Decatur's West End welcomes new business


DECATUR - In the first week of April, the West End in Decatur will be getting another face lift.

Three years ago the east strip was occupied by only one business. Today, with the addition of CherryBerry, there will be five. It's an area that seems to be a good fit for new spots, especially with the university so close by.

From pizza to pastries, these days customers visiting the West End have a variety of places to choose from.

"When I first got here it wasn't that bad, but I heard it used to be really shady," said Denzel Tsopnang, a junior at Millikin University. "It's safe to walk through especially since it's in the central part for us to go from one side of campus to the other.

The campus is one of the appealing parts for a new business like CherryBerry, looking to students for some of the revenue.

"Anybody who moves into the area, any business, I tell them that they can't survive solely off of the college," said property owner Gregg Meisenhelter. "They need to make sure that it's a good business that would last, you know, the full twelve months as opposed to just eight.

And new faces for other revenue.

"I just think it'll bring great people, family, kids, uh, to the area, which I think this was lacking, you know, beforehand," Meisenhelter said.

A new crowd neighboring businesses are also excited to bring.

"There's a lot of good things going down here," said Rob Bender, Co-owner of Lana's Cakewalk. "I mean everybody's trying to bring different niches to the area and that's what's so cool about the Oakland Street situation."

Lana's Cakewalk has been on Oakland Avenue for almost two and a half years and is still attracting brand new customers.

"I am giving a shower for a very good friend of mine, a bridal shower for her son, and Lana's was recommended to me for some of the desserts that we were getting so this was my first time in there and it was very nice," said customer Elise Singer. "I will more than likely, definitely, come back."

Come back for dessert and frozen yogurt.

This is CherryBerry's fifth spot in Illinois, but the rent at this location is three times cheaper than some of its other locations, another attractive part of the West End.

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