Business and Economy | WGLT

Business and Economy

TGI Fridays exterior
Bloomington Normal Restaurant Scene / Facebook

An industry watcher says the five Bloomington-Normal restaurants that have closed for good in recent weeks faced challenges even before the pandemic.

RJ Scaringe
Carlos Delgado/AP Images for Rivian

Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe said his company will not be seeking the $1 million grant that it was owed from the Town of Normal, saying “the funds would better serve our community by remaining with the municipality."

Michael Tipsord
YouTube / State Farm

With live sports on hiatus, there aren’t a lot of major TV events that can get everybody talking. Things like the Chicago Bulls documentary on ESPN, the “Disney Family Singalong” on ABC, and Thursday night’s “Parks and Recreation” reunion have been pretty much it.

And State Farm has been a big part of each.

Lincoln Motor Company logo is shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroi
Paul Sancya / AP

UPDATED 5:50 p.m. | The Lincoln Motor Co. said Tuesday it will not proceed with development of a new electric vehicle based on Rivian's skateboard platform, citing "the current environment."

Rivian Automotive sign
Eric Stock / WGLT

UPDATED 4:15 p.m. | The electric automaker Rivian will be able to claim its local property-tax breaks after meeting the minimum hiring and plant investment thresholds for the 2019 tax year, officials said.

Barba and Brownstone

Hospitals aren’t the only parts of the health care industry hurting in Bloomington-Normal.

Country Financial
Country Financial

Country Financial said Wednesday it will send refund checks to its auto customers who are driving less because of the coronavirus.

Two McLean County hotels are now among the 708 businesses set to receive highly competitive emergency hospitality grants from the state.

State Farm signage
Ralph Weisheit

State Farm announced Thursday it's returning up to $2 billion to its auto customers who are driving less because of the coronavirus pandemic.

State Farm HQ building
Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

An insurance industry expert says state regulators should take a more aggressive approach in forcing companies to refund premiums to policyholders who are driving less because of the coronavirus.

Closed sign
Ashley Binkowski / WGLT

More than 5,000 people in the Bloomington-Normal area claimed unemployment benefits in March—a ten-fold increase from a year ago that offers a new view of COVID-19’s economic toll.

Workers inside the plant
YouTube / Rivian

The coronavirus pandemic will delay the launch schedule for Rivian’s first electric trucks and SUVs being made in Normal.

Gas station
Ashley Binkowski / WGLT

State Farm said Tuesday it will decide by the end of the week how to “return value” to its policyholders who are driving a lot less because of coronavirus stay-at-home orders. 

Eastland Mall exterior
Staff / WGLT

The owners of Eastland Mall in Bloomington have appealed their property’s assessed value to a state board in hopes of lowering their taxes.

Meltdown Creative Works

A new campaign aims to bring Bloomington-Normal businesses closer together during the coronavirus pandemic.

Rathna and Krishna
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Something rare is happening on Woodbine Road on Bloomington’s far east side: Someone is actually building homes.

State Farm HQ building
Staff / WGLT

State Farm said Tuesday it will offer paid administrative leave to its employees who cannot yet work from home and are caring for their children—or if they or a loved one has the coronavirus.

Women eat at JJ's
Staff / WGLT

The coronavirus is about the exact an economic cost on the many businesses and workers who rely on consumer spending from Illinois State University students.

hotel exterior
Google Maps

The Bloomington-Normal hotel industry started 2020 off strong.

Booking were solid thanks to big events like the Illinois High School Theatre Festival at Illinois State University. And Grossinger Motors Arena in Bloomington hosted three state finals for wrestling, competitive cheer, and competitive dance.

State Farm signage
Staff / WGLT

More retirements, low unemployment, and increased competition from other industries have all contributed to a “war for talent” in the insurance business, according to a hiring expert.

Steven Weisbart
Insurance Information Institute

Exposure to increased regulation and choosy customers not interested in one-stop shopping for insurance and banking are likely among the reasons why State Farm is exiting the banking business, according to industry economist.

State Farm HQ building
Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

State Farm posted a smaller yet healthy profit in 2019 despite higher losses and some customers paying reduced premiums, the company announced Friday.

CIRA signage
Staff / WGLT

Passenger traffic jumped over 15% at Central Illinois Regional Airport in 2019, buoyed by a strong mix of business and leisure travelers.

AutonomouStuff car
Twitter / @BNEDC

As stakeholders consider the thorny public policy issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, State Farm doesn’t just want a seat at the table. It owns the table.

Design of new building
Town of Normal

Property owners who want to demolish three aging student apartments and build a new complex are expected to face opposition Monday when their plans go in front of the Normal Town Council.

Rivian plant exterior
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Rivian watchers have known for over three years that the electric automaker planned to invest a lot of money into its Normal manufacturing plant. Now we know how much: $750 million.

Rivian truck
@Rivian / Twitter

A landscape architect from Queens. A marketing professional in Colorado Springs. A systems engineer from Columbus, Ohio. A cancer scientist near San Diego. An electrical engineer from British Columbia.

Carl speaks
Jolie Sherman / WGLT

Allegiant will add its third nonstop route to Florida from Central Illinois Regional Airport (CIRA) in Bloomington starting this summer, officials said Tuesday.

For Sale sign
Staff / WGLT

The Bloomington-Normal housing market slowed down in 2019, and real estate agents again pointed the finger at low inventory as a main culprit.

Unemployment Office

The Bloomington-Normal area’s jobless rate declined in December, as the local economy added 400 jobs in the past year, the Illinois Department of Employment Security said Thursday.