There is ample evidence that humans are overrunning the planet’s
resources and causing ecological destruction to our natural environment.
The good news is, we can slow this process considerably by simply
reconsidering the way we consume and dispose of food. Convincing people
to change their habits is an uphill battle, say Luke and Yvonne
Rosenbohm, but it’s one they’ve taken on to ensure a more sustainable
future for the next generation.
“We want to fix this problem for our kids,” Yvonne says, “before the
government mandates it.” As our landfills begin to run out of space,
that is a very real possibility.
About 20 percent of what goes into landfills is food waste, according
to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—and composting is one of
the best ways to reduce this waste. Enter Better Earth Logistics, which
provides a conduit to local businesses and residents by collecting and
hauling their food waste to be composted.
The business was born in 2015 to provide an extra service for Luke’s
parents’ company, Better Earth Compost. “My dad was getting a lot of
calls from people wanting their food waste picked up, and he didn’t have
that service,” Luke explains. So he and Yvonne purchased a truck, and
soon he was making pickups at local businesses, while she handled
marketing and built their web presence. It’s proven to be a winning
combination—for the Rosenbohms, for local businesses and for the planet.
A Mission Beyond Transport In early 2018, Better Earth Logistics got a boost from the Tazewell County Green Initiatives program and Peoria County Sustainability team, who wanted to help them expand their services to more people. The primary obstacle was the cost of containers, so both counties purchased roughly 100 containers for use by local businesses. And as Better Earth’s business has picked up, it’s clear the company is much more than a transport service. Read the rest of the article here.
Established as a neighborhood bar and restaurant on Farmington Road
six years ago, Kenny’s Westside Pub has always hosted live music. But
after relocating to downtown Peoria in 2016, a noticeable shift
occurred. “We became a live music venue—not just a bar that has live
music,” says owner Sean Kenny. “We’re hosting ticketed events with
national acts, so people are traveling from the entire Midwest to see
And Kenny has Jason Miles, his good friend and director of
entertainment, to thank for this. Miles has been promoting music for 20
years—working with Jay Goldberg Events & Entertainment for the past
five, and booking talent for some of the area’s biggest music festivals,
including Summer Camp and the Peoria Blues & Heritage Music
Festival. “Kenny’s was built for music lovers and that’s the clientele
we want to cater to,” Miles affirms.
Bringing Music To the Masses
In the early 2000s, the two worked together at Eamon Patrick’s Public
House—which happened to be located where Kenny’s Westside is now. “I was
a bartender and it was the best job I ever had,” Kenny recalls. “I
loved the music and the whole vibe, and Jason was a young independent
promoter… well, younger,” he smiles with a wink and a nod to Miles,
who’s sitting beside him. The experience helped inspire the opening of
his own establishment on Farmington Road, which they used to call a
“Jason and I have the same brain when it comes to music,” he continues. “When you come to Kenny’s, you’re going to see a lot of bluegrass, funk, jazz, Americana—all original music. You’ll never see a cover band here.” Having staked out their niche, they generally steer away from popular genres like classic rock, country and EDM. “That stuff isn’t in our wheelhouse, and it’s not what our customers expect.” Read the rest of the article here.
For as long as she can remember, Brenda Lovingood has been making
barbecue sauce for family and friends, slathering it on chicken wings,
pork and meatballs. She had toyed with the idea of selling her homemade
sauce for more than a decade, but life always got in the way. Both she
and her husband Tony had full-time jobs and were busy raising their 11
children, while running a catering business on the side. “It always got
put on the backburner,” Brenda recalls, “until one day I just decided I
was going to do it.”
That day finally arrived in 2016 after she attended the Women in
Business Success Conference organized by Doris Symonds, who had been
encouraging her to bottle her sauce for years. “It was like a one-stop
shop,” Brenda says of the conference, where she gathered information
about marketing and finances. “It was also the kick I needed to get
going.” In addition, she and Tony met with Kevin Evans, director of the
Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Bradley University, who
helped them strategize their objectives and establish the business.
Converting the Masses Lovingood Foods was formed in July of 2016, and within two years, the couple was selling cases of their barbecue sauce to local and regional stores including Hy-Vee, Alwan & Sons Meat Company, Save-A-Lot, and Haddad’s. “We literally walked into stores with a sample tray so they could taste the product,” Brenda says, and their hands-on tactic worked. They now drive to King’s Food Products in Belleville, Illinois—where the sauce is produced in large quantities—every three weeks to pick up cases for delivery. Read the rest of the article here.