Tourism office: local businesses recognized in Illinois Made program

CHICAGO - The Illinois Office of Tourism on Monday, Nov. 8, announced 28 new small businesses, or “Makers,” have been recognized as part of the Illinois Made program. 

Two of the businesses are in Union County:

Buffalo Bluffs Hemp Farm, which is located at 1565 Bethel Church Rd. near Cobden.

Buffalo Bluffs Hemp Farm offers hemp and hemp-derived products, from seed to finished goods.

Shawnee Hills Lavender, which is located at 489 Brown Section Rd. near Cobden and has a retail booth at the Annabelle Market along South Main Street in downtown Anna.

Shawnee Hills Lavender offers a variety of products created with locally grown varieties of lavender.

The Illinois Office of Tourism said in a news release that the Illinois Made program “recognizes each business as a hidden gem for locals and visitors to discover, offering unique products and experiences all around the state. 

“From vegan dessert makers, alpaca and hemp farmers, and a Chicago candlemaker with a mission to provide young moms with critical job training skills - each of the small businesses featured help make Illinois a one-of-a-kind destination for visitors.”

The Illinois Made program, launched in 2016, inspires residents and visitors to discover the people,

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products and authentic experiences created by one-of-a-kind small businesses found in every region of the state. 

The newest class of Makers is being announced just in time to highlight for consumers even more options to buy local products during this year’s holiday shopping season.

“Illinois is home to a diverse, vibrant small business community which attracts visitors from across the country and around the world. Through our Illinois Made program we celebrate the unique contributions of small businesses across our communities and provide people yet another reason to explore all aspects of Illinois,” said Gov. JB Pritzker. 

“I want to congratulate the 28 new Illinois Makers on this distinguished honor, and encourage our residents and visitors alike to plan a visit to discover the products and experiences unique to Illinois.”

The Illinois Made program now features over 200 Makers from all corners of Illinois and continues to drive foot traffic into local small businesses around the state.

“Small businesses are the backbone of Illinois’ economy and offer food, products and experiences that make a visit to all regions of Illinois special,” said Sylvia I. Garcia, acting director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, DCEO, which includes the Illinois Office of Tourism. 

“We are excited to expand the Illinois Made program to include 28 additional small businesses that have unique made in Illinois products and highlight why folks should visit communities across our great state.”

“This new Illinois Made class is a diverse representation of the unforgettable experiences visitors can find across our state, from the big city of Chicago and surrounding suburbs, all the way to rolling hills of Southern Illinois,” said Karla Flannery, deputy director of the Illinois Office of Tourism. 

“We look forward to finding new and exciting ways to promote this group of small businesses, their owners and communities to both domestic and international visitors.”

The 2021 Illinois Makers reflect a wide range of business types, from restaurants, breweries and wineries, to retail, farms and orchard businesses, which coincide with the latest trends in tourism, including artisan products and those offering outdoor experiences for visitors. 

This year, more than half (18) of the businesses represented are owned by women or people of color. 

The Illinois Office of Tourism promotes Illinois Made makers through inclusion in both its new road trip itineraries and Enjoy Illinois travel magazine, events, seasonal campaigns and the annual Illinois Made Holiday Gift Guide that encourages consumers to support small businesses throughout the holiday shopping season. 

The 2021 Illinois Made Holiday Gift Guide will be announced later in November.

The Illinois Made program builds on the state’s efforts to highlight small businesses as a visitor attraction in and of themselves, to celebrate its diverse communities, and to boost tourism activity to support local economies statewide. 


The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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