Dot’s Pots in Moline earns rare honor in statewide “Illinois Made” tourism campaign

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Dot’s Pots in Moline is the only Quad Cities business to be named to the 2021 class of Illinois Made, a promotional campaign from the Illinois Office of Tourism.

Dot’s Pots in Moline was chosen as the only Quad Cities business to be among 28 small companies across Illinois in the Illinois Made program, announced Wednesday by the Illinois Office of Tourism.

The program recognizes each business as a “hidden gem for locals and visitors to discover, offering unique products and experiences all around the state,” according to a Wednesday release. “From vegan dessert makers, alpaca and hemp farmers, and a Chicago candlemaker with a mission to provide young moms with critical job training skills – each of the small businesses featured help make Illinois a one-of-a-kind destination for visitors.”

The Illinois Made program, launched in 2016, inspires residents and visitors to discover the people, products and authentic experiences created by one-of-a-kind small businesses found in every region of the state. This newest class of “Makers” is being announced in time to highlight for consumers even more options to buy local products during this year’s holiday shopping season.

“Illinois is home to a diverse, vibrant small business community which attracts visitors from across the country and around the world,” Gov. JB Pritzker said in the release. “Through our Illinois Made program – we celebrate the unique contributions of small businesses across our communities and provide people yet another reason to explore all aspects of Illinois. I want to congratulate the 28 new Illinois Makers on this distinguished honor, and encourage our residents and visitors alike to plan a visit to discover the products and experiences unique to Illinois.”

The Illinois Made program now features over 200 from all areas of the state and continues to drive foot traffic into local small businesses around the state.

“Small businesses are the backbone of Illinois’ economy and offer food, products and experiences that make a visit to all regions of Illinois special,” said Sylvia I. Garcia, acting director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, which includes the tourism office. “We are excited to expand the Illinois Made program to include 28 additional small businesses that have unique made in Illinois products and highlight why folks should visit communities across our great state.”

“This new Illinois Made class is a diverse representation of the unforgettable experiences visitors can find across our state, from the big city of Chicago and surrounding suburbs, all the way to rolling hills of Southern Illinois,” said Karla Flannery, deputy director of the Illinois Office of Tourism. “We look forward to finding new and exciting ways to promote this group of small businesses, their owners and communities to both domestic and international visitors.”

This year, more than half (18) of the businesses represented are owned by women or people of color.

Some of the handiwork from Dot’s Pots, at 2822 16th St., Moline.

Dot’s Pots at 2822 16th St., Moline, sells pottery created by Dorothy “Dot” Beach-Lawrence and her husband Dan Lawrence. Dot and Dan create wheel-thrown, hand and slab-built pottery, using food and microwave-safe glazes, and firing in gas and electric kilns. Dot also makes Raku pottery in small-batch firings.

“I’m so honored and excited to be recognized for doing what we love to do and to be able to share my claywork with others,” Dot said in the release. “I’ve been making pottery practically all my life, since high school, and we still love making it.”

“The Illinois Made program and its recognition of small businesses throughout the state is vital to our visitor economy and authentic experiences,” said Dave Herrell, president/CEO of Visit Quad Cities. “QC, That’s Where our Quad Cities small businesses make us stand out and define our regional destination’s story. We are incredibly proud of Dot’s Pots for being recognized by Illinois Made and are grateful for all they do for the community.”

The Illinois Made program builds on state efforts to highlight small businesses as a visitor attraction in and of themselves, to celebrate its diverse communities, and to boost tourism activity to support local economies statewide. Moreover, driving traffic toward tourism and tourism related small businesses – among those hit hardest during the pandemic – is a key component of the Pritzker administration’s plan to guide a statewide economic recovery post COVID-19, the release said.

The Illinois Office of Tourism encourages residents to nominate businesses for the Illinois Made program on a year-round basis. They review nominations and choose businesses based on the criteria for the program along with local business representation across the state. To nominate a business for the program, click here.

To learn more about Illinois Made, visit EnjoyIllinois.com/IllinoisMade.

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