Business and Economy | WGLT

Business and Economy

Ferrero sign at entrance
Eric Stock / WGLT

Bloomington will become home to an international candy maker’s first chocolate manufacturing center in the United States.

Ferrero North America has announced plans to build a $75 million expansion at its existing plant on Beich Road.

The company said the new 70,000-square foot facility will employ about 50 workers. Construction is set to begin next spring and take about two years to complete.

Exterior of State FArm HQ
Staff / WGLT

In Part 2 of their interview, State Farm senior vice president Annette Martinez talks to WGLT's Ryan Denham about the company's recent moves on diversity and inclusion. That includes the appointment of State Farm's first chief diversity officer over the summer.

front of old Bloomington Fire Station that is now a restaurant
Epiphany Farms / Facebook

Epiphany Farms Restaurant Group in Bloomington laid off more than 80 people Friday. Three of its four restaurants are effectively closed.

The insurance business is very competitive—and not just for customers.

Rivian vehicle

Rivian customers learned more Wednesday about the color and customization options and hands-free driving capability of their new vehicles, which are expected to start hitting the road in about eight months.

Dan Caulkins
Ryan Denham / WGLT

A Republican lawmaker who represents parts of McLean County said the state’s own contact tracing data does not support such a hard crackdown on indoor service at bars and restaurants.

Chicken shop signage

As McLean County enters the second week of indoor dining restrictions, restaurant owners are facing increasingly difficult decisions.

image of State Senator Bill brady
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Bloomington state Sen. Bill Brady is calling again for Senate hearings on mitigation rules as coronavirus positivity rates spike statewide.

State To Fund 2 Manufacturing Training Academies

Oct 27, 2020
Pritzker at a podium

The state of Illinois plans to invest $15 million to construct two new manufacturing training academies at downstate community colleges.

IWU campus building

The Small Business Development Center at Illinois Wesleyan University has seen improvement in the last three months after a big drop in activity during the early part of the pandemic.

Bank in Uptown
Google Maps

Busey Bank is closing its Uptown Normal location, as of Friday.

Country Financial
Ashley Binkowski / WGLT

UPDATED 3:30 p.m. | Country Financial said Friday it plans to cut 200 jobs—nearly half through attrition—as part of a cost-cutting plan that also will change employee benefits.

John Minchillo / AP

The pandemic may be wrecking a lot of things for a lot of people. But one part of the economy that’s doing well is home improvement.

State-Regulated Utilities Extend Shutoff Moratorium To Winter 2021

Sep 23, 2020
"Thermostat" by midnightcomm is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Several state-regulated utilities have voluntarily extended a moratorium on disconnections into next year after requests from the Illinois Commerce Commission. 

Staff / WGLT

State Farm is acquiring insurance company GAINSCO Inc. in a $400 million agreement announced Thursday.

Ferrero COVID testing site
Eric Stock / WGLT

Candy maker Ferrero USA says the free COVID-19 testing site it set up outside its Bloomington plant is an effort to be proactive in its efforts to help the community contain the coronavirus.

The demolition of Central Illinois Regional Airport’s old terminal building is slated to begin this month.

The site is the former location of CJ’s Restaurant, which closed in 2018.

In a virtual meeting with the Bloomington-Normal Airport Authority on Tuesday, CIRA Deputy Director Javier Centeno said work will begin on Sept. 14 and is projected to last 85 days.

AP Photo/Jessica Hill

The work lives of many Americans have shifted dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some are working from home while also juggling their children’s education and caring for loved ones. Others are seeing their job roles celebrated in an unprecedented way.

people in a movie theater
Mark Schiefelbein / AP

For the first time in months, you’ll be able to go see a movie in Bloomington-Normal on Friday.

Country Financial
Ashley Binkowski / WGLT

Wages for Bloomington-Normal and Peoria workers were headed in very different directions when the pandemic hit like a freight train, according to newly released economic data.

Eastland Mall exterior
Staff / WGLT

The owner of Eastland Mall, which last month signaled it was in trouble as tenants struggled to pay rent during the pandemic, plans to file for bankruptcy as part of a debt restructuring.

Empty highway
Jeff Chiu / AP

As COVID-19 continues to hang over the economy, more insurance companies say they’re pessimistic about revenue growth and likely to shed employees in the next year, according to a new labor market study.

Collection of coins
Eric Stock / WGLT

The pandemic has changed a lot about how we live our lives, including how much spare change we spend. It has caused a nationwide coin shortage.

Healthcare worker at a testing site
Lynne Sladky / AP

Thousands of people are traveling this summer to COVID-19 hotspots and coming back to the Bloomington-Normal and the Tri-County areas — and none of them are being told to quarantine when they return.

State Farm HQ
Staff / WGLT

State Farm’s may not be alone atop the super-competitive U.S. auto insurance business for much longer.

a picture of the osf downtown campus in Peoria
Jeff Smudde / WGLT

The Peoria-based OSF Healthcare system will borrow $450 million this fall with the money financing construction of a new comprehensive cancer center in Peoria.

unemployment office signage

Bloomington-Normal's jobless rate stayed stuck in double digits in June for the third straight month, the Illinois Department of Employment Security reported Thursday.

Exterior of Bloomington Rehabilitation and Health Care Center
Ryan Denham / WGLT

The owner of a Bloomington nursing home where 11 people died after contracting COVID-19 has accepted $20 million in loans through the Paycheck Protection Program—about 200 times the average amount for a program designed to help much smaller businesses.

Melanie Rust and Erika Zilm posing for a photo sitting at counter
Tiffany Bode Photography

The COVID-19 pandemic has put tens of millions of people out of work and dramatically changed the American way of life. It's not an easy time to open a business.

Road signs at intersection
Eric Stock / WGLT

Two new affordable housing developments are coming to McLean County with assistance from federal low-income housing tax credits.