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Greater Peoria EDC’s Setti anticipates residual economic benefits from Maui Jim expansion

Greater Peoria Economic Development Council CEO Chris Setti stands in front of the mural in the WCBU Newsroom.
Joe Deacon
Greater Peoria Economic Development Council CEO Chris Setti believes Maui Jim's planned $80 million expansion can have a long-term impact on business growth across the area.

With eyewear manufacturer Maui Jim expanding its operations in Peoria, area leaders are optimistic the move can spark additional economic growth.

“It's always a good sign when we're seeing investment in our community, and Maui Jim has been a fixture in this community for a long time,” said Greater Peoria Economic Development Council CEO Chris Setti. “The fact of just construction alone is always an economic boon, to our really great construction industry here in the region.”

Maui Jim’s parent company, the Paris-based Kering Group, recently entered a redevelopment agreement with the city of Peoria to build an $80 million, 150,000 square-foot facility in the Medina Plains/Allen Road Business Park. The warehouse and distribution center will be located on an 81-acre site across from the current Maui Jim location on Allen Road.

“It helps solidify, obviously, their position in the region, that they're here to stay. I think that, maybe just as important, is that the statement it makes. From an economic development perspective, we are always trying to tell the story of Greater Peoria, and companies invest in places that are being invested in,” Setti said.

“When companies invest in a region, that word gets out. It both provides some confidence to the companies that are already here, that there are good things happening. And it's also evidence to companies that aren't here, that people are making positive business decisions about Greater Peoria.”

Setti said it’s especially encouraging to see development of the Medina Plains business park beginning to move forward.

“I think it's some of the most attractive light-industrial land that we have, and I think one of the struggles that we've had as an Economic Development Council is matching up opportunity with assets,” Setti said.

“We're starting to hear, especially from many European companies, the attractiveness of the U.S. market for a number of reasons. We see the opportunity all the time that come to us through the State of Illinois and site selectors, but we have to be able to match up that opportunity with something to share with them.

“So having the work that the City of Peoria has done in that Allen Road business park and creating a TIF, having kind of this first potential victory sets that up for some for additional investment by other companies.”

Contact Joe at jdeacon@ilstu.edu.