For me, and for iBi, August is a month of anniversaries. And if I might quote one of my previous columns, “An anniversary is a milestone—an occasion to catch one’s breath (if just for a moment), look back and reflect on the journey.”

I wrote those words two years ago this month for our special 20th anniversary issue. Has it really been two years? It seems like just yesterday that my son, our managing editor, was scouring each issue page by page, painstakingly combing the iBi archives for snippets from yesteryear that would stitch together the story of the last two decades of Peoria-area business.

These days, unless it’s incorporated into our busy schedules, we don’t often spend a great deal of time reflecting on the journey. Frankly, if I were not obliged to write something each month, the days, weeks, months and years would likely pass with scarcely a look back. This column has been good for pondering, for reconnecting to the path that led here, for taking a step back to see the bigger picture.

It was 14 years ago this month that I purchased the company and became an independent business owner. That was something I never prepared for. I guess you never really can. No matter how many business classes you take in school, there’s nothing quite like on-the-job learning.

Of course, no one understands the challenges of running a business quite like another business owner. There is indeed a “thread of common issues shared by all family businesses,” as Betty Schlacter of Jones Bros. Jewelers points out on page 42. But at the same time, each and every story is different. That’s why I looked forward to this issue, our third to focus on the family businesses of central Illinois.

August marks the 22nd anniversary of this magazine—that’s 264 issues. Through all manners of challenge and change, we’ve never taken a month off. For the first eight years, I was half of a husband-and-wife team. Later, my son joined the company, and I am fortunate to be working closely with him. This month is also the fifth anniversary of that occasion.

Finally, August marks the 18th year in which we’ve accepted your nominations of central Illinois’ best and brightest for the annual 40 Leaders under Forty awards. We encourage you to submit your choices for the area’s top business and community leaders, those who are making a notable difference in the community. The deadline is September 15th, so don’t hesitate—visit peoriamagazines.com/40-leaders and submit your nomination today!

Anniversaries are important milestones—in love, in business, in life. They symbolize the fruits of our labors, celebrate the hard work that got us to where we are, and remind us of what’s important. And that is something to remember, year in and year out. iBi