Target Industries

Location, location, location–but also transportation, business costs, and the all important workforce.

Sterling, Illinois is an exceptional location for business, and manufacturing, distribution/logistics and back office/regional headquarter companies have benefited the most from our low cost of doing business, productive workforce, and the great transportation network.


Located in north central Illinois, Sterling has easy access to Chicago, Rockford and the Quad Cities. Sterling is in the heart of a transportation network that includes major regional interstates, a main line for the Union Pacific railroad, ports and regional and international airports. When you locate in Sterling, you locate in an area with overall population of nearly 70 million within 500 miles, which means your raw materials or product are within one days’ drive (500 miles) of the major Midwest markets of Chicago, Quad Cities, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Milwaukee, Detroit, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and others. And yet, because you’re located in Sterling, our lower-than-average crime rates mean safe storage for your inventory or products until you’re ready to go to market.


We also understand one of the most critical cornerstones of business success is its people; with a labor force  of nearly 30,000 within fifty miles. “Midwest work ethic” isn’t just a cliché; the numbers prove it. Our workers are more productive, and a more productive workforce means a lower cost of doing business. Our network of coordinated workforce training, higher than average community vocational/technical colleges graduation rates, and regional colleges and universities means a ready supply of trained workers. In fact, 2/3 of our workforce has been trained in manufacturing. That may be why our labor force grew 3.5% from 2008-2010 alone!


A reliable electric grid and private utility water provider means you have the power you need 24/7, while tax incentives and exemptions for manufacturing, equipment and existing building help develop your business. Affordable, shovel-ready sites close to the internet (large parcels available) costing an average of $1-$3 less per square foot than in nearby areas mean even more cost savings in getting your business up and running.


Regional Office businesses take advantage of the available space, including redeveloped riverfront and downtown sites as well as a variety of office park locations still at prices lower than surrounding areas. The affordable costs of doing business, living here and high quality of life mean it’s easy to find and keep a skilled workforce as your business grows.