MADE IN ILLINOISThis month Made in Illinois has a tasty feature. In honor of National Popcorn Day, we visited Pittman’s Popcorn Shop (1500 Wabash Ave. Springfield, IL) and spoke to Michael Pittman, the owner of the independent, family-owned gourmet popcorn store.

First opened in 2016, Pittman’s Popcorn Shop touts more than 500 popcorn flavors with 70 flavors available at any given time. From traditional flavors like caramel and cheddar to their own creations like strawberry cheesecake and peanut butter chocolate, Pittman’s Popcorn Shop has something to offer to everyone.

Read the story below of how Pittman started and has grown his business.

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Kraft Heinz Headquarters Chicago

Many of us grew up eating Velveeta, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Miracle Whip and of course, mac and cheese from a little blue box. But did you know that these products have Illinois roots? The Kraft Heinz Company got its start on Water Street in Chicago.

The history of Kraft goes back to 1903, when J.L. Kraft begin purchasing cheese at Chicago’s wholesale market and reselling it to local merchants. A short time later, four of his brothers joined him in this budding business. In 1909, the family-ran business incorporated to J.L. Kraft & Bros. Co.

The group obtained a patent for their revolutionary cheese processing method in 1919. The patent came in handy during World War I, when J.L. Kraft & Bros. Co. supplied tinned cheese to the U.S. Government to send to armed forces overseas.

Kraft utilized innovative advertising to promote products and was a pioneer in sponsoring television and radio shows.  Kraft Music Hall on radio and KraftTelevision Theatre helped prove the effectiveness of advertising on the then-new media.

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architecture wallpaper preview

The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust has announced new plans for a visitor and education center to be built at the architect’s former home and studio. The home, located in Oak Park, has been open as a public museum since 1974.

An estimated 90,000 visitors come to see the property each year. When the property next to the home went up for sale, the trust saw an opportunity and decided to make the purchase.

“It has for a long time been apparent that having a visitor’s center would be an important next step,” said Celeste Adams, the president and chief executive of the trust.

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Truck imageRivian, a new electric truck manufacturer and competitor to Tesla, is gaining support from investors at both Ford and Amazon opening a factory in Normal. Rivian brought in almost $3 billion from investors in 2019 and looks to use that money in Illinois to start rolling off the line by the end of 2020.

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Chicago Skyline for ArticleAccording to a new set of federal employment data. The city of Chicago and the metropolitan area is now growing at a faster rate than the nation.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly survey of households and employers found Illinois added nearly 100,000 jobs from June 2018 to June 2019. Chicago’s job-growth gain percentage was 1.8, with the national average coming in at a 1.5 percent increase. The growth in the past year tops other comparable Midwestern cities such as Indianapolis and Cleveland. Cites such as New York and Los Angeles reported growth at 1.2 and 1.4 percent.

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