Illinois Office of Tourism Announces 31 New Small Businesses Recognized as Makers in the Illinois Made Program

Illinois Made logo - surrounded be cheese, grapes, beer, and other consumables

The Illinois Office of Tourism today announced 31 new small businesses, or ‘makers,’ have been recognized by the Illinois Made program. Illinois Made inspires locals and visitors to discover hidden gems offering unique products, stories and experiences all around the state.  From locally sourced honey producers, to a tattoo art gallery, candlemakers, and jewelry creators - each of the small businesses recognized provide one-of-a-kind experiences across Illinois.

"Our small businesses are the backbone of Illinois’ economy, which is why it’s now more important than ever that we celebrate their role given the challenges faced during COVID-19,” said Erin B. Guthrie, Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), which includes the Illinois Office of Tourism. “On behalf of the Pritzker administration, I am thrilled to welcome the newest makers into the Illinois Made program, and to recognize them for their vital contributions in communities across the state. While COVID-19 has placed unprecedented challenges on businesses of all types, DCEO continues to work diligently to direct emergency aid to all corners of the state and to help small firms and entrepreneurs to pivot and protect their business during these trying times.”

Launched in 2016, Illinois Made spotlights the people, products and experiences authentic to Illinois and inspires residents and visitors to explore these iconic destinations when traveling the state, or in their own backyard. The program, which currently features over 175 makers, helps drive foot traffic into local businesses around the state. The Illinois Office of Tourism promotes Illinois Made makers through inclusion in trip itineraries, events, seasonal campaigns and the annual Illinois Made Holiday Gift Guide –encouraging consumers to support small businesses throughout the holiday shopping season– to be announced later this month.

“Our new class of makers is a remarkable reflection of the multicultural diversity found all around Illinois,” said Karla Flannery, Deputy Director of the Illinois Office of Tourism. “We are honored to welcome such a talented group of makers that are destinations within their communities and we look forward to highlighting their craft, history and unique experience to locals and visitors alike.”

"These small businesses are truly a highlight of the I&M Canal Heritage Corridor, a part of many experiences that you can see the process of many different items being made that you can eventually take home," stated Robert Navarro, President of the Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitors Bureau.  "Whether you purchase a functional piece of art, tasty beverages, or great tasting chocolate or toffee from these entrepreneurial artisans, the experience doesn't stop when you leave the Corridor.  You will remember your trip with every sip, taste, or look at these Illinois Made products."

Three Corridor-based businesses joined the list of designated Illinois Made makers.  These include:

The three new makers join other Illinois Made makers including:

The other statewide Illinois makers to be designated as Illinois Made include:

The Illinois Office of Tourism (IOT) hosts a portal and encourages residents to nominate businesses for the Illinois Made program on a year-round basis. IOT reviews nominations and selects businesses based on the criteria for the program along with local business representation across the state. To view the Illinois Made criteria and nominate a business for the program, click here. For images of the new Illinois Made makers click here. To learn more about Illinois Made visit: EnjoyIllinois.com/IllinoisMade.

Graphic Credit - Illinois Office of Tourism / TimeZoneOne