Illinois Made Program Welcomes Diverse Class of Small Businesses, Showcasing the Heart of McHenry County's Craftsmanship
Governor JB Pritzker recently announced the induction of 48 small businesses into the prestigious Illinois Made program, marking the largest class since its inception in 2016. This initiative, led by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), aims to spotlight the hidden gems, unique experiences, and exceptional products that define Illinois as an unparalleled destination.
Among the diverse array of businesses recognized in this record-breaking class are three remarkable enterprises from McHenry County: Casting Whimsy, Hempstock Pharms, and The Irie Cup. These businesses exemplify the innovation, craftsmanship, and entrepreneurial spirit that contribute to the economic growth and cultural richness of the state.
Located in Woodstock, Casting Whimsy is a family-owned tea haven founded by two enthusiasts. Crafting small batches of tea with a whimsical twist, they use the finest ethically sourced ingredients from around the world. Blending and packaging take place locally, ensuring a sustainable and delightful experience. As part of the Illinois Made program's record-breaking 2023 class, Casting Whimsy brings a touch of enchantment to McHenry County's thriving small business scene.
Discover the natural essence of hemp at Hempstock Pharms Limited, Woodstock's pioneering organic hemp flower farm just outside the City Center. Grown outdoors, barn-dried, and hand-processed, their high CBD hemp flower, with less than 0.3% THC, retains all-natural cannabinoids and terpenes. Lab-tested for quality, Hempstock Pharms invites you to "Unlock the Healing Power of Hemp" through their unique and flavorful products. As part of the Illinois Made program, they epitomize the program's commitment to organic, sustainable, and high-quality products.
Nestled in Downtown Huntley, The Irie Cup isn't just a tea shop; it's a family affair. Run by husband-and-wife team Joseph and LaShanda Lewis, with their three children often pitching in, the atmosphere is warm and inviting, greeting patrons with smiles and the comforting scent of loose-leaf tea.
Joe's Chicago upbringing, surrounded by his father's garden oasis, and LaShanda's Jamaican heritage, steeped in diverse tea traditions, converge in every cup served at The Irie Cup. This family-inspired business, part of the prestigious Illinois Made program, is a testament to the couple's commitment to sharing their cultural heritage through meticulously crafted loose-leaf teas.
This year's Illinois Made class represents the state's diverse and thriving small business landscape, ranging from U-pick farms to craft breweries. The inclusion of Casting Whimsy, Hempstock Pharms, and The Irie Cup showcases McHenry County's role as a hub for innovative, locally-driven enterprises.
Governor JB Pritzker expressed his pride in the diverse array of businesses selected for the program, emphasizing that they play a crucial role in Illinois' economic landscape. He highlighted the state's commitment to fostering an environment where businesses, big and small, can thrive.
The Illinois Made program encourages residents and visitors to explore the unique offerings of small businesses throughout the state. With a total of 276 Makers to date, the program continues to champion local artisans, creators, and entrepreneurs who contribute to the cultural and economic vitality of Illinois.
As the largest class of Illinois Made businesses is welcomed, the spotlight on Casting Whimsy, Hempstock Pharms, and The Irie Cup reflects the vibrancy of McHenry County's small business scene. These businesses not only enrich the local community but also contribute to the diverse tapestry that makes Illinois a premier destination for residents and visitors alike.