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ON BIZ: Rodger’s Boat Shop in Decatur closes

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Rodger Birt, who has operated Rodger’s Boat Shop for the past nine years, is sailing into retirement.

Birt said health issues, trouble keeping help and the loss of his lease on the shop at 1973 E. Pershing Road, all combined to make this the perfect time to chart a different course.

“I will miss all the good, loyal customers I've had the chance to work with over the years,” Birt said, citing his only regret.

Birt admits the timing, just ahead of the boat winterizing season, is a little inconvenient for his customers, but he said that was out of his control.

Birt spent more than 40 years working as a mechanic, more than half of it specializing in boat motor repair.

Birt's departure further crimps an already limited number of nearby businesses that specialize in boat service and repair, especially for those who call Lake Decatur their primary boating destination.

Birt stopped taking on new work a few weeks ago. He has spent the time since preparing the shop for an auction that will begin at noon Sunday, Oct. 7. The auction will be led by Cody Redman Auctioneer Service and will include boats, trailers, parts, equipment and more.

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Thor's Alignment and Brakes, 1603 E. Cantrell St., Decatur, closed its doors for the last time Sept. 28.

The business had been at the same location for 19 years.

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Owner and mechanic Jeff Tarrant said he chose to close his shop due to health reasons, but still hopes to sell the business. Interested parties should call (217) 620-2501.


Furnish 123 at 4705 E. Maryland St. will close, but its manager said Monday that the store's ownership plans to reopen it at a new location under a new name. 

Manager Chris Penny said the furniture store's impending closure was announced last week, and that a going-out-of-business sale is underway. Furnish 123 will close at its current location once all of the store's inventory has been sold, he said.

Penny could not provide further details about the store's planned relocation, but said that it is expected to be within the Mount Zion area.


EPL Bio Analytical Services has a new owner. The Niantic laboratory is now part of the Tentamus Group.

“The sale gets us to the next level,” said General Manager Robin King. Tentamus is a global product and safety group with over 50 locations worldwide.

That global network brings with it more resources, the ability to share work and opportunity to expand EPL's local base to include more than agriculture-related applications, King said.

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“This will allow us to broaden our services,” she said.

King said the sale of the company, which has been locally-owned since its founding in 1987, was contingent on EPL maintaining its presence here.

She said EPL continues to add workers – it has 35 employees now – and expansion isn't out of the question.

“Business is growing,” King said.

Have you opened a business? Have you expanded or moved to a new location? Have you taken ownership of an existing business? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to contact Scott Perry at or call (217)421-7976. Donnette Beckett and Jaylyn Cook contributed to this column.


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