Thursday, June 26, 2014

Welcome to our Newest Member!

Ace Liquor
1025 Derby St.
Pekin, IL 61554
(2nd location at)
14 N. 5th St.
Pekin, IL 61554
Jason Kreiling, President/Owner
Ace Liquor is a locally owned liquor store with two locations to serve you in Pekin. There is a wide variety of Beers, Wines & Spirits available, as well as the ever growing craft beer selection. 

Welcome to our Newest Member!

Northwestern Mutual
4711 NW University
Peoria, IL 61554
Chad Mucciante, Financial Rep
Kelley Davidson, Director of Operations
Northwestern Mutual specializes in insurance and investment options.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

June Biz Barometer

The regional economy showed some improvement this month, however Pekin lagged behind in sales tax receipts and real estate sales. 

L Pekin's June sales tax disbursement from the state was down 12.9% compared to the same month a year ago.  The 3-month running average was down 16.2% and the 12-month running average was down 9.2%.
J The other large Tazewell County communities all showed growth in their June disbursements from the state, compared to a year ago:  East Peoria +26.8%; Washington +7.6%; and, Morton +9.0%. 
J June sales tax disbursements for the four large Tazewell County communities as a whole, were up 7.7% compared to June of 2013.
L Through May a total of 160 residential units have been sold in Pekin.  That is down 18.8% compared to the first 5 months of 2013.  The other communities in Tazewell County posted similar results, with Morton's sales down 26%, East Peoria down 16.3%  and Washington down 24.3%.  
J Through May the average price of a residential unit sold in Pekin was $111,578, which is a 5.9% increase over the first five months of 2013.  Morton (16.9%) and Washington (10.2%) were also up over last year, while East Peoria's average sales price was down 4.7% for the first five months of 2013.
J Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 217,000 in May, and the U.S. unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.3 percent. Employment increased in professional and business services, health care and social assistance, food services and drinking places, and transportation and warehousing.
J The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.4 percent in May on a seasonally adjusted basis.  Over the last 12 months, the all  items index increased 2.1 percent before seasonal adjustment.

(Source:  Peoria Area Association of Realtors, Illinois Department of Revenue, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Illinois Department of Employment Security)

Pekin Hospital Auxiliary Announces Scholarship Recipients

The Pekin Hospital Auxiliary held its Annual Tea on June 17 and awarded financial assistance to seven area students pursuing careers in health-related fields.  The 2014 recipients are: Lindsay Beyer of Pekin; Hannah Booker of Peoria; Madeline Hopkins of Green Valley; Taylor Lamberson of Pekin; April Najpaver of Pekin; Sean Zwicky of Pekin; and Jeanette McIntyre of Manito.

The Pekin Hospital Auxiliary was established in 1941 to provide service to Pekin Hospital. The financial assistance program began in 1962 to provide assistance to local students pursuing careers in health care.

Assistance funds are raised through the Auxiliary’s annual holiday bake sale, raffle, and other Auxiliary fundraisers

Sears Ribbon Cutting

Representatives from the City of Pekin and the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce welcomed Sears
Hometown & Outlet to Pekin with a ribbon cutting on June 21st.  Sears Hometown & Outlet is located at 3247 Court Street, Suite A and they can be reached at (309) 210-7800.  Adam White, the store general manager, cut the ribbon.  He was joined by other local and district Sears staff.  Sears Hometown & Outlet Store is a company owned location. Appliances, lawn & garden, tools, mattresses, outdoor living and fitness products are available in the store. There is also a vast assortment of products available via the online warehouse.  You can see more pictures from this event at:

Welcome to Our Newest Member

Country Financial - Brett Wolters
1615 Valle Vista
Pekin, IL 61554
Brett Wolters, Financial Representative
Country Financial offers all lines of insurance as well as financial services.

Welcome to Our Newest Member

Sud Family Limited
1430 Ft. Jesse Rd Suite 100 
Normal, IL 61761 
Terry Harper
Michelle Williams
Suniti Sud 
Sud Family Limited specializes in Real Estate Management.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Henricksen Welcomed To Chamber

Henricksen & Co. recently joined the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce. Steve Meyer, account rep with Henricksen , was presented a membership plaque and welcomed to the chamber by Executive Director Bill Fleming. Henricksen & Co. is a full service office furniture dealership, providing a wide range of office furnishings from the industry's leading manufacturers. They offer a broad scope of services, from design and CAD specificaiton, project management installation and relocation assistance. Henricksen is located in downtown Peoria at 401 SW Water Street, Suite 205.  They can be reached at (309) 636-0033.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Dirksen Center Elects New Board Members and Officers

The Dirksen Congressional Center’s Endowment Fund membership elected new members and officers to the Board of Directors at its recent annual meeting.  Joining the Board are Kimberly Remmert, PHR, Director of Human Resources, Pekin Insurance Company; Dr. Timmothy J. Schwartz, Dentist, Pekin; and Ms. Leslie K. Weyhrich, CPA and Partner, Wolf, Tesar & Company, P.C., Pekin. Jeff Bernstein, Professor of Political Science, Eastern Michigan University and Drew Leman, Vice President, Leman Property Management Company, completed their two terms on the Board.

The following Directors were elected as officers:  President, William T. Fleming, Executive Director, Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce; Vice President, Louis E. Miller, Attorney, Bagley and Miller Attorneys, Pekin; Secretary, Sue Ann Kortkamp, retired, Pekin; Treasurer, Dr. Michael D. Danner, Dentist, Pekin.

The Dirksen Congressional Center is a private, nonpartisan, non-profit research and educational institution whose mission is to help people better understand the U.S. Congress and its leaders.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Weekly Chamber Connection

Don't forget to check out your weekly Chamber Connection by clicking here!

Master Naturalist Training

University of Illinois Extension, Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit is proud to offer Master Naturalist training this fall.

"The program is designed to train volunteers in natural resources so they can become natural area stewards, educators, and advocates," explains Christine Belless, program coordinator with Extension.

The program provides science-based educational opportunities that connect people with nature and help them become engaged environmental stewards.

The following subjects will be taught during the program: Ecological Concepts, Botany, Geology, Anthropology, Forest Ecology, Grassland Ecology, Ornithology, Mammology, Herpetology, Entomology, and Aquatic Systems. 

The Master Naturalist program is a combination of education and volunteer service.  With the help of local experts, U of I Extension provides the educational support for the program, while the internship service time will be done with their primary partners:  The Nature Conservancy, Dickson Mounds Museum, University of Illinois-Springfield at Emiquon, Forest Park Nature Center, Camp Wokanda, Jubilee State Park, Chautauqua Wildlife Refuge, Soldwedel Program Center, and Wildlife Prairie Park.

The classes will meet every Tuesday, August 26 to October 28, 2014, from 9 am to 4 pm.  One or two Wednesday field trips are planned for hands-on training.  A graduation and recognition ceremony will be held Saturday, November 1, 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at Dickson Mound Museum. 

All applicants must attend a mandatory orientation meeting. These are scheduled as follows: 
  • Dickson Mounds Museum - Tuesday, June 24, 10:00 a.m.
  • Fulton County Extension office - Tuesday, June 24, 6:00 p.m.
  • Peoria County Extension office - Tuesday, July 15, 10:00 a.m. 
  • Wildlife Prairie Park - Wednesday, July 16, 2:00 p.m.
Each applicant will also have a screening process. The fee covering classroom sessions and field training, handouts, and the Master Naturalist manual is $250.  Applications, screening paperwork, and course fee must be received by August 1st

For additional information, please call 309-547-3711.

Friday, June 13, 2014

June Puttin' On Pekin

The June Puttin' On Pekin breakfast was held on Friday the 13th, but it was a lucky start to the day for the 70 chamber members and guests in attendance. Lora Jacobs presented the Sunshine Award to Teresa Tucker for her volunteer work with the Alzheimer's Association. Leon Edwards earned the early award for arriving first. Drew Leman accepted the Spotlight on Business Award on behalf of Leman Property Management. The Sabella Street Station was presented with a Blue Ribbon Award for their remodeling efforts at the old Elks Lodge in downtown Pekin. The featured program was Pekin's July 4th celebration, presented by Steve Brown.  Jackie Schillinger won the late prize.  You can see more pictures from this event at:

Morton Villa Business After Hours

The June Business After Hours was hosted by Morton Villa Nursing Center at 190 E. Queenwood.  Erica and her staff gave tours of the facility and offered their guests some great food and drinks.  There were also plenty of door prizes!  You can see more pictures from this event at:  

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Illinois American Water’s Brent Oest Named a Vice President of JULIE Board of Directors

Illinois American Water’s non-revenue water supervisor, Brent Oest, has been named to the Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators (JULIE), Inc. Board of Directors.  Oest will serve as Vice President of Sewer and Water Utilities.  In this position, Oest will work in conjunction with the other board members to determine organizational policy, planning, finance, and public and governmental relations.

“We congratulate Brent on this important role and his commitment to working with our utility partners.  These relationships are critical for the safety of our customers and employees,” said Barry Suits, Illinois American Water's Vice President of Operations.

While a member of JULIE’s board of directors, Oest will serve on the public education and the operations committee. JULIE, Inc. provides Illinois excavators and underground utility owners with a continuously improving, one-call message handling and delivery service committed to protecting underground utilities and the safety of people working or living near them. 

4th of July Honor America Celebration

Fleming Completes Third Year at Institute for Organization Management

A Leadership Training Program Produced by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Institute for Organization Management, the professional development
program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, is pleased to announce that William T. Fleming, Executive Director of the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce, has recently completed his third year at Institute for Organization Management, a four-year nonprofit leadership training program at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
“Institute graduates are recognized across the country as leaders in their industries and organizations,” said Raymond P. Towle, IOM, CAE, the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s vice president of Institute for Organization Management. “These individuals have the knowledge, skills, and dedication necessary to achieve professional and organizational success in the dynamic association and chamber industries.”  
Since its commencement in 1921, the Institute program has been educating tens of thousands of association, chamber, and other nonprofit leaders on how to build stronger organizations, better serve their members and become strong business advocates. Institute’s curriculum consists of four weeklong sessions at five different university locations throughout the country. Through a combination of required courses and electives in areas such as leadership, advocacy, marketing, finance, and membership, Institute participants are able to enhance their own organizational management skills and add new fuel to their organizations, making them run more
efficiently and effectively. 
Institute for Organization Management is the professional development program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. It is the premier nonprofit professional development program for association and chamber professionals, fostering individual growth through interactive learning and networking opportunities. 
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF) is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness by addressing developments that affect our nation, our economy, and the global business environment.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Peoria Airport Breaks Records

The General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport continues to break records for passenger air service, with 112,153 passengers in April and May 2014. In addition, March had the highest passenger count ever experienced at the airport, with 59,021 passengers. Combined, the three most recent months represent nearly a seven-percent increase in passenger travel over the same months in 2013.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Women "Balancing Act" Conference

Flying Fish Festival

Weekly Chamber Connection Available

Check out your Weekly Chamber Connection by clicking here!

Savant Capital Management Places among Top National Firms in InvestmentNews’ Rankings

Savant Capital Management, a nationally recognized fee-only wealth management firm, ranks #10 on InvestmentNews’ 2014 “15 Fastest Growing Fee-Only RIAs” list. Headquartered in Rockford, IL. Savant also has nine offices in the following cities: Chicago, Freeport, IL; Geneva, IL; Hoffman Estates, IL; Naperville, IL; Peoria, IL; Sterling, IL; McLean, VA; and Madison, WI.
Savant experienced a three-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 25 percent, according to InvestmentNews. In addition, the company also took the #6 spot for “Top fee-only RIAs with 500+ financial planning clients” and the #4 spot for “Biggest Gainers: Largest fee-only RIAs ranked by percentage growth in total assets.” Savant is the only firm to be ranked in the top 10 in all three lists.
“It’s an honor to be named among the industry’s fastest growing firms in addition to being one of the top fee-only RIAs,” said Brent Brodeski, CEO and Principal of Savant Capital Management. “This growth and recognition strongly reflects our commitment to serving our clients and keeping their best interest at the forefront of everything we do. In fact, the true measure of our success is not the rate in which our organization grows, but through ensuring that our team always offers the highest quality advisory service to our clients.”
To determine the rankings for the “15 Fastest Growing Fee-Only RIAs” list, InvestmentNews determined the 15 fastest-growing firms among the 100 largest, based on their three-year compound annual growth rate. According to the publication, the fee-only registered investment advisor sector has grown overall at a rate of 11 percent per year and the top 100 firms experienced a growth rate of 16 percent.
To obtain the sixth place ranking for “Top fee-only RIAs with 500+ financial planning clients” Savant was ranked among fee-only RIAs by total assets under management. The fourth place ranking for “Biggest Gainers: Largest fee-only RIAs ranked by percentage growth in total assets” came as the result of an assessment of the largest fee-only RIAs ranked by percentage of growth in total assets.

Pekin Hospital to Host Dash at Dusk 5K Run, 1 Mile Walk & Kids Fun Run

Pekin Hospital will offer a 5K run, a one-mile walk, and kids fun run on Friday, July 11 starting with a half-mile kids fun run at 6:30 p.m. and a 5K run and one-mile walk starting at 7 p.m.  The Dash at Dusk 5K race will start and finish on Park Avenue by the Hospital and promises to be flat and fast.

Registration fees are as follows:
5K run:  $30 per person
One-mile walk:  $30 per person
Kids fun run:  $10 per person

The top three winners in age group categories will receive a custom cast glow-in-the-dark medal.  The first place overall male and female winners will receive $75 Running Central gift cards.  All runners and walkers will receive a swag bag with promotional items and an event t-shirt.

The after party will feature music, health booths, food, and family fun.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Hospital’s fall mission trip to Liberia.

For more information and online registration, please visit

Monday, June 9, 2014

Leadership Connection

The YWCA Pekin Women’s Leadership Network and the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce are proud to introduce the Leadership Connection - a new program to connect not-for-profits with current and emerging community leaders. 
Join us on June 18th from 4:30 to 6:30 pm at the Avanti’s Dome to learn more about area not-for-profits and their volunteer needs.  The program is open to the community, and we hope to match you with a not-for-profit organization looking for volunteers.
Participating organizations include: Pekin Outreach Initiative, Tazewell County Children’s Advocacy Center, Boys & Girls Club, Tazewell County Health Department, Salvation Army, United Way, Center for Prevention of Abuse, TCRC, TAPS, and of course, YWCA Pekin and the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce.
If you have ever wanted to learn more about not-for-profits and opportunities to volunteer, please plan to attend! Each not-for-profit will have information available, and there will be plenty of time to talk with representatives from the various agencies. Light refreshments will be served, and a cash bar will be available.  
Sharpen your leadership and networking skills by participating in the first Leadership Connection event. Interested in learning more about this program?
Call the YWCA at 347-2104 to get answers to all your questions!  Please RSVP by Friday, June 13th by calling the YWCA or e-mailing


Beemer Promoted at Aventine

Mark Beemer was recently promoted to president and CEO of Aventine Renewable Energy Holdings Inc., Pekin, Illinois.  He joined the company as acting president in 2012, with responsibilities encompassing corporate turnaround and leadership, strategic planning, capital expenditures, and implementing revenue initiatives through commodity risk management and disciplined financial management.

Aventine is a $600 million company currently operating the 160-million-gallon wet mill and dry mill plants in Pekin and the Vogelbusch 45-million-gallon Nebraska Energy LLC plant and the 110-million-gallon Aventine Aurora West Delta T plant in Aurora, Nebraska.

A 25-year veteran of the grain and agriculture processing industry, Beemer has built a reputation and track record as a turnaround manager and C-suite business consultant. Recently he has consulted extensively with AlixPartners on the VeraSun bankruptcy and international ventures.

Beemer launched his career in commodity trading as a Chicago Board of Trade runner while earning his bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Purdue University with continued graduate work at the University of Chicago. In 1988 he joined Louis Dreyfus Corp., Wilton, Connecticut, and through that company’s 1993 joint venture moved to Archer Daniels Midland Co., Decatur, Illinois, as manager of corn and soybean merchandising.

During 13 years with ADM Beemer assumed key management roles, including serving as assistant vice president of corporate transportation and vice president of strategic planning, transportation and operations for ADM’s joint venture with Farmland’s grain division.

Beemer joined Penford Products Co., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 2005 as vice president of commodities. In 2006 he founded Alternative Energy Sources Inc., completing development of two 100-million-gallon ethanol plant sites.

In 2010 he was chief commercial officer of Osage Bio Energy, Richmond, Virginia, and served on the board of Hawkeye Renewables, Ames, Iowa. He was president of ethanol at R3 Fusion, Albany, New York (2011-12).

Aventine Renewable Energy, Pekin, Illinois, is a leading producer and marketer of industrial and fuel ethanol and related byproducts, bioproducts and coproducts, including corn gluten feed and meal, corn germ, condensed corn distillers solubles, dried distillers grain with solubles and wet distillers grain with solubles, corn oils and yeast.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

CEFCU Reports Outstanding Achievements and a Record Extraordinary Dividend in 2013

At CEFCU’s recent Annual Meeting, the Credit Union reported outstanding achievements for 2013.  At the end of the year, Assets were more than       $4.9 billion, which is an increase of over 2.5% compared to 2012.  Savings deposits and loans outstanding were at historic levels.  And, total membership for 2013 grew by over 5,500 members.

               At the Annual Meeting, Thea Robinson, 2013 Chairman of the Board of Directors, stated, “In recognition of strong member loyalty, combined with staff controlling expenses while making solid business lending and investment decisions, the Board of Directors authorized a RECORD $12 million Extraordinary Dividend to members at year end.  Over the past 14 years, CEFCU has returned $75 million in Extraordinary Dividends to member/owners. ”  Keeping true to the insight that launched CEFCU 75 years ago, it just proves that together, we’re better.

            Credit Union Officers, Directors, Supervisory Committee members, and Associate Board members for 2014 will be:  Brad C. Arnold – Chairman; Joseph R. Needham – Vice Chairman; Nancy M. Medendorp – Vice Chairman; Robert M. Metzinger – Vice Chairman; Mark A. Spenny – President/CEO and Treasurer; Thea M. Robinson – Secretary; Todd W. Bryant; Bruce G. Dimler; James L. Gleich; Todd C. Gwillim; David M. Koehler; David E. Rossman; Kavita Sachdev; Sean D. Scranton; Grant M. Seshul; and Reed A. Stuedemann.  Jennifer L. Quine serves as the Recording Secretary.

               In 2013, CEFCU contracted with MasterCard and staff began working on preparations to transition debit and credit card products from Visa to MasterCard.  Partnering with MasterCard will offer significantly more benefits to members at no cost to them.

               In December, the new Germantown Hills Member Center opened its doors.  The facility is located directly across from the former Jubilee Foods grocery store in the Germantown Crossing Shopping Center.  The free-standing Member Center is 4,500 square-feet and includes Member Service Representatives to process loans, conduct account transactions, and assist both members and business members with all their financial needs.

            The East Peoria Member Center redesign — which included adding walls to the Member Service Representative offices, and dividers at the teller counter — provides enhanced privacy for members to discuss their financial needs and grow their CEFCU relationships. The outside landscaping was also updated, and the member entrance was enhanced.

            With assets over $5 billion, CEFCU serves over 300,000 members through 20 central Illinois Member Centers and 3 Member Centers in Santa Clara County, California; the CEFCU Financial Center; the Money Center 24 ATM Network;
         CEFCU’s website,; CEFCU’s Mobile website,; the surcharge-free CO-OP Network ATM; and the CU Service Center Shared Branch Network.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Weekly Chamber Connection

Check out this weeks Chamber Connection by clicking here!

Membership Renewals

Thanks to the following businesses, organizations, and individuals who recently renewed their investment in the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce:

5-Star MVP:  City of Pekin

Classic MVP:  American Milling Company ~ Atlas Supply Company ~ Debbie Fornoff Interior Designs & Draperies ~ Hair Cuttery ~ Homerun Advertising Specialties ~ JPG Commercial Real Estate LLC ~ P & W Builders ~ Papa Murphys Take N Bake Pizza ~ Soderstrom Skin Institute ~ Southside Business Association ~ St. Jude Pekin to Peoria Run ~ Whiz Kidz Academy - Childcare & Preschool

Individual/Retired Members:  Steve Saal