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Small Business Week Panel @ Champaign Public Library – 04/30

Apr 30, 2024 7:00 pm

Join us for an inspiring panel discussion with local business owners during National Small Business Week!

Discover the stories behind the businesses that make our community unique.

Hear from successful local business owners as they share stories of their entrepreneurial journeys. Learn about their challenges, triumphs, and what it takes to build a thriving small business in our community.

Our panelists:

  • Kayla Brown, Fire Doll Studio
  • Dr. Mila Thomas Fuller, Nothing Bundt Cakes
  • Mickie Phetchareune, Sticky Rice
  • Armando Sandoval, Maize
  • Jenny Shima, The Literary

Presented in partnership with Champaign Center Partnership. Part of National Small Business Week (April 28–May 4, 2024) celebrations.

About the Panelists

Kayla Brown is the owner of Fire Doll Studio in downtown Champaign. While it started as a fun holiday side-hustle in the kitchen of a studio apartment in 2011, Brown has grown Fire Doll into a bustling brick-and-mortar candle-making studio and independent brand. Not only does the business offer candle-making events for the community at large, but it is also a thriving nationwide online retailer, wholesaler, and subscription box service provider. Fire Doll Studio was a recent recipient of a Champaign County Tourism Impact Award, Women’s Net Distinguished Business Award, Illinois MADE Program Inductee, and Brown herself was a member of Central Illinois Business’ 40 Under 40 Class of 2022.

Dr. Mila Thomas Fuller is the owner and operator of Nothing Bundt Cakes in Champaign, Illinois which opened July 2020. In addition to bakery ownership, Dr. Mila Thomas Fuller is an innovative leader with expertise in instructional technology from strategy through to implementation. Prior to opening her bakery, she served as the Interim Director and Assistant Director of Online Learning for the U of I College of Education. Fuller has served as President of the International Society for Technology in Education and is a former Governing Board Member for UNESCO MGIEP (New Delhi, India). In the local community, Dr. Fuller has served as President of the Champaign-Urbana Schools Foundation, President of the Champaign-Urbana Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and is currently serving as President of the Greater Champaign-Urbana Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc.

Mickie Phetcharuene is the owner of Sticky Rice, a Thai/Lao restaurant offering comfort Asian food in downtown Champaign. Mickie and her family opened Sticky Rice in 2018, after noticing the lack of “homey” Asian cuisine in the downtown area. Mickie and her family also grow their own produce at their nine-acre farm, Green G Farm, in Villa Grove, and they feature produce from their farm on the Sticky Rice menu when it’s in season.

Armando Sandoval is the owner of Maize Mexican Grill, which opened in its original location on the corner of Green and First streets in 2011. Maize currently has three brick-and-mortar locations around Champaign-Urbana and a food truck. Originally from Mexico, Armando worked for 18 years at his family’s restaurants in Chicago, before deciding to open his own restaurant specializing in traditional Mexican food. At Maize, all food is made in-house, with the freshest ingredients possible, including their organic corn tortillas, proudly made with corn produced by the Maize team.

Jenny Shima owns The Literary, an independent bookstore, brunch restaurant, bar, and café in downtown Champaign. She is in love with building community and helping people; she works to make The Literary a driver of both. Previously, Jenny was the founder of a software startup and a dancing Bugs Bunny at Six Flags.

Starting or growing a business? We can help.

Adults | Business

 Main Library, Robeson Pavilion Room A & B

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Champaign Public Library
200 W Green St
Champaign, IL 61820 United States
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