Metro-East News

Pulled pork sandwiches ranked, third storage facility announces plans for Belleville

Hicks Bar-B-Que Co. near downtown Belleville recently competed in a competition put on by the The Illinois Pork Producers Association and made it to the “Sweet 16” in last month’s “Pulled Pork Madness” contest.

The association opened polls in early March, asking for suggestions of the best places to eat a pulled pork sandwich.

“Of the 300 suggestions, 16 establishments with the most votes to their name were loaded into a bracket,” the IPPA explained in a new release. “Each week in March votes were taken to advance the favorites into the Elite 8, Final 4, and then the Championship Round.”

Pauly’s BBQ in Arthur, Ill. was voted the best pulled pork sandwich. The champion of “Pulled Pork Madness” was awarded a custom trophy from Curtin’s Creations and $250.

“Pulled Pork Madness is a friendly competition to promote the pulled pork sandwich,” Kelsey Burgener, Project Coordinator for IPPA said in news release. “The bracket would not have been possible without all the nominations from social media followers and pig farmers alike.”

IPPA plans to continue the bracket challenge annually, featuring a different pork products each year.

Hicks is located at 609 S. Illinois St.

Another storage facility coming to east Belleville

A third storage company has announced plans to open a facility in east Belleville this year.

Local business man and landlord Kevin Bouse will open 190 units at the former home of Livrite Fitness in Belleville. The gym burned down years ago and Bouse plans to invest $1.5 million to improve the lot.

His units will not be climate control, which means he will be able to offer customers an affordable price, Bouse said. The first 70 units will be available for rent next month.

As for the competition building storage units nearby, Bouse said he had no idea other storage units were coming the area.

The former home of Sears Hardware and Kroger in east Bellevile will soon become a storage facility with temperature controlled units. Ashland Storage Center East at 653 Carlyle Avenue is expected to open later this spring, the locally-owned company has confirmed.

In addition to indoor units, the facility will also offer outdoor units for vehicles, boats and RV storage. Parking spots will also be available for rent. The company has an existing location at 19 Ashalnd Avenue in Fairview Heights. Ashland isn’t the only company with plans to open a storage facility in east Belleville.

The former Walmart building on Carlyle Plaza Drive in Belleville has sat vacant since 2008, when Walmart moved to Green Mount Crossing, but a Miami developer plans to resurrect the sprawling space with an indoor self-storage business. David Bernstein, president of Larkspur Properties, wants to renovate the building and install 650 to 700 storage units of varying sizes.

In Belleville, Bertstein wants to build a drive-through lane that would allow customers to drive into the building and unload or pick up storage items without being exposed to bad weather.

That project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Dollar General announces Troy remodel

Dollar General recently completed a remodel of its store at 311 Riggin Road in Troy.

The store now offers a selection of produce and expanded frozen and refrigerated food offerings. The store also has a new layout and design.

Dollar General
An exterior look at Dollar General. Cara Anthony

“Through our ongoing commitment to provide a pleasant shopping experience to our customers, we are excited to welcome the community to see our recently remodeled located in Troy,” Dan Nieser, Dollar General’s senior vice president of real estate and store development said in a news release.

“We hope our customers enjoy the fresh layout and design, as well as the new product assortment including produce and expanded food assortments.”

The store’s new layout is designed to make shopping easier for customers. Seasonal products are displayed in the center of the store, according to a news release. Departments are recognizable with visible signage and coolers are conveniently located at the front of the store.

Cara Anthony covers restaurants and retail for the Belleville News-Democrat, where she works to answer readers’ questions about restaurant openings, business closures and the best new dishes in the metro-east. She attended Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville and grew up in East St. Louis.
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