Late in the 19th Centrury, a group of civic-minded businessmen organized what would one day become the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce. This initial organization was formed for the purpose of “advancing the business interest and promoting the commercial growth of the City of Pekin.” For over 125 years the Chamber of Commerce has continued to focus on this mission.

This year marks the 24th Annual Business and Community Recognition Luncheon: an opportunity to recognize how Pekin area businesses have positively impacted and contributed to our community.  

Chamber businesses and organizations with significant achievements in the past year will be recognized. Categories of accomplishments include expansion or remodeling, “green” projects or improvements, new business or building, additional employees, major retraining effort, new technology or major equipment investment, other business improvements and community involvement. 


2021 Business and Community Recognition Awards


Community Champion- Terri Gambetti

Terri Gambetti, local business owner of Leo’s Art Studio in downtown Pekin, has been selected for the 2021 Community Champion Award. Terri diligently works to improve the City of Pekin by continually contributing to the revitalization of Downtown Pekin. This even includes a recent mural installation. Terri also has served as a volunteer for the Marigold Festival, even spearheading the Marigold Festival Parade. 

Outstanding Team Member- Zackary Ladson

Zackary Ladson joined the Heartland team in 2019 and is the Lead Site Provider for the Heartland Tazwood site in Pekin. He specializes in family practice with subspecialties in psychiatry and addiction medicine. His dedication is to ensure that his patients feel respected and valued during their visits while meeting their medical needs.


Remodel/Expansion + Milestone Anniversary
Bond Eye Associates

Bond Eye Associates is celebrating 40 years of helping central Illinois families enjoy better vision! Their surgeons and optometrists have helped thousands of people enjoy better vision over the years. With eye exams, glasses and contacts, cataracts, laser vision correction to vision saving surgery, Bond Eye Associates has been here for Central Illinois for forty years and counting. 

Over the last 18 months, both their Pekin and Peoria locations underwent updating throughout their buildings to create a modern and inviting space for patients.

Remodel/ Expansion
Cadence Academy Preschool

Cadence Academy Preschool is a private preschool facility located in the north end of Pekin. Cadence Academy believes in having a happy, safe environment that makes learning fun and builds confidence, instilling a love of learning in each child. 

Cadence Academy rebranded in June 2021 and has new signage on the facility’s bus and a new sign on the front lawn. There is new paint in the foyer, hallways and office. There is new flooring in the foyer, hallways and office. All of the rooms have been redecorated to a “home like environment”.

New Tech/ Major Equipment Investment
Dr. Nicole Johnson; Pekin Animal Hospital

Dr. Nikki Johnson became the owner of Pekin Animal Hospital in 2020. Since then, she has been working hard to implement new technology in the practice. Pekin Animal Hospital moved to a new operating software in April, which allows the hospital to have electronic records including diagnostic testing and imaging. 

Pekin Animal Hospital has added another full-time veterinarian, acquired a new laser therapy unit, and updated many smaller pieces of equipment.

Community Involvement
First Pekin Savings Bank

In addition to their work with community members and businesses offering Federal Home Loan Grants, and PPP loans, the employees of First Pekin Savings Bank are extremely involved and supportive of local community organizations and charities. This team is service minded in all aspects of their community involvement, a great asset to our community. Congratulations Earl Riley and the First Pekin Savings Bank.

Milestone Anniversary
Good Shepherd Lutheran School

In 1981, three Pekin area Lutheran congregations opened the doors of Good Shepherd Lutheran School of Pekin. The three churches are St. John’s of Pekin, Trinity Lutheran of Pekin and St John’s of Green Valley. Thank you, Good Shepherd Lutheran School of Pekin, for providing a Christian Education to so many children for the last 40 years.

New Business
Hampton Inn & Suites

Hampton Inn & Suites opened their beautiful new building on July 23, 2020, recently celebrating their first anniversary. This newly constructed location offers a modern facility and lovely accommodations to our out-of-town guests.  The Hampton Inn & Suites is very proud to be a part of Pekin. Congratulations Navin and Cindy and the team at Hampton Inn & Suites.

Community Involvement
NRG Powerton Generating Station

NRG Powerton has been a fantastic contributor to the community and especially to the United Way of Pekin. Their team is always going above and beyond to help out in any way possible. Their contributions come both financially, as well as with people in the organization giving their time and efforts.  

Thank you NRG Powerton Generating Station for your numerous contributions to the Pekin area community. 

Remodel/ Expansion
OSF HealthCare Pekin

OSF HealthCare completed a complex remodel of existing office space and brought an OSF OnCall Urgent Care to the Pekin Community. OSF OnCall Urgent Care is designed for patients who want high-quality care quickly so that they can get on with their busy lives. It’s something new and fresh that allows each individual to access care in a way that fits them in their health care journey.


Milestone Anniversary
Pekin Insurance

In 1921, a group of Central Illinois farmers harvested a big idea to offer affordable, reliable auto coverage. Times change, but their mission hasn’t. Pekin Insurance goes Beyond the expected® to offer financial protection for cars, homes, lives, and businesses in 24 states. They serve policyholders, agents, and communities through the best and the worst. Whether you’re in a tiny town or a big city, they are here for you with a growing agency force, which now totals over 1,100 independent agencies and over 11,000 insurance producers.

Congratulations on 100 years, Pekin Insurance!

Remodel/ Expansion; Additional Employees, Community Involvement
Preston-Hanley Funeral Homes & Crematory

Preston-Hanley Funeral Home and Crematory recently remodeled and opened “The Preston Room” within their 4th Street location to host catered meals after funerals and memorial services, and to accommodate celebration of life events and gatherings. They added a full-time administrative assistant to their staff this past year.  Team members make it an ongoing effort to support the chamber, city commissions, service clubs, churches and not-for-profit organizations through active volunteering and financial support for the betterment of the community. Congratulations Buster Hanley and the team at Preston-Hanley Funeral Homes and Crematory.

New Tech/ Major Equipment Investment
Reditus Laboratories, LLC

Reditus Laboratories, LLC has made significant investments in a new state-of-the-art facility and laboratory testing equipment. In 2021, under the leadership of Dr. Aaron Rossi, Reditus has expanded its laboratory to a newly remodeled 23,000 sq. ft. facility located in the Riverway Business Industrial Park. With this new state-of-the-art facility, Reditus is quickly becoming the leading life science reference laboratory through excellence in laboratory diagnostics, research and innovation. Congratulations Dr. Aaron Rossi and your Reditus team.

New Building/ Business + Remodeling/ Expansion
RE/MAX Traders Unlimited

RE/MAX Traders Unlimited has opened a new branch to serve the Pekin community. RE/MAX Traders Unlimited is one of the largest and most respected real estate companies in Central Illinois, consistently outperforming all other brokerages in number of transactions per agent. Their agents live, work and serve in our local communities and have the experience to get the job done in today’s market. They are eager to help clients navigate through their transaction with “Above The Crowd Service” in all facets of real estate. Visit them at their new location on Broadway.

Community Champion
The Matthews Family

They can build or fix just about anything; their hearts are pure gold and they truly love Pekin.  The Matthews family – Ron and Melanie, son Mark and his wife Vanessa, son Michael and wife Jordan, Ron’s sister – Terri Gambetti and his niece Baylee Gambetti are  community heroes.  The number of organizations that this family serves is numerous, and they truly deserve an award for all they do for the City of Pekin. They are active and great cheerleaders for the city. Congratulations and thank you for all you do.

Remodel/ Expansion
UnityPoint Health - Pekin

Pekin Hospital continues to show its commitment to improving the city by implementing a more than $1.8 million facelift thanks to the Pekin Memorial Foundation. In August, the board approved funding for exterior repairs and improvements. This is the first phase of a multi-phased commitment UnityPoint Health is making in the City of Pekin. The initial phase includes necessary maintenance to some of the building’s stone façade. This work will continue into 2022. Crews will also be upgrading the appearance of the entire North Tower with new staining.  In addition, the Pekin Hospital Foundation has purchased a new DEXA Dual energy x-ray body density unit, that is utilized to diagnose bone disease such as Osteoporosis.  

They also added a new MRI safe patient monitoring system to allow them to perform sedation and Pacemaker MRI exams in Pekin, keeping care in our community. 

Milestone Anniversary
Unland Insurance and Benefits

James Unland & Co. is celebrating their 80th year serving and protecting customers in Central Illinois and beyond.   J. Logan Unland started the agency in 1941 in Pekin and hired his son, Jim Unland, shortly after his college and military service.  Unland has grown from three employees at a single location to nearly 40 employees with offices in Pekin, East Peoria, Macomb, Metamora and Morton.   A focus on “Serving the Customer First” has remained throughout its history, while consistently setting new records for growth year after year and recently exceeding written premiums of over $50 Million.  

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