C-U offers big city shopping options in small town setting


Sara Hudson, owner of Dandelion, displays a dress from her shop. Hudson opened the shop in downtown Champaign 18 years ago, determined to make a living doing something she loved.

By Sarah Soenke

Even though it’s over 120 miles away from any urban area, Champaign-Urbana has its own micro collection of eclectic shopping boutiques for the fashionable Illini to explore and frequent. Unique, vintage stores can even be found right on campus.

There will always be the Market Place Shopping Center in Champaign and the Urban Outfitters on Green Street. But for those looking for the more exceptional fashion finds, here’s a list to check out in the local area:

Fira Boutique

700 S. Gregory St., Suite E, Urbana

On the Urbana side of campus, Fira Boutique recently opened last fall. Anna Anderson, the store’s creator, started the company in 2012 as a traveling women’s clothing store that visited home and sorority events. The boutique, now settled into a storefront down from Cafe Bene, offers “fashion-forward” options, all inspired by Anderson’s searches on the latest trends. This should be students’ first stop on the look for bright, young and trendy pieces.

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Circles Boutique

114 N. Neil St., Champaign

Venture over to Downtown Champaign and students can find a collection of designer brands from around the world. The shop offers women’s clothing, accessories and footwear. Storeowner Danelle Jameson selects pieces so customers can “build a wardrobe that lasts.” Located right next to Pekara bakery, Circles Boutique can provide an upscale purchase for those looking for a sophisticated update in their wardrobe. Fans of the store can join its mailing list for updates on sales and events.

Dandelion Vintage & Used

Pop-up, looking for new location

Previously down the street from Circles on Neil Street, Dandelion Vintage & Used continues on in Champaign and the local area as a pop-up and online shop. Since closing its old location April 12, Dandelion is currently looking for a new location but continues to sell its stock around town and through its Etsy shop. The business caters to those looking for upper-end vintage and retro pieces, including men’s and women’s clothing, footwear and accessories.

Findings Boutique

1741 W. Kirby Ave., Champaign

It might be located a little farther away from campus, but Findings Boutique is a worthy trip to take on the Blue, Brown or Gold bus lines. This boutique located in the Old Farm Shops offers designer labels catering to women’s contemporary fashion. This shop tends to offer pieces lower on the price range, so the travel time is worth the money saved.

Sarah is a senior in Media. She can be reached at [email protected].