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Kelly Thoennes worked in a corporate environment for almost 30 years. She determined that her next career needed to be something special; something she wanted to do. That dream turned out to be Breathe, a wine bar/restaurant where customers can relax in an elegant-zen atmosphere and simply “Breathe.”

“My number one goal was to teach my children that no matter what age, no matter what the circumstances, always go after your dreams!” she says. “No matter what, I am successful because I went after my dream, most people don’t even try.”

But business startups face a myriad of daunting questions and challenges. Kelly turned to the Small Business Development Center at Illinois Wesleyan University (SBDC). “I had never run my own business before. The day I first met with SBDC I knew I was not alone and had resources beyond my expectations. I was given resources for everything from finance to marketing to the names of other restaurant owners to consult with,” she says. “Even open now, I still refer to these resources all the time!”

Breathe provides an alternative to chains and fast foods. Currently offering a wine bar, appetizers, and desserts, they plan to go to a full menu including entrees in the near future. Kelly states she hears repeatedly, “We (Bloomington) needed something like this – an upscale place to unwind.”

You can make a reservation for a great date night or girls-night-out by going to

Do you have a dream and the desire to translate it into a business? The SBDC can help you get underway. Give us a call and set-up an appointment.


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