Thanksgiving has long been my favorite holiday. Sure, when I was a kid nothing quite beat the excitement of Christmas morning. But as I’ve grown older, I have realized that the time spent with family and friends without all the commercial hoopla is a vastly superior occasion.

The original plan was to drop our monthly newsletter in your inboxes right before Thanksgiving. Things don’t always work out as planned, though, which makes an article about thankfulness seem a bit late. But in reality, reflecting on our blessings should not be limited to just one day.
We usually take this time to be thankful for what we have as individuals and families. But what can we be thankful for as a region? First, we can be thankful for a growing economy. Let’s face it, the past few years have been tough for Greater Peoria and all of Illinois. But recently we are seeing strong hiring in our largest employment sectors: manufacturing, healthcare and agriculture.
Thanks again to the City of Peoria and CEO Council for helping to organize the GP Opportunity Zone Forum this week, and special thanks to Howard & Howard and CliftonLarsonAllen for volunteering their time and expertise! We had a great turnout and excellent discussion.

Visit  to view the region’s Opportunity Zone map, submit OZone projects, inquire as an investor, and find additional resources.
CareerSpark 2018 is in the books! Check out the full wrap-up video and get excited for next year's event.

Thanks again to our volunteers!
On October 31, Ron Hills passed away—a dear colleague and dedicated economic development professional. Ron’s energy and his devotion to the revitalization efforts in Havana were truly inspiring. Working with Ron and the rest of the team at Havana City Hall has taught us a great deal about how to build better partnerships with the rural communities in Greater Peoria. We can't thank Ron enough for the opportunity to work together.

Ron's service to Havana and this region will not be forgotten. Learn more about Ron's work in a past Spotlight post and in this PJStar story celebrating his life . Please keep Ron's family, friends, and Havana in your thoughts and prayers.
We are partnering with the Federal Reserve to conduct a Small Business Credit Survey for both pre-start and existing businesses, and we’d like you to participate.

Please share this with anyone that might be interested. It takes only a few minutes to complete.
The third quarter 2018 Composite Index of Business and Economic Indicators for the Peoria-Pekin Metropolitan Statistical Area shows continued positive performance.

It was great to see so many friendly faces at the 2018  Illinois Farm Bureau  Live Local conference! There is so much great work happening throughout Illinois to build a strong regional food economy. 

With dozens of workshops and some great panel discussions, there was plenty to take in at the event. Our own Tory Dahlhoff spoke on one panel to discuss his experience this year as co-chair of the  Regional Fresh Food Council  and also moderated a panel titled “Adopting Agroforestry in Central Illinois” to discuss an emerging strategy for farm diversification and sustainability. You can listen to the panel discussion here.
Holiday shopping season is in full swing already! So, there is no better time to look at the impact you can have when you shop local .

Try out our interactive calculator to see how your spending habits can effect the community when buy locally instead of online.
More Good News in Greater Peoria