It's hard to figure out what Nat's Place is.
Some restaurants, some bars, some gift shops and some gaming venues, Chillicothe has everything you need.
Its owner uses a simpler description of her store: "provider of pleasure".
In five years of operation, Nat's Place at 215 W. Cedar St. in Chillicothe developed in a way that the owner, Nathenia Zich did not anticipate when it opened.
"Sometimes I never thought that our menu would be more and more, especially next door to the restaurant," she said. "But our customers tell us they like our products, they like what we do, they know it's unique, and they want to see more."
However, all the expansions that this store has seen are not only to keep Nat's Place fun, but also to accommodate Zich's self-proclaimed "unique personality."
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At Nat's Place, if you want to enjoy beer and pizza at 7 in the morning, you can enjoy beer and pizza at 7 in the morning. If you prefer to eat Mr. Toast sandwich, then you can also choose one of the specials. Caffeine repair? Coffee and lattes are also served.
When you go out, if you want to buy a pair of socks decorated with alpaca, you can buy a pair of socks decorated with alpaca. You can even bet on one of the slot machines.
"A lot of it is my personality," Zich said of the things in her store. "When I shop, I buy things I like. Sometimes I listen to salespeople and ask them to lead me in different directions, but most of the time it's what I like."
Just before the COVID-19 pandemic closed the business, Zich realized that her business needed more space, not only to meet the growing needs of customers, but also to meet her desire to provide more services.
Three employee parking spaces were eliminated and the building was expanded to create a larger kitchen, a new bar can be placed, basement space can be increased, and more seats can be provided.
"We missed the kind of cafe atmosphere where you can come for a coffee and a cocktail," Zich said. "We are a bit unique because we do everything."
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Zich said that a larger kitchen will allow Nat's Place to completely improve its menu.
"I have written it (the new menu), and it is very unique," Zich said. "This will be something you will definitely not find in a small town, or even in Peoria. We try to do something different."
Zich said the acceptance of her store by the community allowed it to expand. But expansion is not so easy. The epidemic delayed the start of construction, and tears were even shed in the demolition of parts of the old store.
Zich said the customer base is like a family, which is part of the reason why she was able to retain employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. So when her old bar where so many customers met and became friends fell, she was a little emotional.
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"There are people who have lived here their entire lives, have never met, and the number of people who have become friends in this corner is shocking," Zich said. "During the closure, they will come, they will meet in the parking lot and have coffee. Everyone keeps in touch; it's really cool to see it."
For those who are not yet family members of Nat's Place customers, Zich has a simple suggestion to visit her store: "When you walk in, you will be surprised."