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On Biz: Coney McKane’s new owner, Potbelly Sandwich Works, Brilliant Smiles and Tans by Katie

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Potbelly awards franchise for Central Illinois

Macon County diners may soon be able to add a Potbelly Sandwich Works to their list of restaurant options.

Potbelly Corporation has announced the signing of an agreement with Rob Wilbern that will bring five of its locations to the Springfield-Champaign-Decatur area.

Wilbern runs a certified public accounting firm, an automotive dealership, several other businesses, and previously self-developed a restaurant concept in Springfield, a news release from the corporation said.

Potbelly is a fast-casual restaurant chain that focuses on submarine sandwiches and milkshakes. Potbelly was founded in 1977 in Chicago.

“The support of the leadership team is what drew me to Potbelly. I was looking at a couple of different franchise opportunities and did a good amount of research. Potbelly stood out among the rest,” Wilbern said in the news release.

“Our new Shop Development Area Agreements come at an eventful time for us at Potbelly,” said Bob Wright, the company's CEO.

The announcement advances the corporation’s Franchise Growth Acceleration Initiative, which calls for reaching 2,000 units with at least 85% of those being franchised shops over the next 10 years.

The corporation has 400 company-owned shops in the United States. Additionally, Potbelly franchisees operate over 40 shops in the United States.

Coney McKane’s has new owner

For three years, Nick Cox has been a familiar face at Coney McKane’s, having worked as the chef and kitchen manager at the restaurant, located at 104 E. Prairie Ave.

He now owns the business, known for its desserts and homemade dishes.

It was that familiarity that made his transition from chef/manager to owner of the restaurant that much easier.

“The joke is ‘It’s like family’, but in reality, they actually are,” Cox said. “I feel like I’m semi-adopted into the family, too. And the family pretty much stayed.”

Cox said the staff has changed very little since he took over ownership more than three months ago. The only personnel to leave was the former owner, Lea Stukins.

Cox only recently announced he is the new owner. “We wanted to do it quietly to make sure that everyone understood the consistency was still going to be there,” he said. “It’s status quo. And I’m lucky to be a part of it.”

The popular baker, Grandma Flo Coombes, continues to work making the restaurant’s pies and baked goods. “People know and have learned from her,” Cox said about Coombes' baking secrets. “When it comes to Thanksgiving, we have hundreds of pies on order. It’s all hands-on-deck.”

The menu has also stayed the same, although seasonal items will be added. “As far as the favorites, Grandma’s meatloaf is still Grandma’s meatloaf. Her potato soup, her chili, her vegetable soup, these are still her recipes,” Cox said. “Coney McKane’s is the house that Grandma built.”

Brilliant Smiles and Tans by Katie

Katie Lewis recently announced the grand opening of her business, Brilliant Smiles and Tans by Katie LLC, at her new location at 445 E. Main St., Warrensburg.

The business provides teeth whitening, regular and spray tanning, and tooth gems. "They're cute little gems that go directly on your tooth," Lewis said.

Lewis moved her business to Warrensburg, from a downtown Decatur location, to be closer to her family. She began providing the services nearly six months ago in Central Illinois.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit the Brilliant Smiles and Tans by Katie website at brilliantsmilesbykatie.com or call 217-413-6708.

Have you opened a new business in Macon County? Maybe you've moved or added another location. Let the Herald & Review help you spread the word about you and your business. Send information to Scott Perry at scott.perry@lee.net or Donnette Beckett, donnette.beckett@lee.net

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