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Hello, Central Illinois Business readers!

To say the least it's an exciting time to be in business in Central Illinois. Even with the uncertainty in our state government, our area is doing well with unemployment rates being down; home, vehicle and retails sales all up; and interest rates rising over last year. It just goes to show how viable the Greater Champaign County Area is and that certainly includes out businesses. There is no place like it anywhere!

Our lead story is on FBi-Farm Buildings, Incorporated-an Indiana-based business that constructs post-frame buildings. Yes, think outbuildings and other farm structures, but this company is so much more: they have constructed car dealerships, fire houses, warehouses, Harley-Davidson dealerships and even an occasional home. They have revolutionized the post-frame construction business. I hope you'll enjoy reading about them and seeing what they have constructed in the area.

I was also thrilled to visit an actual apothecary in neighboring St. Joseph. I have a background in drug retail, so I was amazed by this small business and how they fill a niche in the business in the field of "big pharma." Owner, head pharmacist and sharp-cookie, Kathy Munday, has definitely listened to the marketplace and found a way to fill a need.

Located in old downtown Champaign is Specialty Stamp & Coin, a business that has been an icon in the C-U area for decades. Mark Cortez has a new spin on the old business that is quite interesting. He's even come full-circle himself as a business owner!

I always get hungry when I think back on my visit to Michaels' Catering. I have had the honor of eating at various events where they have catered, and I know they have great creations. (I dream about their lemon bars.) These folks work diligently to make every event a time to remember. It shows. I hope you enjoy the article and the entire issue of Central Illinois Business, a periodical noted by "e-newspapers" as a top publication in Illinois.

Good business everyone!