Business and Economy | WGLT

Business and Economy

State Farm office
YouTube

State Farm is launching a new creative campaign on Super Bowl Sunday—and the khaki-clad Jake may return to help kick things off.

Dave and Charlie
Tentac

One of the most recognizable names in the Bloomington-Normal business community has changed to reflect a shift in ownership.

Michael and Tammy
Ryan Denham / WGLT

The leaders of a newly combined real estate company are bullish on the housing markets in Bloomington-Normal and Peoria, despite slowing sales and a dip in prices in 2019.

Lifeguard on duty
David Kohl / AP

This month over a million Illinois workers who make the minimum wage got a pay increase, with another raise coming July 1. It was Illinois’ first minimum-wage increase in nearly a decade.

Rivian pickup and SUV
Rivian

Rivian announced Monday that its owners will be able to use Alexa voice commands to control key vehicle features—the latest collaboration between the electric automaker and Amazon.

Blue Rivian pickup
Megan McGowan / WGLT

Rivian on Monday announced its fourth major investment of 2019—this time $1.3 billion led by funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price.

Keith Cornille
Staff / WGLT

Rivian is looking to hire hundreds of workers for its Normal manufacturing plant over the next few years. Heartland Community College wants to be ready to help get them trained.

Exterior of Rivian plant
Eric Stock / WGLT

Rivian completed or started over $24 million in remodeling, demolition, and construction work inside its Normal manufacturing plant in 2019, Town of Normal building permits show.

Front of Hyatt Place
Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

The Hyatt Place hotel in Uptown Normal has a new owner.

Eastland Mall exterior
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Eastland Mall’s owners forecast a dire future for the mall Wednesday as they tried to significantly lower their property tax bill, with one of their experts saying he doesn’t think the half-empty mall will ever recover from losing four of its five anchor stores.

Eastland Mall exterior
Staff / WGLT

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Rivian employee works on battery
Twitter / @Rivian

An auto services company hopes its $350 million investment in Rivian will help it better understand the value of used batteries after they’re pulled out of electric vehicles.

Gracie Weinzierl
Ryan Denham / WGLT

2019 was a memorable year for central Illinois farmers—and not in a good way. Trade disputes cut into prices and drove up anxiety. A soggy planting season led to a late harvest. And just as farmers finally were able to get into this fields this fall, it snowed.

CVS downtown
Google Maps

Downtown Bloomington will soon be losing its CVS store.

Elon with the truck
Ringo H.W. Chiu / AP

The electric vehicle world has changed a lot in the year since Rivian revealed its pickup and SUV at the LA Auto Show, with the Detroit automakers and others announcing their own new models.

Now hiring sign
Charles Krupa / AP

Bloomington-Normal’s jobless rate fell again in October, with employers adding around 400 jobs over the past year, the Illinois Department of Employment Security reported Thursday.

Sonny Perdue speaks
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Illinois’ two senators are calling on the USDA to rework its massive trade aid program to fix what they see as inequities and a lack of transparency into how payments are doled out.

Giant check presentation
DeAnne Bloomberg / Illinois Farm Bureau

The Illinois State University farm will buy new equipment with help from a $50,000 gift from the Illinois Farm Bureau's board of directors.

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.

Jeff Smudde / WGLT

Some Bloomington-Normal community members are criticizing Connect Transit for purchasing electric buses. The transportation agency at the time said by using state and federal grants, the buses will be paid for with “no local funding.”

Blue Rivian on display
Twitter / @Rivian

Nearly two years after Rivian first arrived in Normal, community members will finally be able to see the company’s first electric vehicles in person.

Map of BN with blue in it
Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

State officials said Monday that Bloomington’s west side and neighborhoods around Illinois State University were among the hardest-hit by the war on drugs – and those living there should get a leg up when cannabis becomes legal next year.

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.

While the Peoria area is showing job growth, it still lags national averages.

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.

View of the warehouse
Google Maps

Bloomington-Normal has all sorts of recreation options that improve our quality of life.

Soon we may add axe-throwing to the list.

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.

State Farm building exterior
Eric Stock / WGLT

UPDATED 12:30 p.m. | State Farm announced Friday it's found another interested buyer for its downtown Bloomington building, potentially saving it from demolition.

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