Business and Economy | WGLT

Business and Economy

Bridgestone plant in Normal
Staff / WGLT

The Bridgestone Off-Road Tire plant in Normal is nearly finished with a $12 million renovation.

Matt Tall
Rivian

While Uptown Normal was filled with Rivian buzz during Sunday’s community event, the real action is taking place 5 miles west at the automaker’s manufacturing plant.

Scaringe and Pritzker
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Two years after arriving to a community filled with the hopeful and the doubtful, the electric automaker Rivian received an enthusiastic reception Sunday in Uptown Normal as it showed off three vehicles and invited jobseekers to apply at its manufacturing plant.

State Farm downtown
Eric Stock / WGLT

State Farm has announced it has finalized the sale of its former headquarters in downtown Bloomington to a Rockford-based developer that plans to build upscale apartments at the site.

Loyola guard Ben Richardson walking
Brynn Anderson / AP

When the men's basketball team at Loyola University in Chicago defied the odds last year by advancing to the Final Four for the first time in 50 years, the Ramblers became a national sensation.

Racial equity conference
Eric Stock / WGLT

Community planners used U.S. Census data to shed light on racial and ethnic disparities in McLean County during the Town of Normal's Daring Diversity racial equity conference.

Carrillo and Emig
Staff / WGLT

Bloomington's new cannabis task force meets for the first time on Thursday night to help guide the city on policy in advance of recreational marijuana sales becoming legal next year.

Marijuana plant
Jeff Smudde / WGLT

The list of Illinois cities saying "no" to marijuana sales keeps growing.

big room with seated people and display screens.
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The new head of the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council promised regular updates on development efforts during a joint Bloomington City Council, Normal Town Council, and McLean County Board meeting Monday night.

help wanted sign
Charles Krupa / AP

Bloomington-Normal added 300 jobs over the last year as the local unemployment rate dropped nearly a full percentage point.

The vice president of the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council said a change in data surveyed is a step in the right direction to better recruiting new businesses to the community.

Rivian plant exterior
Eric Stock / WGLT

The Bloomington-Normal community was charged up Thursday after Amazon announced its 100,000-van purchase from Rivian—the largest order ever for electric delivery vehicles.

Rivian Amazon van
Business Wire

The retail giant Amazon announced Thursday it plans to buy 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from Rivian as part of a larger effort to reduce its carbon footprint.

Bank exterior
Google Maps

Heartland Bank and Trust’s holding company could soon become one of the few Bloomington-based businesses to be publicly traded on the stock market.

Rivian plant from the sky
Rivian

Rivian has attracted another large investment, this time $350 million from Cox Automotive.

Women on a panel discussion
Mary Cullen / WGLT

Illinois State University's College of Arts and Sciences in partnership with YWCA McLean County and the League of Women Voters hosted an equal pay panel Thursday in response to the ongoing call for gender equality.

We Are Hiring paperwork
LYNNE SLADKY / AP

The Bloomington-Normal unemployment rate fell in July as the economy added 200 jobs from this time a year ago.

Mary Cullen / WGLT

The Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council’s new CEO says his first plan of action is to work on business retention and expansion.

Eric Stock / WGLT

Bloomington residents voiced their desires for what should occupy the 4.1 acre block that formerly housed Mennonite Hospital and Electrolux at 800 N. Main Street.

“Something that would be economically viable,” Tim Tilton said.

“Something that is respectful of the historic nature of the neighborhood,” Andy Birkey added.

The site of a proposed multi-sport complex
WGLT file photo / WGLT

A Town of Normal official projects local youth and adult sports teams would exceed a consultant’s estimates for what's needed to cover the proposed multisport complex's operational costs.

State Farm building downtown Bloomington
Eric Stock / WGLT

A community task force that's looking for ways to save State Farm's former downtown headquarters isn't looking for the City of Bloomington to take over the building, according to one of its members who previously served on the city council.

Mitsubishi Motorway sign
Eric Stock / WGLT

Bloomington city staff expects a vote on a proposed highway name change to be a formality, even though it sparked debate in Normal last month.

The Pantagraph building signage
Eric Stock / WGLT

The parent company of The Pantagraph reported Thursday increased digital subscriptions and advertisers in its third quarter.

Rob Dob's artist's rendering
Facebook / Rob Dob's

Bob Dobski was a franchise owner of Bloomington-Normal McDonald’s for 35 years. But instead of retiring, he decided to leap into the world of fine dining.

Google Maps view of the plant
Google Maps

Less than a week after the sudden closure of a major employer, LeRoy is hosting a job fair for displaced workers and other jobseekers.

Dollar Tree sign
Eric Stock / WGLT

Julie Catey of Broadwell loves shopping at the Dollar Tree store in neighboring Lincoln.

Mark Robinson teaches a class
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Four years ago, the big story in the Bloomington-Normal economy was the closure of Mitsubishi’s manufacturing plant and the loss of 1,200 jobs. Some workers got retrained and found new jobs. Others left the area forever.

Mike and Becky Williams
Mary Cullen / WGLT

Gov. JB Pritzker made good on his promise when he signed recreational cannabis into law last month.

April drives a bus
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Unit 5 is trying to recruit more bus drivers for next school year by showing them that it’s not as intimidating as it looks.

Protesters hold Fight for $15 signs outside a restaurant
M. Spencer Green / AP

McLean County’s consistently low unemployment rate has long been a point of pride. (Thanks, State Farm and Illinois State University.)

Yet the jobless rate doesn’t tell the whole story of what it’s like to live and work here.

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