Ground broken for new Toulon grocery

In front of a good crowd of approximately 60 well-wishers, excavating subcontractor Todd Smith, of Toulon, dug the first symbolic shovel-full of dirt for the new Super Valu Toulon this past Thursday at the back of the site on Main Street in Toulon, signaling the rebirth of a grocery store for the community.
General contractor Ron “Skip” Turnbull of Toulon declared the $400,000-plus building will be built almost wholly by local subcontractors.

Parking restrictions now on Franklin in Toulon hope to reduce bottlenecks


On Monday night the Toulon City Council approved paying off carry over days given to employees from the former administration. The policy only applied to two employees, Barb Cantwell and Mike Richardson, who were given 20 days vacation to use at their discretion, instead of allowing days to build each year, by former Mayor Rick Collins.
Richardson had all 20 days unused and Cantwell had approximately 18 days remaining. Both will be paid for those days, like other employees had previously been when they either retired or left.

Grant approval for Bradford pre-filtration project slows


The Village of Bradford’s pre-filtration water project has been slowed with the grant process, although other preliminary steps will be accomplished during the interim.
The village board learned from grant writer Jim Cummings that the CDAP grant is waiting for final approval by the state.  This occurred due to the change of Illinois’ elected government administration and a newly appointed grant director.

Groundbreaking for Toulon grocery store April 16


Stark County Ventures has announced that the groundbreaking ceremony for rebuilding a grocery store in Toulon will take place on Thursday, April 16 at 5 p.m.  The ceremony will be held on Main Street at the site of the former store.  This marks a greatly anticipated event.  The public is invited to come celebrate and support all the hard work that has gone into the process of bringing a grocery store back to Toulon.  The Super Valu Toulon grocery store was destroyed by fire in June of 2014.

Free Business Workshop on April 28 in Kewanee

Are you an entrepreneur who is looking to turn your business dream into reality?  The Henry-Stark Counties Fast Pitch contest gives you the chance to compete for cash and prizes that will help you launch your idea for a new retail, manufacturing, technology or other business; ideas to improve an existing business; or ideas for a new service business in Henry or Stark Counties in Illinois! You’ll have plenty of time to get your pitch together for the contest taking place on September 22 in Kewanee. 
The kick-off event is a Business Workshop on Tuesday, April 28, at 6 p.m. at the Community Education Center, 404 E Third Street in Kewanee, IL.  At the meeting you will get details on the contest and information and resources to help you develop your business plan and your Fast Pitch.  You’ll get to meet with coaches and network with other entrepreneurs.  You will receive a thumb drive that has a user-friendly fillable business plan that will guide you step by step on answering the important questions you need to ensure you have all of your plans in order to develop a successful business. 
The workshop will include a session on marketing for small business with leaders from local media to guide you on the best approaches and practices. Whether you are in the “got an idea” stage or getting close to launch – you will benefit from the resources and connections you’ll find at this workshop.  Register for the Business Workshop online at: or call your local Extension office at 309-853-1533.
The Fast Pitch Contest on September 22 is open to individuals who live or own a business in Henry or Stark Counties.  They are invited to share their idea for:
•  A new retail, manufacturing, technology, agriculture or other business
•   Ideas to improve an existing business that has been in operation for three or more years
• Ideas for a new service business (i.e. accounting, attorney, massage therapy, dentist)
Eligible contestants will have 10 minutes to “pitch” their ideas for their plans that would be developed in Henry or Stark Counties in Illinois. The presentation is made to judges during individual, confidential sessions for a chance to win cash, prizes, advertising and professional small business consultation that will help advance their ideas into reality. 
Prizes will be awarded to one winner and one runner up in each of the three categories.  The winner in each category will receive $2,500 cash, ($1,250 at Awards event/$1,250 after consultation services are completed) 10 hours of professional business consultation services, $25,000 in-kind radio advertising package from Regional Media and $5,028 in advertising from Gatehouse Media for newspaper, social media and website advertising in Henry County.  The runner-up receives $500 cash and a tuition waiver to attend Black Hawk College’s Small Business Development Center ($400 value).
Now in its 4th year, the Henry-Stark Fast Pitch Contest is being organized by Black Hawk College, City of Colona, City of Kewanee, Kewanee Economic Development Corporation, City of Galva, Galva Economic Development Partnership, Henry County Economic Development Partnership, Illinois Small Business Development Center, and Stark County Economic Development, University of Illinois Extension.  It has been helpful in launching over 10 new business start-ups in the community and working with over 40 other entrepreneurs to help guide them in business development process, from patents to leases, business loans to marketing, more than $30,000 in cash and over $200,000 in in-kind prizes have been distributed to entrepreneurs since the first Fast Pitch in 2012. 
To register for the Business Workshop on April 28 or more information on the Henry and Stark Counties Fast Pitch, visit the website: or check out the Henry & Stark Counties Fast Pitch Facebook page.  Or call your local Economic Development Partner, Stark County Economic Development Director Denny Rewerts, (309) 286-6200.