A Publication of WTVP

We still make things in the U.S.? Why yes, yes we do. Despite an overall decline in domestic manufacturing over the last three decades, we haven’t lost everything to China. All kinds of products are still being made and manufactured here in the Peoria area.

When we consider local manufacturing, most of us tend to think of construction and earthmoving equipment, the agriculture and mining industries, and supplier parts for Caterpillar and John Deere. And certainly, that has been the backbone of the regional manufacturing sector for decades, and continues to be a critical component. But local manufacturing encompasses a much wider net than that. Here are 10 local firms making products—not always the typical ones you associate with manufacturing—right here in central Illinois.

Aleece’s Pita Chips, LLC
Alice T. Anthony owner/CEO
308 Illini Dr.
East Peoria, IL 61611
(309) 699-8859

For many years, Alice (pronounced Aleece) Anthony worked in the catering business in the Peoria area; she owned and operated Anthony’s Catering, which then became Anthony’s Home of Aleece’s Pita Chips. Some of the snacks she often prepared included pita chips, cheese spreads, hummus and other dips. When clients raved about her snacks and asked where they could purchase more, Anthony simply bagged up what she had with her and told them to enjoy.

Her friends and family, however, saw the potential profits that could be made by selling her chips, dips and spreads to stores, and pushed her to pursue that venture. In January of 2003, Anthony began researching how to mass-produce her snacks, and by June of the following year, Aleece’s Pita Chips were on store shelves in Peoria, East Peoria, Washington and Morton. Since then, the number of retail stores that sell Aleece’s products has steadily increased, and now includes stores throughout the state of Illinois—from the suburbs of Chicago down to Springfield. They are also available for purchase online.

Aleece’s Pita Chips are all-natural, made from pita bread with whole wheat flour and whole white unbleached unbromated flour. They contain no saturated fat, trans fat or cholesterol, as the bread is not soaked in oil. Chips are baked and packed into 6oz. bags and 15oz. tubs.

In the five and a half years since Aleece’s Pita Chips hit store shelves, the company has brought new equipment into its East Peoria production facility to increase efficiency. The addition of an incline infeed conveying system, scale and tortilla cutter have significantly reduced the amount of manual labor required to make and package the product, increasing fluidity and efficiency in the company’s production process.

Dooley Bros.
Rick Dooley owner/CEO
1201 S.W. Washington St.
Peoria, IL 61602
(309) 674-5101
[email protected]

Dooley Bros., a machine shop and distributor of geo-textiles, erosion control products and culverts, has been in business for 120 years. The company was established by J.B. Dooley in 1890 and is still family-owned and managed. They have been producing custom-made threaded rods and nuts for other companies for about 60 years, specifically V and Acme thread, LH and RH up to 2 ½” round.

Four generations have devoted themselves to making Dooley Bros. a vital part of this country’s mining and manufacturing industries, and the company holds numerous patents on their face drilling and roof drilling machines. After finding Dooley Bros.’ face drills to be such an improvement over what was available in the industry, a customer donated one to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, where it still sits on display as part of the coal mine exhibit.

In addition to drilling machines, Dooley Bros. was also known for its gear boxes, the production of which stopped about seven or eight years ago, the result of a slowdown in the underground coal mining industry.
These days, Dooley Bros. focuses on its threaded rods and nuts, producing quality parts on time and at reasonable prices, whether orders are for one or 1,000 pieces. While the company has the capacity for turning, boring and milling, it specializes in threading most steels and machining nuts—round, square and hex—in its CNC lathe. It cuts both standard and non-standard threads, as needed for each order. The employees at Dooley Bros. pride themselves on providing good customer service and work with each client to produce exactly what they need. 

George J. Rothan Co.
George J. Rothan owner/CEO
1200 W. Johnson St.
Peoria, IL 61605
(309) 674-5189

For 137 years, George J. Rothan Co. has been designing and manufacturing commercial and residential casework. Known both regionally and nationally for its work, the company features the highest-quality craftsmanship, union-made in the United States by an experienced staff. George J. Rothan Co. offers a wide variety of products and services, including custom cabinets, countertops, architectural paneling, wood mouldings and trim, door and hardware accessories, solid surfaces, stone, custom staining and finishing, CNC machining, installation, and design services.


Kress Corporation
Rita Kress owner/CEO
227 Illinois St.
Brimfield, IL 61517
(309) 446-3395

Kress Corporation, a family-owned manufacturing/engineering company, has been in business for 45 years. Kress produces slag pot, slab, pallet and straddle carriers, as well as coal haulers—rubber-tired vehicles made for transporting and dumping slag pots, steel slabs, molten steel and coal. Kress has produced these vehicles for as long as they’ve been in business. The company sells its products—for which it has multiple patents—worldwide, directly to steel mills or smelters, as well as to subcontractors.

The Kress Slag Pot Carrier is custom-designed to handle a specific slag pot with capacities up to 250 tons. The carrier uses an articulated tractor design, which permits it to turn 90 degrees in either direction for superb maneuverability. The carrier can pick up, transport and dump slag pots full of molten slag. Using positive hydraulic control, the pot is tipped to pour molten slag into pits for cooling and processing. The Kress deskulling system speeds removal of skulls without damaging the pot or carrier.

Kress Corporation was founded by Edward S. Kress in October of 1965. Just two months later, Kress made its first contribution to the mobile equipment industry, when a slag pot carrier for the Edward C. Levy Company was delivered. The carrier picked up, transferred, poured and skulled slag pots from the Great Lakes 300-ton BOF furnaces. It was an immediate success, and within a few months there was an order for 10 more.

The company’s next contribution was a slab carrier—the first of its kind—for the Ford Motor steel plant. It picked up and carried 100 tons of steel slabs and coils.

Kress Corporation built its first coal hauler in 1971—a single-unit, bottom-dump coal hauler. Again the first of its kind, it was built for the Captain Mine of Southwestern Illinois Coal Corporation.

Kress Corporation is the world’s leading manufacturer of slag pot carriers, with hundreds of units in operation throughout the world in the steel, nonferrous and ferroalloy industries. Kress has a complete line of other material handling equipment for the metals and mining industries, including ladle carriers, elevating pallet carriers, slab carriers and coal haulers, just to name a few.

Morton Buildings, Inc.
Jeff Neihouser CEO
252 W. Adams St.
Morton, Illinois 61550
(309) 263-7474
(800) 447-7436

Morton Buildings, Inc. is a fully integrated construction company serving landowners throughout the United States. They build to meet the needs of many niches, including agricultural, equestrian, commercial, industrial, municipal, residential, aeronautical and recreational.

When the company was founded in 1903, it was known as the Interlocking Fence Company, and its main product was mail order fencing and farm material. In 1949, it constructed its first machine storage building, and by 1964, its name had changed to Morton Buildings, Inc.

Morton Buildings offers a wide range of wood-framed, steel-covered, post-frame buildings, and has constructed garages, horse barns, equestrian facilities, homes, commercial buildings, fire stations, churches, mini-storage buildings, farm storage, airplane hangars, veterinarian clinics and kennels. In addition to its main line of buildings, the company offers the Country Craft by Morton product line, an affordable option to meet its customers’ basic storage needs.

In the 1970s, Morton Buildings created the Energy Performer Package, which remains one of the most efficient insulation systems on the market. For horse enthusiasts, Morton offers exclusive anodized finish aluminum horse stalls, which are able to stand up to the rigorous demands of housing horses. The company’s products offer several other features, from the KYNAR 500 paint system to its unique Hi-Rib steel, which adds to the function and beauty of buildings.

Morton Buildings holds several patents for the products used in its buildings, as well as those for products that are still being tested in its research and development department. The company operates more than 100 construction centers and six manufacturing plants across the country, as well as a fabrication plant and corporate office, both located in Morton, Illinois.

Customers can work with Morton Buildings from the planning stages through the completion of their buildings. If architectural services are needed, the company works closely with its affiliate, Allied Design and Engineering, P.C. Company-employed truck drivers deliver and unload materials at customers’ jobsites, while its crews erect the buildings. After the buildings are constructed, Morton stands behind them with one of the strongest, non-prorated warranties in the industry.

Parsec Enterprises, Inc./Zantech, Inc.
Marc Young president/CEO
Diedre Young vice president/CFO
7501 N. Harker Dr.
Peoria, IL 61615
(309) 689-6531

Parsec Enterprises, Inc. is the largest independent watch repair facility in the United States and has been in business for 33 years. Parsec’s main products are Patriot Watches—watches with patriotic images or messages—which are sold online and in a local store. The company also offers a line of Coinwatches—watches with genuine coins as dials—that they assemble.

Parsec’s sister company, Zantech, Inc., which is run by the same owners out of the same location, has been in business for 34 years and produces vacuum systems for watchmakers. The only other source for a similar product is in Switzerland. The company is also a distributor of other solutions for repairing watches. 

Philippi-Hagenbuch, Inc.

LeRoy & Pat Hagenbuch owners
7424 W. Plank Rd.
Peoria, IL 61604
(309) 697-9200

Philippi-Hagenbuch, Inc. is a family-owned, local company that serves as a custom shop for 35- to 400-ton payload capacity off-highway trucks. They design, manufacture and sell custom off-highway truck enhancements for customers around the globe.

For 40 years, Philippi-Hagenbuch has manufactured a variety of products, including Autogate tailgates; HiVol bodies for hauling all kinds of materials, from landfill waste to iron ore; water tanks that hold up to 58,500 gallons; and rear eject bodies. The company also manufactures three distinct types of trailers—Lowboy, with load capacities up to and exceeding 1,500 tons, bottom dump and rear eject—as well as other custom-designed products.

Aided by more than 60 patents, Philippi-Hagenbuch’s individualized product engineering enhances the productivity of off-highway trucks, allowing them to provide long-lasting products that meet customers’ specific needs. Because they produce custom-designed products, the company has the ability to offer unique products for fitment to original equipment manufacturers of off-highway trucks.

Philippi-Hagenbuch’s products are engineered for use in a variety of industries, including coal, quarries, steel mills, power plants, metal/non-metal mines and landfills. The company commonly receives feedback that its products outlive the trucks on which they are installed.

What began as a small business run out of a basement has today established a campus with office and plant facilities on the near-west side of Peoria. Philippi-Hagenbuch has evolved into a company that is known and respected worldwide for its innovation and product quality.

RMH Foods, LLC
Jonathan W. Rocke owner/CEO
375 Erie Ave.
Morton, IL 61550
(877) 764-3663

RMH Foods, short for Rocke’s Meating Hause, was founded in 1937 by Jesse Rocke. Its main products are Milano’s Italian Grille entrées, which can be found in the refrigerated foods section of grocery stores nationwide, including Kroger, Schnucks and Jewel. In addition, a 2008 agreement landed the product line in Wal-Mart Supercenters across the country.

The company’s microwavable Italian Bistro-inspired fresh (never frozen) entrees include lasagna, chicken alfredo, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken parmesan, beef cacciatore and cannelloni. Each entrée provides fresh, authentic taste that can be made in minutes. RMH has processed foods in central Illinois for 73 years. After operating as a subsidiary of global food giant Smithfield Foods from 2001 to 2009, it was recently reacquired by the Rocke family.

Roeckers Inc.
Don Osterman, Kenny Rassi, Kim Lopatka owners
6523 N. Galena Rd.
Peoria, IL 61614
(309) 693-2929

Roeckers Inc. is a retail cabinet shop whose skilled and knowledgeable cabinetmakers have produced fine custom cabinetry for the home for 59 years. In addition to custom cabinetry, they offer Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances, and Quartz and Corian countertops. The company’s cabinets, which feature custom finishes, unlimited design capabilities and state-of-the-art interior amenities, are sold out of its showroom to the public, contractors and designers.

Shamrock Plastics, Inc.
Mary Cay Westphal owner
2615 W. Alta Ln.
Peoria, IL 61615
(309) 243-7723

Shamrock Plastics is a 42-year-old company whose primary business is to manufacture custom, vacuum- or pressure-formed parts for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). They also produce Lamplighters, a line of holiday decorations for yard lamps.

Since the company’s founding in 1968, Shamrock Plastics’ capabilities have grown to include pressure forming—an economical alternative to injection molding. This has allowed them to service international OEMs in the off-road, building, food, environmental, sports and medical industries.

Lamplighters by Shamrock is a line of holiday yard lamps consisting of jack-o-lantern, ghost, snowman and Santa Claus heads. The decorations are produced in two halves; after the consumer applies the decals that form the facial features, it is snapped together around a yard lamp with nylon fasteners. Lamplighters are built to last, using a polystyrene and rubber combination that is resistant to weather damage.

Lamplighters, which Shamrock has produced for 12 years, are mainly sold to hardware stores, garden centers, gift shops and catalogs. The product began as an effort to diversify from the custom plastics business. And not only has Shamrock done that, they have had fun doing so. iBi