Metro-East News

Gourmet food stand opens in Belleville

Seen here in February, Jeff Green of Belleville on Saturday finally opened The Sweet Tooth, serving gourmet sandwiches, nachos and fries and offering sweets and novelties at 4004 W. Main St. in Belleville.
Seen here in February, Jeff Green of Belleville on Saturday finally opened The Sweet Tooth, serving gourmet sandwiches, nachos and fries and offering sweets and novelties at 4004 W. Main St. in Belleville.

It took 10 months of patience and labor, but Jeff Green finally cleared his most important hurdle by getting The Sweet Tooth open for business.

The restaurant at 4004 W. Main St. in Belleville occupies what once was a Taco Bell. The building sat vacant for nearly a decade before Green came along.

Green, who formerly operated a food truck also called The Sweet Tooth, still has more work to do, including getting the interior seating area of the restaurant ready to accept guests. He hopes to have that project finished by Oct. 31 — a date he’s set for the restaurant’s official grand opening.

For now, customers can order gourmet sandwiches, nachos, fries, novelties and sweets from outside the restaurant.

Popcorn shop returns to O’Fallon

Pop-U-Lure Popcorn & More, which originally opened in O’Fallon in 2012, has returned after operating at St. Clair Square in Fairview Heights.

The shop opened at 506 W. U.S. 50 in O’Fallon on June 10. The building it’s in once housed Hubbard’s Pro/Am, a concealed carry instruction site and shooting range that has since moved into bigger quarters next door to the west.

Before operating at St. Clair Square, Pup-U-Lure was located at 210 Hartman Lane in O’Fallon.

Owner Isis Jackson said she chose the new O’Fallon location because it was more accessible to customers compared to the space she leased in the mall. She said she’s seen customers return to her shop that she hasn’t seen since she left the previous O’Fallon site.

“I’m really happy to be back in O’Fallon.” Jackson said. “I’m pleased with the results (of the move) so far.”

Keller Farms opens vegetable stands for season

Summer isn’t summer without folks hocking sweet corn, tomatoes and other vegetables from street-side stands.

Good thing Collinsville-based Keller Farms last Monday opened its four stands in the metro-east. Which one’s nearest you?

▪  West Main and 70th streets in Belleville

▪  Illinois 157 and Hillside Drive in Collinsville

▪  1790 W. U.S. 50 in O’Fallon

▪  U.S. 40 at Troy-O’Fallon Road in Troy

The stands will keep selling vegetables until the crops run out, usually about the middle of August.

Clinton County banks change hands

The First National Bank in Carlyle announced it has completed the acquisition of Centrue Bank branches in Aviston and St. Rose.

That brings the number of locations for The First National Bank in Carlyle to five: The main bank is at 891 Fairfax St. in Carlyle with a branch at 1350 12th Street. Locations in Aviston are at 500 W. Harrison St. and 101 S. Page St. The St. Rose branch is located at 18001 St. Rose Road.

No staffing changes occurred as part of the transaction as all of the former Centrue employees were retained.

Pet grooming service changes paws

An Edwardsville pet grooming service is under new ownership and sports a new name that’s a lot similar to its old one.

Tina’s Pet Grooming, located at 529 St. Louis St. in Edwardsville, has been under the ownership of Kristin Sarrach since April 1, when she bought what then was known as Nina’s Pet Grooming from her mentor Tina Schubert, who had fallen ill and passed away in mid-May.

A grand opening at Tina’s was celebrated Sunday in the form of a fundraiser for Gateway Pet Guardians.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

Home sales showed big gains in May

Home sales in the metro-east picked up the pace big time last month, according to the Realtor Association of Southwestern Illinois.

More homes were sold in St. Clair County this May than in any of the five previous months of May; the county tallied a 14.7-percent increase in homes sold this May over last May.

In Randolph County, a whopping 41.7 percent more homes were sold this May compared to a year ago.

Median home prices in the metro-east also rose and homes are selling more quickly.

It’s the same story for the rest of the state. According to Illinois REALTORS, 16,150 homes were sold in Illinois last month, up 6 percent from May of 2015. That’s just one of several indications the housing market is healthy:

▪  On average, homes took 59 days to sell last month compared to 70 days in May 2015.

▪  Inventory decreased sharply: Just 62,445 homes were on the market this May compared to 73,724 last May.

▪  The median home price reached $194,000, a 7.2 percent increase over last May’s median of $181,000.

Tobias Wall: 618-239-2501, @Wall_BND