Business and Economy | WGLT

Business and Economy

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.

Jim Durkin and WIlliam Petersen at the Illinois House chamber
Doug Johnson

Two Bloomington arts programs are among the dozens statewide which are hoping to cash in on a one-time windfall of state funding.

Janet at the counter
Jeff Smudde / WGLT

Janet Mariani needed a home for her first business—an ice cream shop. She chose Downtown Bloomington.

Original Steak n Shake location
McLean County Museum of History

Greg Snodgrass started at Steak ’n Shake as a bus boy in 1979 in Bloomington-Normal.

Mennonite Hospital Redevelopment Area
Eric Stock / WGLT

The City of Bloomington and Illinois Wesleyan University are ramping up marketing efforts to find a buyer for the former Mennonite Hospital and Electrolux site.

Mary Cullen / WGLT

A Bloomington-Normal small business owner claims the Trump administration isn’t telling the truth about tariffs.

State Farm HQ building
Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

State Farm has denied the allegations of a federal lawsuit filed by two New York men who say they were fraudulently recruited into an agent training program and improperly denied employee benefits.

RJ on stage
Ryan Denham / WGLT

If all goes as planned, in a few years Rivian will be one of McLean County’s largest employers. Around 1,000 employees at its Normal manufacturing plant will be cranking out Rivian electric vehicles and skateboard platforms for other automakers.

But for now, local unions say Rivian isn’t being a good neighbor.

Rivian skateboard and SUV
Ryan Denham / WGLT

An auto industry expert says Rivian’s partnership with Ford is good news for both companies—and possibly for the Bloomington-Normal economy too.

Couple in their home
Elaine Thompson / AP

While most millennials are preparing to buy their first home, those in Illinois are holding off on joining in the American Dream.

Heartland Truck Driving Training Student Holli Hays
Jeff Smudde / WGLT

The American Trucking Association estimates the industry is short at least 50,000 drivers nationwide. The association estimates that number could triple by 2024 as older drivers retire.

Picture of an H2 hotel
Town of Normal

The Normal Planning Commission will take up a proposal for a new hotel in the Constitution Trail Center on the north side of town.

Growing and selling cannabis for medical purposes in Illinois is legal, and it's looking more likely that the state will legalize a recreational program as well. But one crucial component that remains illegal is for banks to do business with marijuana-related companies. 

CENTER FOR BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC RESEARCH, BRADLEY UNIVERSITY

The Peoria metropolitan area is experiencing low layoff rates and more jobs being advertised, leading to a favorable job market.

That’s according to Bradley University’s fourth-quarter composite index.

Maywood, Pritzker, and Guzzardi at a press conference
Governor JB Pritzker / Twitter

Illinois could soon be the fifth state on the path to a $15 minimum wage.

City Hall
Staff / WGLT

The City of Bloomington has suspended its business registration program.

Illinois lawmakers are moving quickly to draft a plan for a minimum wage increase. But, there are competing ideas on how to approach it. 

 Elliot Richardson speaking
Mary Cullen / WGLT

The leader of the Small Business Advocacy Council said the near 800 day-long state budget impasse set small businesses up for a rocky relationship with Illinois government.

Two small towns in rural Illinois recently lost their Walmart stores -- more than three decades after the retail giant came in and pushed out mom and pop shops. Now, the communities have lost convenience as well as major property and sales tax revenue. Some see it as an opportunity to revitalize main street, while others are not so optimistic.

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