Business and Economy | WGLT

Business and Economy

taxcredits.net / Flickr

Bloomington-Normal's jobless rate continued to fall in August, as the local economy added around 1,700 jobs in the past year, the Illinois Department of Employment Security reported Thursday.

Ryan Denham / WGLT

The most famous red door in Bloomington-Normal will be closing for the last time next month.

WGLT

An internal announcement this week at State Farm won’t have a major impact on the size of the insurer’s overall workforce in Bloomington-Normal, the company said Friday.

Ryan Denham / WGLT

Bloomington-Normal bars and restaurants aren’t the only ones happy to see the college students back in town.

Mark Lennihan / The Associated Press

Bloomington-Normal’s jobless rate continued its decline in July, as the local economy added more jobs in professional and business services and leisure and hospitality.

Ryan Denham / WGLT

There will soon be another place to drink local in Bloomington-Normal.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

Bloomington-Normal home sales dipped in July as fewer buyers closed deals during the busy summer selling season.

Baylee Steelman / WGLT

You may like Portillo’s. But Peter Robinson loves Portillo’s.

He left his home in Waterman (near DeKalb) at 3:30 a.m. to be one of the first in line for Tuesday’s much-anticipated opening of the new Portillo’s in Normal. That’s a 90-minute drive, then another 5-hour wait, before the 10:30 a.m. opening. (By 9 a.m. there were around 12 people already in line in Normal, including Robinson.)

It’s time for a serious, data-driven look at hot dogs and chocolate cake shakes.

The new Portillo’s opening Tuesday in Normal is widely considered one of the most—or the most—anticipated restaurants openings in this community’s history. (Sorry, Chick-fil-A.)

Baylee Steelman / WGLT

A local entrepreneur is shedding light on the hardships of starting a small business as a woman or minority.

Ryan Denham / WGLT

More than 1,000 Bloomington-Normal homes have already signed up for MetroNet, with 12,000 residences and businesses ready for installation, a company spokesperson said.

Ryan Denham / WGLT

President Donald Trump’s top agriculture official stopped in Central Illinois on Monday to talk with farmers about the next farm bill and other federal programs.

Ryan Denham / WGLT

Several breweries from across the state will compete during a new attraction at this year's Illinois State Fair that's tied into Illinois’ upcoming birthday.

Ryan Denham / WGLT

The wafting smell of a Cinnabon. The madness of Black Friday shopping. Getting dropped off by your parents so you can meet your friends at the arcade. Your first job as a 16-year-old.

For many Americans, malls aren’t just a collection of stores. They’re a collection of memories. And so when malls struggle—or close—it hits harder than, say, when a Circuit City goes under.

Bloomington-Normal Restaurant Scene / Facebook

Bloomington-Normal is known as an area where people like to dine out ... a lot. And that's inspiring a rash of entries into the Bloomington-Normal restaurant scene.

bytemarks / Creative Commons/Flickr

Bloomington-Normal's jobless rate fell again last month, with the area adding more jobs than other metro areas in the state, the Illinois Department of Employment Security reported Thursday.

Ryan Denham / WGLT

The new Destihl Brewery in northeast Normal has put Bloomington-Normal on the craft beer map. But another smaller but growing brewery is taking off across town—inspired in part by Destihl’s success.

Shelby Dietz and boyfriend Drew Ison
Courtesy

Like many couples who decide to buy their first house, Shelby Dietz and her boyfriend, Drew Ison, were sick of throwing away their money on rent.

Now in their mid-20s, secure in their jobs at ISU, and ready to build some equity in a starter home, Dietz and Ison were eager to buy in Bloomington-Normal. But they ran into an unexpected problem: There weren’t a lot of options.

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

After almost a decade of dormancy, there's new life on the north Normal hotel landscape.

Holiday Inn failed. So did Sheraton Inn. And Staywood Inn, as well. Now the new Radisson Hotel hopes to rise from their ashes on the north side of Normal to turn the location into a success story.

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

Editors note: This article is part of a series of interviews with newly elected council members in Bloomington and Normal. Ward 1 Alderman Jamie Mathy was interviewed May 25. 

A new downtown task force is setting priorities. The group has three more meetings before an initial report is due on Aug. 31. 

'BN Advantage' Works To Build BN Excitement

Jun 6, 2017
Staff / WGLT

Bloomington Normal has a lot going for it in the competition for a stable and perhaps growing economy. That's according to the head of the Association of Chambers of Commerce Executives. Mick Fleming spoke during a B-N Advantage event at the Rivian Automotive Plant.

Staff / WGLT

The City of Bloomington Downtown Task Force, approved Monday evening by aldermen, will look at economic development, infrastructure, and more, according to the task force chair. Amelia Buragas, who also serves as Ward 1 Alderman, said during Sound Ideas that it's important to keep in mind what the task force will not do.

McLean County Museum of History

Route 66 Tourism grew by 50 percent in Bloomington last year.

That's according to attendance figures for the Cruisin' with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center in the McLean County Museum of History.

City of Bloomington / Smith Group, JJR

Parking lots in the northeast part of Downtown Bloomington purchased by the city may not remain as parking lots for long. 

"The Frontier lots are critical and they're critical to economic development and frankly, from the stand point of the city, control over the property," said Mayor Tari Renner during Sound Ideas. "We're finding, obviously with the Front 'n' Center building, if you don't have control of the property there are limitations in how you can operate." 

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

The walkable downtown of the past isn't an anachronism, it's a future model for economic development.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The face of retail is changing drastically, but there is still a place for brick and mortar stores. That's according to Rob Karr, the head of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.

Karr spoke in Normal before the Economic Development Council saying there are parallels with the past in the way technology is changing retail.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner hopes Rivian Automotive will help boost employment in central Illinois.

Rauner joined many state and local elected officials at Rivian's opening ceremony Tuesday afternoon. Rauner said he's excited to see entrepreneurs like R.J. Scaringe take risks to start business in Illinois.

Staff / WGLT

The Bloomington and Normal dispute over the Metro Zone agreement on tax revenue and infrastructure sharing is not necessarily a black eye for the community.

That's according to Kyle Ham, the head of the Economic Development Council.

Construction Progress On One Uptown

Jan 20, 2017
Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

Construction of One Uptown on the circle in Uptown Normal is progressing with workers assembling the steel skeleton. A town official said construction is on schedule. 

The five story building will include Town of Normal offices on the second floor, 21 apartments, and a basement parking garage. A first floor restaurant has yet to be determined. 

The $14 million building could be complete as early as October of 2017. 

 

John Yates poses niside Arcadia
Ryan Denham

Most entrepreneurs use their passion to try and make a buck. John Yates is only looking for your quarters.

Yates is the creator of the Arcadia Playable Arcade Museum in McLean, less than 20 miles southwest of Bloomington-Normal. Yates has turned his massive collection of vintage arcade games and pinball machines into a destination for nostalgic visitors.

Pages