CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WMBD) — From wine to nuts and sweet treats too, 28 small businesses across the state are now a part of the Illinois Office of Tourism’s ‘Illinois Made’ Program.
It’s an effort to highlight hidden gems for people to discover, and four of the shops nominated are right here in central Illinois.
“I just thought, how cool is that to not only highlight small businesses but to really bring awareness to a vegan restaurant,” said Riley Greenwood, the owner of Riley’s Vegan Sweets and Eats in Peoria.
Mackinaw Valley Vineyard in Mackinaw, Trefzger’s Bakery in Peoria Heights, and The Nut House in Peoria also made the list.
“It means the world to be able to create something and to almost be able to meet someone new every single day just based on an idea that you had,” said Greenwood.
The goal of the program is to show off destinations across the state and to discover places both new and old.
“People in Peoria just forget that we are here, we are local, and we’ve been here for years and years,” said Janey Scott, the owner of The Nut House. “Over 100 years in Peoria.”
Scott thinks it’s going to encourage people to shop small.
“We’re hoping that we get new customers and old customers alike,” said Scott.
She said businesses like hers can only survive with community support.
“It’s really important. It’s so easy to get online these days and just place an order and have it sent to your place. We make our nuts here fresh, we make fudge,” said Scott.
Tourism office leaders said in total, there are more than 200 businesses in the program from all corners of the state.