tree hopper toys 4

32567650 lTree Hopper Toys was started five years ago as a hobby for owner Eric Siegel in his one car-garage. From their humble beginnings, they were eventually able to move out of the garage and into a warehouse where they now employ seven people who design, print and assemble all the toys here in Illinois.

Last week I like Illinois had the chance to speak to Eric Siegel about the successes of the company.

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Illinoisans seem to be growing ever more mindful of safety as they hit the road this summer.

A recent study by the Illinois Department of Transportation said the rate of front-seat seatbelt usage this year is at 95.2 percent, a 1.1 percent increase from last year’s previous high of 94.1 percent. Illinois has required drivers and front-seat passengers to fasten their safety belts since 1985.

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Hoeween Leather

Horween Leather has been producing quality leather goods for over 100 years. The Chicago-based company has been family-owned since its inception and is one of the oldest continuously running tanneries in the United States. 

The company produces leather using mostly cowhide and horsehide. This top-of-the-line leather is then used to make a number of products, such as wallets, purses, shoes, brief cases and more.

They also provide leathers to Rawlings, Wilson Sporting Goods, Spalding and other sporting goods companies to produce baseballs, footballs, basketballs and baseball gloves. In fact, official football leather was developed by Arnold Horween, Sr., who played professional football and coached football at Harvard. The company has been producing this leather for over 60 years.

Horween is known for its quality leather goods, and the product has continued to be handmade, just as it was generations ago.

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Simply Amish

Simply Amish Furniture, based in Arcola, IL, has been making quality, top-of-the-line wood furniture since 1979. In a time when people in the city had to travel to the country to get good quality furniture, a group of family members joined forces with a vision to bring Amish furniture to the city.

The family-owned business started when co-founder, Kevin Kauffman, learned the trade from his father. Soon after, Kauffman expanded his vision when he joined forces with his brothers and uncles. Now Simply Amish Furniture has a nationwide distribution system.

The company has multiple collections of handmade custom furniture, each item built to order and distinctively made for the customer. Their custom furniture ranges from beds to desks, and from tables to storage pieces – all built in the Amish tradition.

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Illinois ranked one of the best places to earn a living in the United States

If you want to get the most out of your paycheck (and avoid any mishaps on the job), Illinois is one of the best states in the country to do so, according to a new study by

Illinois ranked No. 5 in the nation based on factors like average wage, state tax rates, cost of living and occurrences of workplace injuries and fatalities. MoneyRates noted Illinois has relatively high wages while enjoying a relatively low tax rate and cost of living.

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