The Illinois Office of Tourism recently announced 31 new small businesses, or ‘makers,’ have been recognized by the Illinois Made program. Illinois Made inspires locals and visitors to discover hidden gems offering unique products, stories, and experiences all around the state. From locally sourced honey producers to a tattoo art gallery, candlemakers, and jewelry creators - each of the small businesses recognized provides one-of-a-kind experiences across Illinois.
Oregon and Rochelle represent!
"I'm very proud that both the Village Bakery in Oregon and Kennay Farms Distilling in Rochelle have been honored with the Illinois Made designation. This is a big honor and recognizes the hard work, dedication, and versatility both businesses have shown during these tough times."
Diane Bausman, executive director of the Blackhawk Waterways CVB
The Village Bakery | Oregon, IL
At the Village Bakery they create products that people love while “baking a difference” in the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities.
Located in downtown Oregon, The Village Bakery offers fresh baked goods, a wide variety of coffee drinks, frozen drinks, and ice cream. At this unique bakery adults with disabilities work shoulder to shoulder with professional staff learning skills needed for employment. The goal is to gain a resume and a reference; giving potential future employers the assurance they need to hire with confidence. People with disabilities can have an active and meaningful role in today’s world of work – they just need a better way.
Kennay Farms Distilling | Rochelle, IL
Kennay Farms Distilling is operated by a 5th generation farming family who diversified and is now specializing in growing their own grains to create handcrafted spirits and beer with a uniquely sustainable approach.
Situated in the heart of Rochelle on the Lincoln Highway, Kennay Farms Distilling is located in the completely rebuilt historic Hub Theatre building. They offer tours and tastings and the space includes a beautiful area for meetings and another area where visitors can enjoy time with friends and family. They create craft beer and spirits made from all local ingredients and provide an unforgettable experience to all who visit. When at full capacity it will be the largest distillery in the state of Illinois. Follow them on Facebook or check the website for hours of operation and information on special events.
“Our small businesses are the backbone of Illinois’ economy, which is why it’s now more important than ever that we celebrate their role given the challenges faced during COVID-19,” said Erin B. Guthrie, Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), which includes the Illinois Office of Tourism. “On behalf of the Pritzker administration, I am thrilled to welcome the newest makers into the Illinois Made program and to recognize them for their vital contributions in communities across the state. While COVID-19 has placed unprecedented challenges on businesses of all types, DCEO continues to work diligently to direct emergency aid to all corners of the state and to help small firms and entrepreneurs to pivot and protect their business during these trying times.”
A bonus | #WomenStrong!
New Illinois Made class features the most women-owned businesses in a single class to date. The newest Illinois Made class features 17 women-owned businesses - the most in a single Illinois Made class since the program’s beginning.
About the Illinois Made program
Launched in 2016, Illinois Made spotlights the people, products, and experiences authentic to Illinois and inspires residents and visitors to explore these iconic destinations when traveling the state, or in their own backyard. The program, which currently features over 175 makers, helps drive foot traffic into local businesses around the state. The Illinois Office of Tourism promotes Illinois Made makers through inclusion in trip itineraries, events, seasonal campaigns, and the annual Illinois Made Holiday Gift Guide –encouraging consumers to support small businesses throughout the holiday shopping season– to be announced later this month.
“Our new class of makers is a remarkable reflection of the multicultural diversity found all around Illinois,” said Karla Flannery, Deputy Director of the Illinois Office of Tourism. “We are honored to welcome such a talented group of makers that are destinations within their communities and we look forward to highlighting their craft, history and unique experience to locals and visitors alike.”