Mackinaw Mail

Yoga4Life Studio in Mackinaw

Yoga may be one of the oldest practices in human history to focus on a person’s happiness - a person’s physical and emotional well-being. In the United States it is estimated that 36 million adults practice yoga on a regular basis. They are likely to practice one of a couple kinds of yoga that derive from Vedic yoga and involve 12 basic postures, with names like cow, cobra, or fish. These kinds of yoga will also involve teaching deep breathing patterns  along with a focus on being present and mindful. Luckily for Mackinaw area residents, we have an expert on the subject: Julie Rhoades of Yoga4Life, located at 107 South Main Street in Mackinaw.

Illinois Unemployment Rates Down for the Tenth Consecutive Month, Jobs up in Most Metro Areas

SPRINGFIELD – The unemployment rate decreased over-the-year in all fourteen Illinois metropolitan areas in January for the tenth consecutive month according to preliminary data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). Jobs were up in twelve metro areas, and were unchanged in one, and down in another.

KDJ Sales and Services in Mackinaw

For this week’s Business Spotlight, I was able to speak with President of KDJ Sales and Services Inc, Dustin Schmidgall, and get a peek into the history of his company and what the future may look like moving forward. Started by Keith Schmidgall in Armington IL in 1978, the company originally focused on residential plumbing, electrical, and HVAC. After about 7 years, the decision was made to move the company to Mackinaw in 1985 and switch focus to doing electrical work on grain elevators. In 1987, the company moved to the Mackinaw Industrial Park, where they remain today. In 1995, KDJ added to their list of services when they added automation and control systems development.

In Time for Spring, 3:7 Garden Shed in Hopedale

Opening up on April 9, 2022, the 3:7 Garden Shed is a gardening shop owned by Jeff and Chris Litwiller but you may also see their four daughters around the shed helping out. The 3:7 Garden Shed took the place of the Hopedale Garden Shop after the owner decided to sell the business to Jeff and Chris Litwiller. Before this, the business originated as Slager Lawn Service in the 1980s. The shed’s name comes from 1 Corinthians 3:7; “Neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow”.

F.L. Sons Fire Equipment

With 10 years of experience in fire equipment and the fire safety industry, Fred Lawrence, along with his wife Emily, started Fred Lawrence and Sons Fire Equipment in Pekin in 2010. Business came quickly and before long, the decision was made to incorporate the business to its current name F.L. Sons Fire Equipment Inc. in 2015. Fred and Emily began hiring employees and realized that their current situation: one work truck, a very small 10’x15’ garage, and a spare room in their home acting as an office - just wasn’t going to meet their needs. So, the Lawrence family started to look elsewhere, knowing that they would need a home for them and their 2 sons, along with a separate building to run their business out of.

VTB Bank is Russia’s second largest lender and controlled by the Russian government.

U.S. Treasury Sanctions Russian Banks

WASHINGTON – The United States took significant and unprecedented action to respond to Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine by imposing severe economic costs that will have both immediate and long-term effects on the Russian economy and financial system. The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today imposed expansive economic measures, in partnership with allies and partners, that target the core infrastructure of the Russian financial system — including all of Russia’s largest financial institutions and the ability of state-owned and private entities to raise capital — and further bars Russia from the global financial system. The actions also target nearly 80 percent of all banking assets in Russia and will have a deep and long-lasting effect on the Russian economy and financial system.

Carol Ann’s Worsh House: Not Your Average Laundromat

Carol Ann’s Worsh House is a laundromat located on 109 SW Arch Street in Atlanta, Illinois. This business was opened just a little over one year ago on account of the small town needing a place to wash or “worsh” their clothes after the previous laundromat owner passed away. Jared and Brandy Mattingly saw an opportunity to reopen the facility and stepped up to the task! The name “Carol Ann’s Worsh House” is named in honor of Jared’s mother, the late Carol Ann Mattingly. Both Jared and Brandy’s mothers used to “worsh” everything.

How Can I Fund My Music Projects?

The phrase “starving artist” has become a cliché because it’s often true. Indeed, it can take a long time before an independent artist starts earning enough from their music to make a living. Musicians often find themselves in the proverbial “catch-22” of having to take a regular job to fund their music but then not having enough time or energy left at the end of the day to pursue their musical endeavors. The good news is, there is a way! There are music funding “secrets” any artist can use to start earning passive income to fund their music projects.

Mackinaw Valley Karate and Fitness

Nestled in the Mackinaw business district, there lies a small building with enormous heart. If you drop in at 107 Fast Avenue, in Mackinaw, you’ll likely find Keyth Mooneyham practicing his craft - Shotokan Karate. Keyth, 43, practiced the art as a child, Keyth decided to return to it in 2007 when his children became school aged. In 2011, Keyth earned his blackbelt and, around the same time, took over the program from his former sensei. He described that transition as “flawless”, owing to the fact that he had spent years training in the building.

K’s Cafe in Minier: Local, Homemade, and Fresh

K’s Cafe is a small, locally owned and operated restaurant on 111 South Main Street in Minier, IL. They serve a variety of different kinds of foods, including but not limited to, walleye, pork chops, tenderloins, burgers, and fried chicken.  To write this article, my family and I went to K’s Cafe to try out the food for ourselves. Their Friday night specials were butterfly pork chop, walleye, catfish, or spaghetti meals. We decided on three pork chop and one chicken strip dinner. They all came with a choice of potato and one side. My dad opted to forgo his sides and went for a one-trip salad bar instead for only an extra $1. To say the least, we all enjoyed our food immensely and were surprised with how everything was homemade and fresh! The salad bar was plentifully stocked. The portions were quite large and very fairly priced.

The Tea Room at the Depot

At the edge of Mackinaw sits an interesting piece of central Illinois history. Known as “The Tea Room” today, this old train station was once a stop on a trolley line that existed between Champaign and St. Louis. In 1978, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Despite this designation, The Depot sat empty for 40 years until an experienced business woman with a vision stepped in. Enter: Beth Wiegand.

The Quiram-Peasley Funeral Home in Atlanta

The Quiram-Peasley Funeral Home is in Atlanta, Illinois. This business was owned by the Quiram family starting with Gordon Quiram in the 1940s. His children, John and Jim, continued the family legacy until Don Peasley took over in September 2006. Now, the funeral home has been independently owned and operated by Don Peasley, a funeral director since 1993. Don purchased his first funeral home in Lincoln in 2002, known as the Peasley Funeral Home. His sister, Krystal Peasley Salvator also works as a partner and licensed funeral director. 

Funks Grove Country Store: Antiques, Primitives

The Funks Grove Country Store is a store that offers a wide range of antiques spanning decades. The owners of this store are Judi Braid, who I interviewed for this spotlight, and Rey Jannush. In 2018 the two decided to partner up and run the antique store together. When speaking to Judi she said that they “both love antiques and creating, so that was probably the big draw to do it together.”

WeCraft Family

Amber Lesson of Atlanta just began her business with WeCraft Family in January 2021. In reality, Amber created this business by accident. All she wanted to do was make a door sign for her friend. Then, she saw a sweatshirt with a cute boutique design and thought, “I can make that cheaper!” With a big hit in this, the WeCraft Family business began. At this time, her family was planning a trip to Washington D.C. and was just trying to make the money to pay for it. WeCraft Family was going to be a little side gig business, but it has now turned into a “second full-time job.” 

Gordy’s Garage

Gordy’s Garage is a local small engine repair shop ran by Mike Fuller. The shop is located in McLean and is specialized in repairing all kinds of small engines. Some examples are lawn mowers, chain saws, weed eaters, and other similar items. Essentially anything that has a small engine on it can be repaired by Mike.

Funk’s Grove Maple Sirup

Funks Grove Maple Sirup is located in the heart of Central Illinois. This is a rural area of homes, fields, creeks, trees, animals, and plenty of nature. Funks Grove Pure Maple Sirup is owned by the Funk family. They have been running this historic business since 1824. 

McLean Depot Train Shop

Tom Ludlam is the owner of the McLean Depot Train Shop and has been for 11 years. After he retired from the army, he had an opportunity where he could use the Depot building for a train shop, something he had “in the back of [his] mind to be an interesting thing to do for many years”, so he took the chance. The Depot is owned by the village, but he runs it and the Train Shop together. He loves being his own boss and working in a hobby he has an interest in.

TNT Farms Horseback Riding

This week, we would like to spotlight the business of TNT Farms. Taylor Harvey is the owner, and she is a 22-year-old running a personal hobby farm based out of Waynesville. She has three horses, a mini donkey, two goats, and two chickens.

Pub 52

Born from a need for paintball, Pub 52 has had a wild evolution. Explaining this evolution, owner Larry Morgan, took me on a quick tour of the property. We started on the paintball course, where he showed me a couple “Holes” for his next idea: paintball golf. Yes, this is exactly what it sounds like, and it looks just as hard. Next, he took me to the side of his building and pointed out his plans to expand the cement landing for more outdoor space. Larry also quickly told me about other ideas he has tried in the past: miniature golf and batting cages. Shrugging with a bit of a smile, Larry says “Some ideas work out, others don’t”.

Missy’s Cupcakes, Cookies, and More

Missy’s cupcakes, cookies, and more is a baking business based in Stanford and run by Missy Gaither out of her home. Missy started this business about 10 years ago because of her love of baking. As an entrepreneur she has turned her passion into a business and one of her favorite parts is being her own boss. Not only this but she loves meeting new people through her work. Missy wants to “grow [her] business and someday have a storefront.”

Mackinaw IGA

At the corner of N. Main and Fast Ave. sits a pillar of the Mackinaw community - a building in which every resident of Mackinaw has visited, most on a weekly basis. Honestly, it would be tough to overstate the relationship Mackinaw IGA has with the community. If it’s possible for a small-town grocery store to transcend into something much more, Mackinaw IGA has surely reached that status. 

The Tea Room at the Depot

At the edge of Mackinaw sits an interesting piece of central Illinois history. Known as “The Tea Room” today, this old train station was once a stop on a trolley line that existed between Champaign and St. Louis. In 1978, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Despite this designation, The Depot sat empty for 40 years until an experienced business woman with a vision stepped in. Enter: Beth Wiegand.

Noah’s Ark Small Animal Hospital

The phrase “dogs are a man’s best friend” applies to lots more animals than just dogs when you are talking about Veterinarian Shawn Hohulin. Doctor Shawn runs Noah’s Ark Small Animal Hospital in Minier, IL and is one of the best in the business.  Noah’s Ark Small Animal Hospital is located on Route 122 just outside of Minier to the west. The business began in the 1990s in the town of Miner, but moved to the current location in the mid-to-late 1990s. 

Hopedale Agri Center

The Hopedale Agri Center is an agriculture business located in Hopedale. They sell both equipment and custom feed for cattle, horses, sheep, goats, and pigs. They also have recently added a gift shop, The Mill Gift Shop, filled with many items ranging from fun house decorations to boots and T-shirts located inside the Hopedale Agri Center. Right now, the shop is full of fall themed decor and shirts. The Hopedale Agri Center works well with The Mill Gift Shop, encouraging all their customers to check out the shop when they stop by. 

The Sip Shack

The Sip Shack is a drive-thru coffee hut located in Atlanta owned by Molly Mowery and Samantha Runge. They have just recently opened on Wednesday, July 21, and they are very excited for their new business to get rolling. Molly and Samantha’s goal for The Sip Shack is to give their customers an experience that is “quality and convenient with a laid-back vibe.” The Sip Shack will be a great spot for locals to stop by and grab a quick coffee, lotus energy drinks, tea, lemonade, or even a smoothie. 

Earlybird Grain and Fertilizer

Stanford’s Earlybird Grain and Fertilizer is a family business that you can trust with your ag inputs and chemical and fertilizer application needs. The business began in 1964, making this the 57th year Earlybird has been in business. Their helpful staff members include: Gerry Doehrmann, Shawn Desch, Erica Motes, Scott Freitag, Bill Carpenter, Justin Hodges, Andrew Knoll, and Quentin Frost. While describing the type of customer service they provide, Bill Carpenter stated, “Everybody here cares about every customer. Whether it is a big or small customer, everyone is treated the same. We work hard to please everyone.”

Sweeney Repair: Specializing in On-Site Diesel Work

Sweeney Repair is a diesel repair shop for businesses and farms located in Armington. They specialize in on-site repairs to give their customer’s the most convenient service they can. Sweeney Repair is owned by Ryan and Stacey Sweeney and they got their start in 2010, with Ryan working in their driveway. Soon after, they had a machine shop built and Ryan started working out of the shop. They now own a shop on N Maple Street in Armington. 

Cremeens U-Stor-It

Cremeens U-Stor-It provides storage needs for three of our local towns. The business has locations for self-storage set up in Hopedale, Minier, and Delavan, IL. Cremeens U-Stor-It is a family owned and operated business that began in 1993. Myrna Cremeens and her husband built two storage buildings as a way to make a good retirement income. Those first two buildings were located in Hopedale and Minier, with one in each town. Myrna explained that they kept adding buildings to each location as they felt it was necessary and expanded to Delavan about 7 years ago.

Carz R Us

Carz R Us is a car dealership located in Armington. Carz R Us sells used cars, car parts, and offers car service to customers. They offer many different types of vehicles such as, coupes, sedans, convertibles, vans, suvs, and trucks. Carz R Us is open from 9 am- 5 pm Monday through Friday. Carz R Us works with customers from all over the Armington area. The statement on the business’ website says, “We take pride in the way we do business. We focus 100% on our customers and believe car-buying should be a fun, hassle-free experience! Our impressive selection of cars, trucks, and suvs is sure to meet your needs.” 

JD’s DJ Service: The Soundtrack for Cruise Nights

Everything happens for a reason. This well-known phrase holds true in our business spotlight today. Jeff McGee experienced a no-show for the DJ he hired for his wedding. He improvised and took over the responsibilities of DJ and groom. After working as the DJ for a friend’s weekend, his business never looked back. JDs DJ Service started on November 23, 1991 and began with working weddings and parties. Since then, the business has shifted to working automotive events. The mobile DJ service caters to car shows and cruise nights. McGee’s DJ service is located out of Delavan, IL and has different options for the services that can be provided.

The Gift Box in Atlanta: Locally made unique gifts

The Gift Box is a gift shop in Atlanta located just off Historic Route 66. The Gift Box offers locally made unique gifts and free gift wrapping. Currently, they have 21 local artisans located in Atlanta, Lincoln, Bloomington, and McLean. You can find many different items at The Gift Box including goat soap and bath products, stained glass, laser engraved items, blown glass, candles, wax, handmade jewelry, bird houses, signs, repurposed farm and garden tools, candy, popcorn, t-shirts, Watkins table runners, boo boo bags, aprons, rugs, and many more great gift items. The Gift Box is open Wednesday- Saturday from 10 AM- 4 PM and Sunday from 12:00 PM- 4:00 PM. They also offer local delivery and can schedule appointments for any possible wants a customer could have. Artists that work with The Gift Box are more than willing to customize their items to create something that you would be proud to give as a gift. 

Simply Sweet Cakes

Simply Sweet Cakes is a specialty cake and cupcake shop located at 107 W Pearl St in Tremont, IL. Throughout the year, the shop offers over 120 flavors of cupcakes and will have up to 30 flavors available daily. Flavors available for each month can be found by going to the “flavors and fillings” tab on the Simply Sweet Cakes Website. Three flavors that will be offered for cupcakes in June include: lemonade, hot fudge sundae, and turtle. Their cakes are covered with homemade buttercream icing. Simply Sweet Cakes claims to offer “the most unique cakes and cupcakes around central Illinois”. Based on the pictures shown on the business’ Facebook and website, their claim seems to be true. Each cake truly is a unique piece of art.

White’s Farm Equipment

White’s Farm Equipment is a business in Waynesville that sells new and used farm equipment and a variety of vintage tractor and machine parts. Looking more specifically at their products, they sell Westfield Augers, Big Dog Mowers, Bobcat Mowers, a variety of new and used equipment, Interstate Batteries, KillBro Grain Wagons, TroyBuilt, and Summers tillage and spray equipment.  They also can provide maintenance to automotive, lawn mowers, and farm equipment. Being one of the only local farm equipment providers for Waynesville and other small towns in the area, White’s Farm Equipment is known for having a great connection with it’s customers. Their commitment to a strong relationship with Waynesville and other small towns has been a key factor in the business’ success.

Paws Awhile Dog Grooming

Paws Awhile Dog Grooming is a dog grooming business based out of Stanford, IL. Stephanie Smith began her business about three years ago. She was given the idea from local people in the area telling her how convenient it would be to have a dog groomer for all of the small towns in the area. Smith discussed that she started grooming out of her house part time until she had built up enough business to have a full-time shop. Paws Awhile has nothing but positive reviews and comments from the business’ Facebook customers. One review left stated, “We absolutely love bringing our dogs to Stephanie! She is a wonderful groomer, patient and extremely affordable. And our dogs like it there too.” Smith’s business is rated five out of five stars from the customers. 

Hopedale Garden Shop: A Staple for Gardeners

The Hopedale Garden Shop is a garden center located in Hopedale that supplies soil, potted plants, lawn decorations, and other garden necessities. It has been a staple for gardeners in Hopedale and the surrounding communities. To have such a convenient location and great service available within minutes to maintain a beautiful garden, is the main advantage of the Hopedale Garden Shop. Like any local business, it has been extremely important for the Hopedale Garden Shop to maintain a steady relationship with local gardeners, which they have done by providing quality products with every product they sell to their customers. 

Grayco Heating and Cooling: Quality and Service

Tim and Julie Gray began Grayco Heating and Cooling 36 years ago, and have been based out of Danvers, IL for the last 26 of those years. The heating and cooling company repairs existing furnaces and air conditioners and installs new ones as well. They are an authorized AMANA dealer. The local company is an entirely family-owned business. Tim is the chief engineer and Mason and Michael are the HVAC service technicians. Mason and Michael are the ones who service and install all of their units. Julie is the office manager and answers the phones, oversees the scheduling, and handles payments and financing.

Village Flowers & Gifts

Village Flowers & Gifts is a local flower shop in Minier owned by Susie Smith. They pride themselves on providing a 100% satisfaction guaranteed to create long term relationships with their customers. Village Flowers & Gifts has a great connection with the local community and the emphasis that they put on maintaining that connection has really paid off for them. They are a wonderful small business that a lot of locals depend on for flowers on special occasions, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day. 

Leann’s Something For You

Leann Boyd is a mom of two children with a passion for selling rare and unique items. Boyd began the business “Leann’s omething For You” to fufill her passion. Located in Armington, IL, she sells antiques, jewelry, home decor, books, music, and other unique items. She will also be selling flowers and plants throughout the warmer months. Boyd also has a passion for gardening, and will sell quality plants that have been taken care of well. She has been running this business for over a decade, so you can expect high quality items from the shop. Many of the reviews on the business’ eBay shop state that the items are packed very well, the shipping is quick, and that Boyd is easy to work with. Boyd’s average rating for the business within the last 12 months are: five stars for accurate description, shipping speed, and communication and four and a half stars for reasonable shipping cost. 

The Hardesty Company

The Hardesty Company is known as a motorcycle repair shop, although they do much more than just repair motorcycles. The business in Danvers provides on or off-site inspections and appraisals on modern, classic, and antique cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, and “just about anything with an engine.” With the weather finally starting to turn, classic vehicle owners are starting to bring out their prized possessions. The Hardesty Company hopes to help all classic vehicle owners attain sufficient insurance, to protect all of the hard work that owners have put into their vehicles during the winter. With a proper appraisal done by The Hardesty Company, classic vehicle owners can give the appraisal to their insurance agent to ensure their vehicles will be covered and protected. The Hardesty Company will also help owners with any repairs that they could possibly need. 

Breezy Bluff Riding Academy

Breezy Bluff Riding Academy started in 1983 with 4 neighborhood kids as the customers with only word of mouth to grow the business. The business has grown to 35 to 50 students per week. Betty Broadfield is the owner of the business and she has been instructing since the business began. She is the author of any material provided with the lessons given. At the academy, they teach western to eastern on the flat style, and to use verbal cues and natural aids while riding. The youngest riders are 4 years old, and their oldest student is in her 70s. They can take riders up to 285 pounds, which is more than other stables typically take. They have been in business for almost four decades and Breezy Bluff Riding Academy still has a perfect safety record. Betty would want a potential customer to know that one phrase that describes her company is “safety first”. 

Minier Lanes Bowling Alley

Minier Lanes is a bowling alley that provides family fun to locals by way of bowling. They host many bowling leagues and events throughout the year that are enjoyed by citizens in Minier and the surrounding area. Some of their events include the 9 Pin no Tap Team Tournament, 9 Pin Snake Bite Tournament, and open bowling on the weekends. They have leagues available for children and adults to compete and have fun. Minier Lanes has extremely positive feedback with 4.9 stars out of 5 from 46 Google reviews. It is also highly recommended by Olympia High School’s IHSA State bowler Trevor White. 

Arcadia Arcade Museum

Arcadia is a playable arcade museum packed with vintage arcade games. Arcadia is located in downtown McLean, IL about 12 miles south of Bloomington-Normal on Interstate 55. John Yates opened the family friendly business in 2009 with the purpose of recreating an arcade from the 80s/90s. He wants it to be a place where families can go and enjoy what it would be like to go to an arcade from that era. Yates stated that he opened the arcade as a way to take his mind off of a recent failed internet startup. He had been collecting arcade games since he was in high school and he already owned the building, so he decided to go for it. He had tried to open an arcade in the McLean location about five years prior to the opening of Arcadia, but unfortunately it didn't work out. He debated remodeling the building into a coffee shop, but decided to try again. Perseverance paid off for Yates, with Arcadia being a unique arcade business that has been running for twelve years now. 

Central Illinois Limo Service

Central Illinois Limo Service LLC is a limo service based out of Bloomington and is “open to wherever the party goes.” Oftentimes, this includes small towns in the surrounding area, including our communities. The owners are father and son, Bill and Ryan Curtis. Bill worked for the Department of Corrections for many years and Ryan attended Heartland and Illinois State for his education. He now works full time as a commercial lender at a bank in Danvers and having this small town connection proved to be very important in opening their limo business. Ryan also runs another business called The Shrimp Farm, where he sells freshwater aquarium shrimp. As you can see, Ryan has a desire to learn how businesses make money. Ryan says that this desire “leads me into having a wide range of any business for sale or business ideas.”

The Farm Sitter

The Farm Sitter is a dog walking, pet and farm sitting business from Mackinaw, IL. that owner Chris Youngmark opened in 2018. When asked about how he got started, he proclaimed, “I began The Farm Sitter based on the premise of helping farmers in rural areas with pet care when they are away from their residence, specifically in the Mackinaw Area where I reside.”

Retrospect Salon & Boutique

Retrospect Salon & Boutique has recently opened in Danvers and the co-owners, Ashley Hathaway and Wendy Dotson are very excited for their new business to get rolling. Ashley is from Elkhart, IL and has been in cosmetology for 10 years. Wendy is from Bloomington, IL and has been in cosmetology for 18 years. Their salon and boutique is a retro theme with a hair salon, tanning, and a boutique with clothing and accessories. 

Need for Farm Aid Depends on Trade

The president of American Farm Bureau says he’s talked with the head of the Biden administration’s ag transition team about the importance of trade for farmers and how that will affect the need for more government aid. Zippy Duvall says he told Robert Bonnie they understand it’s not realistic to expect the same large amounts of government aid for farmers next year – and the importance of carrying on negotiations at the trade table.

Electric Car Boom is About to Get Even Hotter

2020 has been an absurd year in many ways, but some sectors are thriving in a chaotic market as billionaire investors, institutions, and especially the Robin Hood crowd are rushing to park their money in the industries of the future. One of the biggest beneficiaries of this massive capital shift has been electric vehicle companies. With spectacular triple-digit returns, many analysts expect even more upside for electric vehicle makers as the industry readies a Herculean effort to deliver many millions of brand-new electric cars and hundreds of thousands of charging stations within the next couple of years.

Wild Ride Continues for This Biotech Stock

Shares of Greenwich Lifesciences (GLSI) continued their wild ride Thursday on enthusiasm for the tiny biotech company's breast cancer treatment. In a midstage study, 100% of patients were still alive at a median of five years after receiving Greenwich's drug, GP2. Five years is considered the gold standard in follow-up time period for recurrence in breast cancer patients. The biotech company administered GP2 after patients underwent surgery and then received Roche's breast cancer treatment, Herceptin. Greenwich is now preparing to begin a Phase 3 study in a similar group of patients in 2021.