Thursday, March 29, 2012

Membership Renewals

American Cancer Society/Relay for Life ~ American Motor Trends ~ Associated Bank

Avanti's Dome Events & Sports Center of Pekin ~ Bond Eye Associates

Boy Scouts of America/W.D. Boyce Council ~ Bridgeway ~ Greg's Garage Door Service

Hometown Title ~ J H Car Wash ~ Dr. Brendon J. Johnson, OD PC

Kiwanis Club of Pekin ~ Kouri's Pub ~ Pekin National Bank

Pekin Trophy House & Engraved Gifts ~ Sam Leman Auto Stop ~ Carol Shields

St. Paul Wonderland ~ State Representative Mike Unes ~ Super 8

T-Shirt House ~ Tazewell County Jaycees ~ Teresa Ann Tucker

Winpak Heat Seal Corporation ~ WTVP TV

Biz Barometer

Pekin’s sales tax disbursement from the state was the largest March disbursement ever.  This is sales tax that was charged on sales in December.

Pekin’s March sales tax disbursement was 8.9% greater than March of 2011.

Pekin’s March sales tax disbursement has grown two years in a row, reversing a three-year downward trend.

East Peoria’s March sales tax disbursement was up 15% over March of 2011.

For the 12 months ending in March (which represents the 2011 calendar year sales) Pekin (+1.7%), Morton (3.2%), East Peoria (7.9%) and Washington (4.3%) all saw increases over the previous year.

The number of residential units sold in the 61554 zip code in the first two months of 2012 is up 6.7% over the same period in 2011. 

The average sales price of a residential unit in Pekin in the first two months of 2012 is up 9.1% over the same period in 2011.

Pekin’s unemployment rate went from 9.6% in December of 2011 to 10.8% in January of 2012.

The number of people employed in Pekin (15,960) in January of 2012 is 301 less than December of 2011.

Compared to January of 2011, there are 172 more people employed in Pekin in January of 2012. 

Compared to January of 2011, there are 1,299 more people employed in Tazewell County in January of 2012.

Nationally, non-farm payroll employment rose by 227,000 in February, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.3%.

Sources:  Illinois Department of Employment Security; Illinois Department of Revenue; Peoria Area Association of Realtors; Bureau of Labor Statistics

Puttin' On Pekin

April 13th
Knights of Columbus Hall
715 N. 11th St., Pekin
6:45 – 8:00 am

RSVP to 346-2106 or e-mail us at

Additional features of the breakfast include:

·  Door prize drawings provided by local businesses
  • One minute reminders
  • “Meet the new Chamber Member”
  • Spotlight on Business presentation
  • Program will be Holly Crotty from TAPS

April Business After Hours

Speakeasy Art Center   
353 Court Street
April 4th 
Reservations Appreciated
346-2106 or email us at  
Ÿ  Don't miss this opportunity to network with fellow chamber members and community leaders. You'll also enjoy refreshments, door prizes, entertainment, tours and information from our hosts. This month's event is co-hosted by the Speakeasy Art Center, Home Health Care Plus, and Harbor Light Hospice.

Calendar of Events

April 3 – Ambassador Meeting       

April 4 – Member Promotion Meeting

April 4 – Executive Board Meeting       

April 5 – Pekin 1st Committee       

April 5 – Business After Hours

April 6 – Chamber Office Closed

April 9 – CIRCLE Legislative Reception       

April 10 – Member Services Committee

April 12 – Transportation Committee

April 13 – Puttin on Pekin

April 16 – Annual Meeting

April 18 - Marigold Festival Committee

April 24 – Business Advocacy Committee

April 26 – CIRCLE Visits Springfield

2012 Summer Jam

PnP Entertainment & Power 92.3 is proud to present the first annual Summer Jam, on June 23, 2012 at 5pm. The concert will be held at the Peoria Civic Center Arena. PnP is offering local businesses the opportunity to be apart of this live broadcasted event. For more information, please contact PnP Entertainment at or by calling 956 400 2480

Don’t miss this tremendous opportunity. As an added bonus, PnP is also offering celebrity appearances at you place of business, along with a live radio broadcast. The 2012 Summer Jam will consist of mainstream music artist like DJ UNK, Silk, Shai, Alicia Keys, Lil Corey and many more. The performance card subject to change.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Commerce Makes the 2011 KBW Bank Honor Roll

Commerce Bancshares, Inc. is one of 17 new members included on the 2011 KBW Bank Honor Roll of  banking institutions that achieved positive earnings per share growth over the last decade, regardless of the economic environment. (Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, March 20, 2012)

This is a really significant honor which has already been picked up by the Forbes and other business publications (see link below)

Road Work Near US 24 / IL 9

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announces that work is under way on US 24 / IL 9 near Lamarsh Creek and Cameron Ln. in Peoria County.

Median work, milling, and paving are scheduled for this project, which is expected to be completed by early May. Motorists should expect lane closures while the work is being completed.

Please slow down and use extreme caution while driving through all work zones.

For updated traffic information and views from dozens of traffic cameras in the Peoria area, click here:

For a look at other IDOT District 4 projects, click here:
Members of the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce can showcase their business at the 2012 Peoira Area Business Showcase at the "chamber member" rate.  Click the photo below to see the flyer or scan the QR code to go to the registration page.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

2012 Illinois History Symposium

This year the Illinois History Symposium, sponsored by the Illinois State Historical Society and its several partners, explores the War of 1812 on the frontier, presenting the social, political, military, environmental, and long-term effects of the conflict on the landscape and the people who fought it. This event will be held at the Embassy Suites in East Peoria, April 26 - 28.
For more information on the symposium, visit

Welcome New Member: Gregg Ratcliff

Gregg Ratcliff, Pekin IL 61554; Individual Member

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pekin Chamber Joins CPR

The Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors recently voted to join Chambers for Pension Reform (CPR). 

Why is the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce a part of this coalition? The State of Illinois’ fiscal crisis should be one of the most important policy issues for the State and the Illinois business community. How can we expect Illinois, including Pekin, to have a vibrant economy with this millstone around our necks:
  • Illinois has a backlog of $8.5 billion in bills it cannot pay.
  • Credible projections estimate the backlog will grow to a staggering $34 billion in just 5 years unless there is dramatic action. To put that in perspective, the entire state budget is roughly $33 billion.
  • Moody's has downgraded Illinois' rating to the lowest of any state - even lower than California.
  • With just 43% of pension obligations funded, Illinois’ public pension system is the worst funded state system in the nation. Illinois has an unfunded pension liability of $83 billion.
  • Unless there is dramatic action, the cost of Illinois’ pension system will grow from 20% to nearly 50% of Illinois’ tax revenues in the next 30 years. Obviously, that is not sustainable.  
To learn more about the State’s pension problems, click here:
You can read the policy position paper from Chambers for Pension Reform at:
You can also read Senator Dave Koehler's recent email on the pension issue, including how we got into this situation, and his thoughts on some of the solutions.  Senator Koehler's email is at:  
If your business or organization would like to join CPR, please complete the simple enrollment form and fax it to the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce at 346-2104.  

Greater Peoria Knows The Score

Greater Peoria scores excellent when it comes to economic performance, innovation, people and livability according to the Greater Peoria Regional Economic Scorecard released on March 22, 2012 by The Heartland Partnership.  The Heartland Partnership, CEO Roundtable volunteers and Bradley University business professors have spent more than a year gathering data on hundreds of categories to see how the region stacks up. 

You can download the complete scorecard here:

According to Scorecard project coordinator Ryan Spain, “In order to remain a leader in the Midwest, we need a baseline set of measurements so we can better understand how we perform and how we rate compared to regions we consider our competitors and the regions we aspire to be like.”  Competitor communities were identified as Chattanooga, TN; Quad Cities; Dayton, OH; Fort Wayne, IN; Grand Rapids, MI; Lexington, KY; Rockford; and Springfield, MO.  Communities we aspire to be like included Des Moines, IA; Omaha, NE; ad Madison, WI. 

Jim McConoughey, President and CEO of The Heartland Partnership explained the scorecard as a proactive approach to determining the strengths and weaknesses of the region “Up to this point, the majority of our efforts have been focused internally, but it is no longer enough to simply measure our internal progress from year to year.  We must understand how Greater Peoria performs in relation to our competitors as well.” 

Five main categories were analyzed and Greater Peoria demonstrates great results when it comes to productivity, generation of intellectual property and access to healthcare but progress is needed to improve our business climate and provide additional support for small businesses.  Here’s a look at the specific scores for the five categories:
a.       Economic Performance is critical to every community and improving economic performance is the ultimate goal for all community leaders. A strong, vibrant economy leads to improved living standards, job growth, higher wages and more opportunities for all stakeholders.  Greater Peoria scored 137 which is 5th & above US average of 100
b.      People are the most important resource in an economy.  A highly educated and experienced workforce with the knowledge and ability to perform specialized tasks, respond to opportunities and adapt to a changing economic environment will result in greater productivity for local businesses and attract new businesses to the area.  Greater Peoria scored 134 which is 5th & above US average of 100
c.       Innovation is the growth engine of an economy. The ability for a community to establish an innovative environment will attract dynamic new businesses to the area.  Residents can expect higher-wage jobs, lower unemployment and an increased standard of living. Greater Peoria scored 71 which is 4th & below US average of 100
d.      Business & Entrepreneurship are essential for a thriving community. A favorable environment will be supportive of local entrepreneurs and entice new companies into the region, resulting in job growth, infrastructure investment and increased living standards. Greater Peoria scored 135 which is 9th & above US average of 100
e.      Livability includes cost of living, safety, healthcare access, cultural opportunities, a sense of community and convenience.  Livability is taken into account when a worker decides where to locate. An area is more likely to attract and retain high-quality talent if it can offer a comfortable lifestyle and a pleasant environment to raise a family. Greater Peoria scored 115 which is 5th & above US average of 100
A handful of communities across the country have done similar projects however, according to Dr. Larry Weinzimmer, Caterpillar Professor of Strategic Management at Bradley University, the methodology used in the Greater Peoria Regional Economic Scorecard is different than any other because of the statistical analysis provided by Bradley University.   

Scorecard task force member Dan Daly said while this analysis doesn’t provide every solution to the issues identified, it will serve as a platform on which community and business leaders can build future strategic development efforts.  “Having strong data as the foundation for strategic development, will increase the probability for success and will help ensure the long term growth of Greater Peoria.”   

Bill Cirone, task force member, explained the Heartland Partnership is not going to solve all of the issues identified through this project on its own.  “Overcoming the challenges we have identified will require cooperation between state and local governments, as well as partnerships with the business community.  The Heartland Partnership needs you, the residents in this region, to get involved and make a difference.  We have the roadmap now so let’s work together and make sure we’re headed in the right direction.”   

The Greater Peoria Economic Scorecard will become an annual report to track progress and identify regional weaknesses year over year.  There will be community forums and the scorecard group will be presenting their findings throughout the region.  If you would like a presentation for your organization or business, email us at and visit for more information. 

Command Center Welcomed to Pekin

The Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce welcomed a new business to Pekin with a ribbon cutting ceremony on March 21st. Command Center is located at 2222 B Court Street. Branch Manager Melinda Palmer and Patti Abernathy were joined in the ceremony by representatives from the City of Pekin and the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce. Command Center is a labor and staffing company. They can supply construction, clerical, hospitality, and event personnel and can be reached at 309-346-5627 or  You can see more pictures from this and other chamber events at:

Family Quick Care Ribbon Cutting

Family Quick Care was officially welcomed to Pekin with a ribbon cutting ceremony on March 21st. Representatives from the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Pekin joined owner Aimee Sarchet and her family at the event. Located at 3412 Veterans Drive, Family Quick Care offers affordable and convenient healthcare for the working family. Their goal is to provide the best service for only the most common acute illnesses. They are not designed to replace your family doctor or to treat all medical conditions, but specialize in treating 90% of the most common acute illnesses, so that they can offer you the most efficient and affordable medical attention. Open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. they can be reached at 353-6946 or  You can see more pictures from this and other chamber events at:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

AAIM EA April Educational Opportunities

AAIM Employers’ Association Education Center is pleased to offer the following educational opportunities in April.  Detailed information on these and other events is available on AAIM EA’s website at  AAIM Employers’ Association is an HRCISM  Approved Provider.  Registrations can be made at 800.948.5700 or online at

“2012 Employment Law Series”

Dates:  Sessions April 18 – December 19, 2012

1.     April 18 – Special Employment Issues: Privacy, Defamation, and Company Security
Learn what it takes to protect your organization’s people, data, intellectual capital and reputation in our digital world.

2.     June 20 – Safe Selection: Reducing Your Hiring Risk

3.     July 18 – Wage & Hour Administration

4.     August 15 – Promoting and Evaluating Employee Productivity

5.     November 14 - Managing Absenteeism and Leave Issues

6.     December 19 – The Discipline and Discharge Process


Time: 8:30am-11:00am

Location:  Par-A-Dice Hotel, East Peoria

Series Cost: $699 AAIM EA Member; $999 Non-member 

Individual Sessions Cost: $135 AAIM EA Member; $180 Non-member

This popular multi-session series is conducted by labor and employment Law attorneys from Davis & Campbell LLC.    The sessions focus on the steps employees can take to cope with the requirements of various laws and regulations. Each session qualifies for 2.25 General HRCI recertification credits.
 “Dealing With Difficult People*”

Date:  Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Time:  8:00am-12noon

Location:  AAIM Employers’ Association, 401 NE Jefferson, Peoria

Cost: $135 AAIM EA Member; $180 Non-member 

This program will help you look at real workplace situations you face and will provide strategies for turning these negative encounters into civil and productive exchanges between you, your peers, your employees, your Customers and your supervisors and bosses.

Leading Organizational Change

Date:  Thursday, April 19, 2012

Time:  9:00am-4:30pm

Location:  AAIM Employers’ Association, 401 NE Jefferson, Peoria

Cost:  $395 AAIM EA Member: $565 Non-member
Learn techniques that will allow the HR Leader to analyze an organizational structure’s strengths and weaknesses, design new structures as needed, and identify the human capital implications of major events such as reorganizations, mergers and acquisitions, and divestiture.  This session qualifies for 7.0 HRCI Strategic Management hours.

Administrative Professionals Recognition Breakfast

Time:  7:30am-9:45am

Date:  Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Location:  Mt. Hawley Country Club, Peoria

Cost:  $35 AAIM EA & IAAP Member; $40 Non-member  ($5 off when you register 5 or more from your organization)

          Table of 8 -- $210 AAIM EA Member; $245 Non-member

Recognize and reward your right-hand….the unsung heroes of our organizations….the Administrative Professionals.  Start their day with a fun-filled breakfast and light-hearted presentation that takes a humorous look at the different types of co-workers and the situations they place us in. We’ll send them off with a chuckle and a few great tips for dealing with the situations.   Sponsored by Hoerr’s Nursery, Quite Simply Amazing

Multiculturism in Today’s Workplace

Time:  1:00-2:00pm

Date:  Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Location:  Webinar

Cost:  $159 AAIM EA Member; $199 Non-member

Effective leaders and managers must be able to manage to the diverse range of cultural values emerging on the office and plant floor.

Ameren Illinois ActOnEnergy Online Training Events

Over the next two months the Ameren Illinois ActOnEnergy® program will be offering FREE online training events that you can access from the comfort of your desk.

These training events are designed to help businesses become more knowledgeable about energy efficiency. For more information on all ActOnEnergy training events, go to

Please see below for monthly online training options.

April Online Training Events

Topic: Energy Efficiency for Grocery and Convenience Stores
Speaker: Scott Schultz, Energy Program Engineer with SAIC, an Ameren Illinois ActOnEnergy Partner
Date: Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Time: 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Earn 1.0 CE Hours

The free, one-hour training event will cover the following topics:

  • Grocery/Convenience Store Industry
  • Energy-Efficient Lighting for Grocery and Convenience Stores
  • Energy-Efficient Refrigeration Options for Grocery and Convenience Stores
  • Other Ways to Save Energy
  • ActOnEnergy
  • Examples
  • Getting Started

 To register for “Energy Efficiency for Grocery and Convenience Stores,” click here.

Topic: Tune-ups for Air Conditioners, Chillers, and Refrigeration
Speaker: David Kilgore, Energy Program Engineer with SAIC, an Ameren Illinois ActOnEnergy Partner
Date: Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Time: 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Earn 1.0 CE Hours

The free, one-hour training event will cover the following topics:

  • The importance of tune-ups
  • Air conditioning tune-up best practices
  • Chiller tune-up best practices
  • Refrigeration tune-up best practices
  • Ameren Illinois ActOnEnergy incentives for tune-ups

 To register for “Tune-ups for Air Conditioners, Chillers, and Refrigeration,” click here.

May Online Training Event

Topic: Energy Efficiency Solutions Using LED Lighting
Date: Wednesday, May 23
Time: 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Speaker: Yoelit Hiebert, Energy Program Engineer, SAIC
Earn 1.0 CE Hours

The free, one-hour training event will cover the following topics:

  • What is LED lighting?
    • Physical Characteristics
    • Typical Specification Parameters
    • Life Cycle Costs
  • LED Lighting Myths
  • LED Lighting Applications
  • AOE Incentives and On-Line Store Offerings
  • Case Studies
To register for “Energy Efficiency Solutions Using LED Lighting,” click here.

Welcome New Member: Pat Sullivan

Pat Sullivan, Peoria IL 61525; Individual Member

BBB Seeking Torch Nominations

The Better Business Bureau of Central Illinois is accepting nominations for their 14th annual BBB Torch Award for Business Integrity.  Nominees should have displayed ethics and reliability in the marketplace. An awards dinner will be held on May 15th at the Gateway Building in Peoria. The nominations are due by March 27th. Nominations can be mailed to 112 Harrison St., Peoria, IL 61602, entered online at or emailed to

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Welcome New Member: Classic Donuts

Classic Donuts, 815 N. 8th Street, Pekin, IL 61554; phone: (309) 353-6887; email:; Byron Stockman, Owner; Sandy Stockman, Co-owner. Business Hours: 5am - 11am Every Day. Classic Donuts have fresh made donuts, muffins, danishes, and cookies. You can also purchase these at Hucks and Marathon stations.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Murder and Mystery Coming to Downtown Pekin

Pekin Main Street and Artistic Community Theatre of Pekin will be presenting a Murder Mystery Dinner show entitled “My Fatal Valentine” on Saturday, April 14 at the Speakeasy Art Center, 353 Court Street in downtown Pekin. Doors open at 6:00 and dinner will be served at 6:30.

My Fatal Valentine by Eileen Moushey is about the fierce competition at the annual Heart Throb Romance Novel Writers competition – the competition is so fierce that someone is willing to kill for a win. It will be up to the audience to solve the crime in this hilarious “Who Dunnit” show. The production will be directed by Nona Buster, with special permission from Mysteries by Moushey, Inc.

Starring in the show are: Gordon Lofton, Sarah Moore, Teresa Mack, Dan Carney, Chelsea Norris, Emily Moore, Bobby Lee, Jeleighsa Hamilton, Kate Carney, Suzanne Wheeler, Marlis Tomlinson, Chad Hill, Nona Buster.

Tickets are $25/person or $200 for a table of 8. All tickets include dinner and dessert. Dinner will be by CJ’s CafĂ© in downtown Pekin. Event sponsors are the Speakeasy Art Center and the Grand Victorian of Pekin. Tickets are available at the Pekin Main Street office, located at 111 S. Capitol Street, in Pekin City Hall, by calling 353-3100 or by emailing All proceeds from the show will benefit Pekin Main Street and Artistic Community Theatre. The Speakeasy Art Center is located in the heart of downtown Pekin at 353 Court Street – directly across from the Tazewell County Courthouse.