Wednesday, June 28, 2017

13th Annual Super Cruise

Illinois Central College Offers Evening Course Options for Four Programs Beginning Fall 2017

Beginning with the fall 2017 semester, Illinois Central College will offer four degree and certificate programs designed for those who need or prefer evening classes. Each program is designed to provide students with a timeline of coursework to complete a degree or certificate by attending evening classes one or two times a week, all on the same campus. Enrollment is now available for the fall semester, which begins Mon., August 21.

Students may choose from an Associate in Applied Science Degree – Business scheduled entirely on either the East Peoria or Peoria Campus, an Associate in Arts – Interdisciplinary Degree scheduled on the Peoria Campus, or an Accounting Bookkeeper Certificate scheduled on the Pekin Campus.

Evening College classes are scheduled with convenience and predictability for students in mind. All classes will meet on the same night(s) of the week for the duration of the program, and all begin at 6 pm and end at 8:50 pm or earlier. In addition, some of the programs offer “hybrid” classes, which means students attend class in person once a week and complete the rest of the coursework online.
               Those interested in enrolling in Evening College programs should first apply for admission to ICC. The application is free and available online at After completing the application, students will receive information on financial aid, transcripts, placement testing, and more. Alternatively, students who have already applied may contact the following departments directly: Testing Center (309) 694-5234, Financial Aid (309) 694-5311, Transcript Submissions (309) 694-5615, or Advisement & Counseling at (309) 694-5281.
               For complete details on program requirements and course offerings, including class schedules, visit the ICC Evening College webpage at

               For questions about Evening College programs, contact the ICC Admissions Office at (309) 694-5200 or email                                                                                 

Welcome To Our Newest Member

AT&T Custom Communications
3331 Court St. 
Pekin, IL 61554
Jack Slayer, District Manager
Josh Psinas, Store Manager 

Custom Communications is an award-winning National Authorized Retailer and AT&T Partner.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Downtown Upgrades

The City of Pekin recently installed new benches, tables and bike racks in several locations in downtown Pekin.  A small ceremony was held in the 200 block of Court Street to celebrate the improvements.  The City Planner, Katy Shackelford, and the Pekin Main Street President, Baylee Gambetti, made a few remarks before Mayor John McCabe cut the ribbon.  The event was attended by city council members, city staff, and downtown business owners.  You can see more pictures from this event at:

Monday, June 26, 2017

T-Mobile Ribbon Cutting

Representatives from the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Pekin recently welcomed T-Mobile to Pekin with a ribbon cutting.  Owner/Manager Sid Kattom was joined by staff and customers for the picture.  T-Mobile is located in East Court Village at 3520 Court Street.  T-Mobile will cover your switching fees when you trade in your phone so you can break free from your old carrier with their costly overage charges and restrictive service contracts. It's one reason why more people switched to T-Mobile in 2016 than to anyother carrier.  You can reach T-Mobile at (309) 349-3777.  You can see a couple more pictures from this event at:

Welcome to Our New Member

Hot Shots Pizza & Slots
2916 Court St. 
Pekin, IL 61554
Ryan Wozniak, Owner
Hot Shots Pizza & Slots is your go to place for pizza and calzones and great gaming fun!

5 Ways a Chamber Membership Is Completely Overrated

by Christina R. Green

Have you ever waited a really long time for something like a movie to come out, only to be disappointed? Or maybe a friend told you how wonderful a particular city was. But when you went there it wasn’t nearly as fantastic as your imagination—and your friend—had made it out to be. 

Are you worried chamber membership will turn out the same way? A lot of talk and not much value? You’re probably right. In fact, I have a feeling you’re always right. Am I right? 

Here are 5 ways a chamber membership is totally overrated.

1. The Learning Resources Are Free or Nearly Free

Everyone knows that business experts who are willing to give of their skills and knowledge for the cost of membership must have something up their sleeves. The fact that these chamber people want business owners in their community to be able to grow their business through educating them on pertinent topics like social media, building your own website, and mitigating risk just doesn’t make sense. 

Everyone knows it’s best to not share any information because if someone knows you’re successful, they’ll think you’re an industry thought leader. The fact that the chamber is giving away information and serving as a helpful community resource shows that they know nothing about business. If they truly wanted the economy to thrive, they would throw everyone into the deep end of the pool to see who could swim not provide learning resources for all like Lunch and Learns, free articles, and professional advice.

2. They Offer Networking to Increase Business Revenue

Chambers offer networking groups, some of which are tailored by industry or level. There are mastermind groups and leads groups and sometimes these business people get together just to have fun. I’m not sure why anyone would want to be a part of a group that promoted business in ways that could increase growth. 

That sounds pretty boring. Although, the growth part could mean more business revenue, which could mean you could afford to do something more exciting. But who wants more revenue? Then you’d have to go out and find a hobby.

3. They’re Off Campaigning for Business

As if those chamber folks aren’t busy enough collecting drink tickets and cutting ribbons with giant scissors, they’re also busy talking to people at the state capital asking for their support for their community on business issues that affect their local business owners. Who wants to support issues that benefit business and the economy? Not you. You have other more important things to do like run your business.

Of course, I suppose if these chamber people weren’t off doing that, we might have some issues. Good thing they are.

4. It’s Always the Same People

Those chamber events are always full of the same people dedicated to improving the local business climate. They work on shop local programs and support member to member patronage. All they think about is how they can grow their business and help others in the community do the same. A lot of them will even give you their suggestions on how they can help you based on their business experience.

This just proves a chamber membership is completely overrated. We need more people in town talking about the Kardashians. Our economy is fine the way it is. More successful businesses would mean more traffic, anyway.

5. They Keep the Light On

When visitors come to town, those chamber people are there to greet them. They strike up a conversation with those travelers and then they even give them suggestions based on what those visitors are looking for. Could even be your business. 

But a chamber membership is overrated because those referrals take all the fun out of those weary travelers just stumbling across your place right before you close. Don’t you love the serendipitous moment of someone coming in like that? There you are just wondering if you’ll get a customer and some days one appears. Who wants to join the chamber and have referrals walk in all the time? No one with any sense of romance or fate.

Yes, a chamber membership is truly overrated. Having access to the inside track for new jobs or economic opportunities, having someone who’s actively advocating for your business when you don’t have the time nor the inclination, being a part of informal mentoring, and having access to free or nearly free learning opportunities certainly doesn’t sound like it would help you grow your business at all.  You know what you should do instead? Spend more time on Facebook watching cat videos. I read that 96.7% of people who spend the better part of a day on social media watching videos of furry cuteness have a unicorn delivered to their doorstep on the vernal equinox. 

It’s true. It was on the Interwebs. 

Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine,, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at and the Event Manager Blog. She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations every.

Goodwill Industries of Central Illinois Awarded Grant for Homeless Veterans

Goodwill Industries of Central Illinois has been awarded $230,000 from the Department of Labor to provide training and reintegration services to homeless veterans in Central Illinois. Goodwill is the only downstate Illinois agency to receive funding through this grant, which will allow the non-profit agency to provide veterans with occupational skills training, as well as job search and placement assistance.
“We are honored to be among a select group of agencies awarded these funds,” said Don Johnson, President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Central Illinois. “Helping these men and women find work and reintegrate back into our community is paramount.”
“These are experienced and skilled individuals and it will be our job to prepare them and match them with local employers. In turn local businesses will get skilled workers and give back by supporting our veterans,” said Lori Johnson, Goodwill’s Director of Program Services.
Goodwill Industries of Central Illinois also operates the General Wayne A. Downing Home for Veterans and on July 7th, 2017 will hold a ribbon cutting to open a 5 bedroom expansion to the home. The expansion will allow a total of 15 homeless veterans a place to call home.
Goodwill of Central Illinois is a non-profit organization that provides occupational training and job placement assistance to individuals and families who are working to better their lives. Goodwill also operates a youth mentoring program for youth ages 12 to 17. For more information on retail stores, donation centers and vocational services, visit or call the Administrative Offices at (309) 682-1113.

June Biz Barometer

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Parlour Celebrates

Andrea Baker, owner of The Parlour at 300 Broadway in Pekin, celebrated some recent improvements and enhancements with a ribbon cutting.  Representatives from the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Pekin of Pekin were on hand to help with the celebration.  The Parlour can be reached at 201-3365.  You can see a few more pictures from this event at:

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Mackinaw Valley Vineyard Monthly Newsletter


June & July Vineyard Newsletter

Summer Fun at the Vineyard, we have something for everyone!

Concerts in the Vineyard
6/17 Jammsammich
6/24 Biscuits & Gravy
6/30 Brushville,  Friday,  8-11pm
7/01   7 West
7/08 Sweetwater
7/15 Jammsammich
7/22 Bubblegum  Jack
7/28 Brushville,
Friday, 8-11pm
7/29 Femme Fatale
Fridays, 8-11pm $10pp
Saturdays, 7-11pm, $5 pp

Festivals and Events
6/18  Father's Day-Fishing Day 
free catch & release fishing 

7/16 Art & Wine Festival- free come out and support local art 

7/21 Country Idol Contest with 107.7 & 92.1 THE BULL
Videos for contestants must be submitted by email to-
Entries may be acapella or with musical accompaniment. 
Showoff your musical talent and have some fun, we can't wait to see what you've got!

7/23 Masterpiece Painting Classes at the Vineyard, 11am or 2pm. 
You're more talented then you think, painting may be your hidden talent.

Mackinaw Valley Vineyard | 309-359-9463| facebook-Mackinaw Winery|


SCORE Monthly Newsletter

  and    SCORE Peoria

New ideas for June 2017

Achieve greater success now and take that dream vacation later. Meet with a SCORE mentor today!

Drawing from SCORE's large, diverse population of clients, this new data report is the first in a series providing a snapshot of the current American small business landscape.

At a glance:
  • Most critical service for pre-startups' success? More than 27% answered "marketing and sales."
  • Start-ups reported creating work for an average of three people.
  • More than 50% of start-up owners relied most heavily on the advice of other businesses owners or peers compared to other sources of advice.
In addition to significant findings on the employment impact of start-ups and microbusinesses, this study highlights several previously unexplored areas that will benefit from future research in upcoming SCORE Megaphone of Main Street reports.

Click below to view the data report and accompanying infographic.

Automated emails triggered by a user's actions are timely, personalized, and relevant. During this webinar, Deluxe will look at:
  • When to use automated email campaigns
  • What kind of events should trigger an automated campaign
  • The types of content that work well for an automated campaign

SCORE mentor Dick VerEecke will discuss how a Health Savings Account can shelter some of your income and reduce your taxes.

You will learn:
  • Three ways HSA can benefit small business owners
  • How you can start benefiting from HSAs immediately

In partnership with Dex Media, Michael Skigen will cover how to effectively use video, email and text to strengthen and grow your customer relationships.

You will learn:
  • How to grow your business and stay ahead of the competition
  • How to make your current customers repeat customers
  • Three actions to improve your customer communications

Moonlight Coalition for Adult Learning 
Moonlight Coalition for Adult Learning

Watch the above video to learn how SCORE PEORIA helped the Moonlight Coalition for Adult Learning create an airport gift shop.

Furthermore, Loder and mentors Frank Melchior, Anthony Basile, and Kristine Scheufele helped Marshood prepare for vital meetings with school administrators when launching the program.

Did you catch all of the great National Small Business Week webinars?

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Peoria SCORE

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SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship. We have been doing this for over 50 years.

Because our work is supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and thanks to our network of 11,000+ volunteers, we are able to deliver our services at no charge or at very low cost.

Find out more about our Mission, Vision and Values here.