While globalization can be defined in many ways, it is at its essence a process—a cultural exchange and integration that knows no borders—and it’s been going on for quite some time. Ever since the early explorers sailed the ocean blue, the world has heard stories of foreign lands and cultures far away, but in the last two decades, globalization has remade our world entirely.
The Peoria area is no different. Our ancestors—from France, Germany, Ireland, Lebanon and beyond—built this region, and ever since its first venture overseas in 1950, Caterpillar Inc. has ensured it remains a destination for international business. As a result, like the rest of the world, our demographics are changing, along with our mindsets: we are thinking globally.
From the largest multinational corporation to the tiniest seller on Etsy, just about any business can have an international presence today. Peoria is fortunate to have the Illinois SBDC International Trade Center at Bradley University, which has helped hundreds of area companies enter the international marketplace. It’s a tremendous resource for any business looking to go global, offering a wide range of services, from identifying potential markets and foreign buyers to assisting with export documents and finance options.
Elsewhere in this issue, we take a look inside the global operations of Maui Jim, learn more about Morton’s economic development efforts in China, and get an insiders’ look at the Peoria airport’s new international terminal, projected to begin construction within the year. We also hear from a Richwoods High School graduate who traveled the world with the military and is now director of global programs in the Office of Global Women’s Issues in the U.S. Department of State. Having met with her in Washington DC in July, I can tell you she is very appreciative to have opportunities most of us can only read about.
While globalization has brought many cultural and economic benefits, it’s no replacement for locally-owned businesses, which offer a level of personal service that can’t be replicated online. Last month, we published a comment that inadvertently suggested one of them had closed due to competition from big-box stores. Quite the contrary: Smith Drug Store in Peoria Heights is a thriving business in its third generation of family ownership. I extend my sincere apologies to Kathryn Connor, president and owner, as well as the store’s employees and customers, for this error.
As always, we encourage our readers to support our local businesses first and foremost. As they say, “Think global, act local…” iBi