September 29, 2022

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Sports Really Satisfies

It’s Your Business | Conversion of mall sports shop nearing finish line | Entrepreneurs

The Finish Line store at Market Place Mall is undergoing a conversion to JD Sports, a British sports/fashion/outdoor brand retailer that merged with Finish Line in 2018.

As a result of the merger, Finish Line became an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of JD Sports.

The Champaign store is currently closed for remodeling and rebranding and is expected to reopen later in March, according to mall management.

JD Sports stores carry shoes and apparel items for kids and adults.

JD Sports locations in Illinois include Joliet, North Riverside, Rockford, Lincolnwood and Schaumburg.

Helping minority-owned businesses

Brookfield Properties, owner of Market Place Mall, has launched another round of its Partner to Empower program to help Black and minority-owned businesses expand their stores in Brookfield shopping centers.

The program offers funding, resources and retail expertise.

New York-based Brookfield Properties has committed to investing $25 million in the program through 2025, and the first round that ran last spring brought in hundreds of applications in the country’s Southeast region, the company said.

The application process for the current round began this past Wednesday and will run through March 18.

Applicants who advance to the interview stage will be asked to present their finances, business goals and overall business story, and those who advance beyond that will enter a store build-out stage or will participate in a program workshop to learn the fundamentals of building a successful business.

“We want to reflect the markets of each of our centers by giving an advantage to the small businesses of under-represented groups that would benefit most,” said Michelle Isabel, Brookfield Properties’ vice president of retail business development. “The first round of Partner to Empower completely surpassed our expectations.”

To apply to the program: https://bit.ly/3JB30gj

Busey honored

Champaign-based First Busey Corp., the parent company of Busey Bank, was one of four Illinois banking companies included on Forbes’ 2022 list of America’s best banks.

Busey was ranked 52nd overall on the list ranking the 100 largest publicly-traded banks and thrifts.

The other three Illinois banks included were Chicago-based Northern Trust, 77th, Rosemont-based Wintrust Financial, 90th, and Chicago-based First Midwest Bancorp, 93rd.

Forbes looked at growth, credit quality and profitability.

As of Dec. 31, 2021, First Busey was a $12.86 billion financial holding company, and its wholly-owned subsidiary Busey Bank had total assets of $12.83 billion.

Busey has 46 banking centers in Illinois, eight in Missouri, three in Florida and one in Indianapolis.