Sports & Recreation
Dinger Bat Company Shawnee National Forest
Business is booming for Dinger Bats which made 28,000 bats last year and is used by 18 big leaguers, including Cubs sluggers Kyle Schwarber and Jason Heyward.
Heritage Bicycles Chicago
Heritage is building the first completely Chicago-made bicycles since Schwinn left in the 1970s. It sells its vintage-inspired, handcrafted bikes — and coffee — at its Chicago retail locations.
Homewood Bat Company Homewood
A onetime player and coach, Todd Pals started as a boutique bat maker in 2015. He’s recruited some Cubs and White Sox players to swing the lumber he produces.
Horween Leather Company Chicago
The Horween factory, staffed with 150 employees, has operated along the north branch of the Chicago River in Bucktown since 1920. In addition to leather for shoes and accessories, it supplies leather used to create footballs, basketballs and baseball gloves.
Litania Sports Group Champaign
Litana is like a Russian nesting doll of sports equipment makers, including Gill Athletics, Porter Athletic, PowerMax and Upper90. It makes approximately
75 percent of the products it sells in its Champaign factory.
Lone Wolf Stands Kickapoo
The small but mighty hunting stand operation just northwest of Peoria makes more than 20,000 tree stands a year
Riddell Sports Equipment Des Plaines
This sports equipment manufacturer specializing in football gear was founded in 1929 by Evanston High School math teacher and football coach John T. Riddell. They relocated from Rosemont to Des Plaines in 2017.
Rock River Arms Colona
In 1996, brothers Mark and Chuck Larson founded Rock River Arms in a shop in a village in the Quad Cities area. They’ve manufactured guns for federal agencies including the DEA, FBI, and United States Marshals.
Springfield Armory Springfield
Six years after the first armory in American history closed, a Central Illinois family relaunched the brand and the designs of weapons produced by the place opened in 1777 by order of George Washington.
Founded in 1987, this high-tech bicycle component maker now employs more than 3,500 people in offices and manufacturing facilities all over the globe. It moved its HQ to the West Loop in 2015.
Weber founder George Stephen worked for Weber Brothers Metal Works in Chicago and in 1952 invented the kettle grill. The inspiration for the shape came from taking a buoy, cutting it in half and adding three legs and a handle.