Metro-East News

O’Fallon bakery and restaurant moves; one store to open, another closes in Fairview Heights

A popular bakery and restaurant in downtown O’Fallon is expanding and moving into a newly constructed building a couple blocks away.

Sweet Katie Bee’s operated in a former home at 212 E. State St. for nearly seven years. The owners closed in late June. They expected to reopen at 131 E. First St. this weekend.

“We outgrew the space that we were in,” said Kate Hendrix, who is partnering with her daughter, Beth Hendrix, and Gary Stein, a retired deputy fire chief. “It was really not meant to be a restaurant or a bakery.”

Anna Long serves as pastry chef.

The new location is closer to the Vine Street Market, where Sweet Katie Bee’s sells traditional cakes, pies, cookies and pastries; and options for people with food allergies (dairy, gluten, soy and peanuts) and those on the low-carb, high-fat Keto diet.

“All of our dairy is organic, as well as our flours,” Kate Hendrix said. “Some ingredients for our allergic baking may not be organic, but they’re all GMO-free (no genetically-modified organisms). Our eggs come from Green Finned Hippy Farm in Pocahontas. The chickens are pastured. They’re never in cages. They’re fed non-GMO feed, and then they scratch around for bugs and worms, as chickens do.”

Sweet Katie Bee’s also serves sandwiches, paninis, soups, salads, quiche, breakfast sliders, bagels and yogurt parfaits. The owners plan to add crepes and pulled pork from mulefoot hogs raised at the Pocahontas farm.

Some menu items are made from Southern family recipes, as the Hendrixes lived in Georgia before Beth’s husband, Steve Bolster, a former military pilot, was stationed at Scott Air Force Base.

Kate and Beth Hendrix both have food allergies, so that’s what got them in the business of selling items for customers with special dietary needs.

“We’re super excited about downtown O’Fallon,” Beth Hendrix said. “The business leaders there have invested a lot, and now the city is making an investment with the market and the signage telling people how to get there. It’s wonderful to see people walking around in the community talking to each other.”

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Charming Charlie plans to close all of its 261 stores nationwide, including the one in Fairview Heights. Google Maps

Charming Charlie to shut down all stores, including one in Fairview Heights

The four Charming Charlie stores in the St. Louis metro area, including one in Fairview Heights, are expected to close by Aug. 31.

The jewelry and fashion accessory chain said Thursday it will close all of its 261 stores nationwide as part of its bankruptcy proceedings, USA Today reported.

Charming Charlie is at 6520 N. Illinois St. in The Shoppes of St. Clair Square shopping center in Fairview Heights.

The Houston-based chain also has outlets in the West County Center in Des Peres, the St. Louis Galleria in Richmond Heights and The Meadows at Lake St. Louis, according to the company’s website.

The Houston Chronicle reported that court filings showed Charming Charlie has debts of about $81.8 million and cash on hand of about $6,000.

Charming Charlie in Fairview Heights was spared from a round of store closings announced in 2017. An assistant manager at the store said she could not comment about the latest announcement on Thursday.

Charming Charlie’s announcement to close all of its stores follows several other chains that have shut down as they face tough competition from online retailers.

Coresight Research reports that U.S. retailers have announced 7,062 store closures and 3,022 store openings this year.

A new Aerie store is opening Thursday at St. Clair Square mall in Fairview Heights. It will sell lingerie, activewear, swimsuits (as shown in this publicity shot) and other clothing. Provided

Aerie lingerie and activewear store to open at St. Clair Square

A new Aerie store is set to open Thursday at St. Clair Square in Fairview Heights, according to mall officials.

Aerie is an American Eagle Outfitters sub-brand that sells lingerie, swimsuits, activewear and other clothing. It targets the 15- to 25-year-old female demographic.

“Aerie is bras, undies and more ... made with love and attention to even the smallest detail,” according to its page on the St. Clair Square website. “Aerie is committed to make girls of all ages and sizes look and feel pretty inside and out.”

Company representatives didn’t return calls for comment.

There is also an American Eagle Outfitters store at St. Clair Square.

“(Aerie) is part of the $2.7 million renovation of the mall that includes a new H&M store and the expansion of Forever 21,” said Paul Ellis, Fairview Heights economic development director.

The Aerie store will be on the upper level, near Macy’s. Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

H&M and Forever 21 will be nearby on the lower level, said Christine Poehling, marketing director for St. Clair Square and South County Center in St. Louis.

“Forever 21 will be (opening in) August, and H&M will be mid- to late September,” she said. “We don’t have firm dates on either one.”