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Comings & Goings: The best new businesses of the year

Phoby MarissAmoni: A large painted donut entices outside newly opened My Sister's The Lil Donut Shoppe recently opened 25 S.

Photo by Marissa Amoni: A large painted donut entices outside of the newly opened My Sister's The Lil Donut Shoppe recently opened at 25 S. Madison St. in Oswego, across from the post office. | Marissa Amoni~For The Beacon News

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Updated: January 31, 2013 6:32AM

A look back on 2012 includes dozens of new local businesses that help fill our closet, satisfy a sweet tooth, satiate our appetites and give us reasons to dance.

Here are 10 businesses (listed in chronological order) that opened in the last year that stand out among the dozens. Whether excitement brewed for the anticipation of the store’s opening, or it was a gem to be savored, patrons were in for a special treat when the doors opened.

1. My Sister’s Lil Donut Shoppe, Oswego. Sisters Chris McClimans and Betsy Kammerer opened the tiny pastry shop to fulfill a dream. Since opening in February, the shop is filled each morning with those who are anxious to close their eyes and take a bite of sweet-filled goodness.

2. Mik’s Bake Shop, Oswego. A former residential appraiser, Jack Mikolay turned to doughnuts when the housing market went bust. Mikolay opened up shop after successfully selling mini-doughnuts from his mobile doughnut machine; his store is now a community gathering place.

3. The Rhino Room, Batavia. Regulars were sad to see Limestone Coffee and Tea leave the iconic corner spot at 15 E. Wilson St.; however, Tina Miles did a stellar job at carousing them to welcome her new pastry-and-more shop in its place.

4. Wilson Street Tavern, Batavia. In May, Mark Hogan opened the large front window at his new neighborhood bar at 105 E. Wilson St. and welcomed guests into what was formerly the Stop Lite Inn. Hogan pulled off an impressive transformation, and he had the vision to do it at the early stages of the downtown’s rebirth.

5. Kiss the Sky, Batavia. After an exhaustive search in the Fox Valley, Steve Warrenfeltz moved his well-known record store from downtown Geneva to Batavia. Now next to Water Street Studios, Warrenfeltz hosts live music to intimate crowds, and he does his best to help with the resurgence of vinyl albums.

6. EvenFlow Music and Spirits, Geneva, and River’s Edge Theatre, Yorkville. Mike Knuth, partnered with Nick Mercadante to open a live music venue in the historic bank building at the corner of Third and State streets in Geneva, and they’ve been rocking ever since July. In Yorkville, musician Jon Conover worked with developer Rick Tollefson to open one of the best live music venues in the area.

7. Wild Monk, St. Charles. Fans of the upscale and green-minded Prasino were not happy that their new-found breakfast spot closed, but the owners wanted to try something different when they decided to evolve the spot into a nightclub with fancy drink offerings. So far, patrons are impressed with the simple food, good drink choices and live music.

8. Pie Boss, Aurora. Tyrel Naidoo opened his South African pie shop in the much missed Sim Sim Kafe at 1649 Montgomery Road over the summer. It’s true that Naidoo is the boss of pies, and that he has likely changed lives over his flakey, scrumptious pot pies. If you haven’t yet tried his dinner creations, then make it your new year’s goal to call and order several.

9. Mama’s Greek Couzina, Aurora. When Dena Stratikis, who formerly owned Andrianna’s Café, announced that she was opening a Greek restaurant at 1118 Prairie St. at the end of summer, everyone was thrilled. Stratikis and her husband, Paris Betoglou, serve up the best in Greek delights hands down.

10. Culture Stock, Aurora. When a few people had the revolutionary idea to open a used bookstore that would serve as a cultural center for the entire city and beyond, the city of Aurora listened. Now residents benefit from a cultural epicenter at 43 E. Galena Blvd.; they can volunteer, attend events, listen to music, buy books or just hang out.

Swish on the court

Last summer, Kimrossi Taylor breathed new life and energy into the former YMCA building at 460 Garfield Ave. on Aurora’s near West Side. He turned the first-floor gymnasium into the home of Windy City Blazers, a local basketball club.

On Sunday, Dec. 30, Taylor welcomes Paul Hoover, founder and director of Pro Shot Shooting System, a basketball shooting methodology focusing on technique and employment.

Hoover, also the author of “Pro Shooting Secrets” will conduct a shooting clinic from 3 to 6 p.m. The cost is $40 for students. Coaches are invited to attend the clinic free.

The shooting clinic is intended for basketball players in fourth grade through seniors in high school.

“You will not find a better shooting clinic in the nation,” Taylor said

Call Taylor at 866-854-0462.

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