Smile Politely

Art Mart Celebrates Fifty Years and Announces New Ownership

Since opening its doors in 1958, local retailer Art Mart has been an integral and important part of the economic and cultural fabric in downtown Urbana. The store, which is located in Lincoln Square Village, sells a wide variety of unique home goods, toys and food.

Linda Ballard and Carol Ann Hurt, who are sisters, have owned Art Mart for the past 45 years. Beginning in February, Linda’s daughter, Courtney Ballard McKay, and her husband, Brian McKay, will take over operations and ownership. The elder Ballards and the Hurts will continue as consultants as the business grows.

Both Courtney and Brian are quite familiar with the world of retail. In 1994, Courtney was instrumental in the opening of Art Mart Toys. She acted as manager for the first five years of its existence. She was also part owner of Mirabelle Fine Pastries and now owns Jennifer North, a women’s clothing and home boutique in downtown Champaign, which she will continue to operate.

Brian worked at Larry Kanfer Gallery and is currently store manager at Prairie Gardens.

In conjunction with the 50th anniversary, the store is going to be celebrating the landmark occasion with what they are calling a “once in a lifetime” sale.

Says Linda Ballard, “Fifty years only comes around once.”

Art Mart photo courtesy of Herbert Brant

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