What started as a group of Minnesota business leaders combating a flood of misleading advertising, quickly developed into vigilance committees supporting self-regulation in not only advertising, but in all business practices. “It was a time when advertising had been corrupted to the point Americans no longer believed any advertisement they saw,” says Bonnie Bakin, president of the Central Illinois BBB. “There was no regulation on advertising, so you can imagine the outrageous claims that were made.”

Soon, these committees joined together and became the Better Business Bureau. In 1920, central Illinois joined the cause “to maintain fair competition and dependability in confidence in all advertising, of whatever nature, disseminated in Peoria, Illinois, and in the merchandise or services offered.”

More than 95 years later, your local BBB is still dedicated to fostering honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers, instilling consumer confidence and advancing a trustworthy marketplace for all. This mission can be achieved because of local businesses that believe in making the marketplace more transparent and holding themselves to high standards. In terms of “local legends,” these businesses deserve to be recognized for their continuous and unwavering support of this community. Here is a list of area businesses that have remained BBB-accredited for 50 years or more, along with their accreditation dates:

Today, these companies are joined by 1,600 BBB-accredited companies in 36 counties in central Illinois, and nearly 394,000 BBB-accredited companies throughout North America. Each had to meet specific standards to achieve and maintain their accreditation, including a commitment to make a good-faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints in conjunction with the BBB Code of Business Practices. This code is built on the BBB Standards for Trust—eight principles that summarize important elements of creating and maintaining trust in business:

Over the last 95 years, your BBB has been guided by the dedication of local businesses and community members who volunteer their time to serve on our board of directors. In addition to their own careers and responsibilities, these volunteers are faced with the task of ensuring the continued operation, growth and direction of the nonprofit they serve, and they graciously share their experience and knowledge to deliver the greatest impact on the community. There are not enough awards to go around to recognize all of the amazing work that has been done… and is yet to be done. We are forever grateful for our local legends and their legacy of leadership in our community. iBi