their updated hours and operations can be found on this page of our website. 

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