August 25, 2009

Region’s products, services to be on display at fair

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The products and services come from right here in Southern Illinois. But, their market extends far and wide, even globally.

That’s the message of the Made in Southern Illinois Showcase, coming to the Du Quoin State Fair courtesy of the Southern Illinois University Carbondale entrepreneurship programs. The showcase in the air-conditioned Expo Hall runs from Aug. 28 through Sept. 7. Admission to the Showcase is free and it’s open daily beginning at 10 a.m.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to visit the Made in Southern Illinois Showcase at the Du Quoin State Fair Expo Hall Aug. 28-Sept. 7. For more information, call 618/453-3805 or e-mail

The focus each day will be on a different business making and selling products in Southern Illinois.

“”Going into its third year, our Showcase is definitely building some momentum. I had companies contacting me this year asking if they could participate!” said Robyn Laur Russell, director of the Southern Illinois Entrepreneurship Center. “It’s nice to be able to feature and congratulate businesses that are diligently promoting not just themselves but Southern Illinois in everything they do. The companies featured this year are a truly mixed representation of our region and I am proud to be able to help present them to so many people at the fair.”

The Showcase schedule of featured businesses, along with a brief description of each business and its Web site or telephone number, includes:

• Aug. 28 -- Heartland Women, a Carbondale-based publication striving to entertain, enlighten and empower women,

• Aug. 29 -- Timmy the Tractor, local news anchor Angie Wyatt introduces a cast of children’s characters via books, boys and stage performances about Timmy the Tractor and his friends,

• Aug. 30 -- NaturalMed Apothecary, Inc., this Herrin-based company, the first compounding-only pharmacy in Southern Illinois, offers a wide variety of alternative medicines,

• Aug. 31 -- Perfect Balance Natural Products, this company, headquartered in Carbondale, offers an array of soaps and lotions created from all natural ingredients combined uniquely to enhance and improve the look and feel of customers’ skin, 618/790-7439.

• Sept. 1 -- “Saluki Illustrated,” the official magazine of SIUC Saluki Athletics, it features insights information about SIUC teams,

• Sept. 2 --, based in Du Quoin, this social networking Web site community connects high school football teams and their followers within Southern Illinois’ 618 area code,

• Sept. 3 -- Dinger Bats, this Ridgeway company manufactures one-of-a-kind wooden bats for professional baseball players and for recreational use throughout the nation,

• Sept. 4 -- Sogsace, a Tamaroa woodworker creates handcrafted outdoor furniture, specializing in picnic tables and swings, 618/521-2740.

• Sept. 5 -- Devil’s Breath Chile Co., a Broughton company that grows peppers and creates 100 percent natural pepper products, including an assortment of natural and organic hot chile sauces and relishes,,

• Sept. 6 -- Sew-A-Lot, a Murphysboro business specializing in custom-made garments and alterations of all kinds, 618/201-7854.

• Sept. 7 -- Official Redneck Apparel, this Herrin company promotes itself as the first-ever clothing link showing the true redneck spirit, 618/922-5540.

“I can’t think of a better way to show off the entrepreneurial spirit of Southern Illinois!” said Emily Carter, director of entrepreneurship and business development for SIUC. “The Du Quoin State Fair is a wonderful way to introduce the people of our region to the innovative and creative products and services that are being launched right here in our own back yard.”

Byron Wink, owner of Sogsace, is looking forward to exhibiting his woodworking creations at the fair and praises the SIUC entrepreneurship programs for providing important help in starting his new business.

“Operation Bootstrap was a big plus. My family’s been in business for 32 years but we recently sold the business. We knew a lot of practical business applications but when I got in the classroom setting I learned a lot about marketing strategies, the benefits of a feasibility study and a lot of other things that I’m sure would have been beneficial in our family business and which is surely beneficial now for me. A lot of good, positive information came out of there for me,” Wink said.

Sponsoring the showcase are the Southern Illinois Entrepreneurship Center, the University Entrepreneurship Center in Centralia, the Illinois Small Business Development Center, the Illinois Manufacturing Extension Center, the Southern Illinois Research Park and Incubator Program, Connect SI and Operation Bootstrap.

For more information about the Made in Southern Illinois Showcase or the SIUC entrepreneurship programs and the assistance they offer regional businesses, call 618/453-3805 or look online at