The Impact of Bradley University on Peoria's Local Market

May 17, 2024

My picture - Bt Stew

by Brandon Stewart

A Catalyst for Economic Growth and Community Support

Hey there, Peoria locals and curious readers! Let's dive into an exciting story about how a university has shaped a city in more ways than one. We're talking about Bradley University and its profound impact on Peoria, Illinois. Whether you’re a local business owner, a student, or just someone interested in community growth, this story has something for everyone.

Bradley Campus in Peoria

Brief Overview of Bradley University

So, let’s start with a bit of background on Bradley University. Founded way back in 1897, this private university in Peoria is a powerhouse in education. It’s particularly famous for its programs in business, engineering, and health sciences, drawing students from all over the globe. But Bradley isn’t just about hitting the books; it's about getting hands-on experience, sparking innovation, and staying deeply connected with the community. This combination makes Bradley a crucial player in the Peoria area.

Introduction to Peoria, Illinois

Now, let's chat about Peoria. Sitting along the beautiful Illinois River, Peoria is a city full of life, history, and culture. It’s the largest city on the river, known for its strong industrial roots, thriving healthcare sector, and growing tech scene. With plenty of parks, museums, and cultural spots, Peoria is a great place to live and work. The community spirit here is vibrant, and the support for local businesses and educational institutions like Bradley University is clear to see.

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What's This Article All About?

This article is all about exploring how Bradley University impacts Peoria’s local market, focusing on economic contributions and community engagement. For local business owners, understanding this relationship is key. Bradley doesn’t just educate students; it supplies a skilled workforce, stimulates local businesses, and fosters community projects. By diving into real examples and local stats, we’ll highlight how Bradley University’s presence benefits local businesses and boosts the overall prosperity of Peoria.

Economic Impact

Job Creation and Employment Opportunities

First up, let’s talk jobs. Bradley University is a major economic driver in Peoria, creating tons of job opportunities. The university employs over 1,200 full-time and part-time staff. This team includes educators, administrative staff, maintenance workers, and various support personnel, all contributing to the local economy. Plus, Bradley’s presence attracts businesses that cater to the needs of students, faculty, and staff, creating even more jobs.

Specific Data on Jobs Created by Bradley University

Let’s get into some numbers. Bradley University contributes to approximately 2,500 jobs in the Peoria area. This includes direct employment by the university and indirect jobs created through university-related spending. For instance, campus construction projects generate jobs for local contractors and laborers. And with students and visitors coming in, there’s a boost in demand for local goods and services, supporting jobs in retail, hospitality, and other sectors.

Local Businesses and Services Supported by the University

Bradley University significantly supports local businesses and services, adding to the economic buzz of Peoria. Tons of businesses thrive thanks to the university's student body, faculty, and staff. We’re talking about restaurants, cafes, bookstores, and entertainment venues that cater to the university community. Local service providers, like healthcare facilities, fitness centers, and transportation services, also benefit from Bradley’s presence.

Bradley Engineering Department in Peoria Illinois

Businesses That Directly Benefit from the University

Let’s highlight some success stories. One World Cafe, a local favorite, enjoys a steady stream of customers from Bradley. Running Central (RC Outfitters), a local sporting goods store, benefits from students and faculty buying athletic gear and participating in university events. The university community’s demand helps these businesses thrive, boosting Peoria’s economic health.

Influence on the Real Estate and Housing Market

Bradley University also has a notable impact on the local real estate and housing market. The presence of students, faculty, and staff creates a consistent demand for housing, influencing property values and rental rates. Neighborhoods surrounding the university, like the West Bluff area, have seen increased development and property investment due to this demand.

Statistics on Housing Market Trends Influenced by the University

Here are some interesting stats. Rental properties near Bradley University have higher occupancy rates compared to other parts of Peoria. The average rental price in these areas is about 15% higher than the city average, driven by the continuous influx of students and university staff seeking housing. Additionally, the university's expansion plans and new construction projects have sparked interest in real estate development, leading to an increase in property values in nearby neighborhoods.

In summary, Bradley University's presence in Peoria significantly boosts job creation, supports local businesses, and positively influences the real estate and housing market, making it a vital economic pillar in the community.

What About Community Engagement?

University Events and Their Attraction to the Local Community

The university hosts a variety of events throughout the year that attract significant participation from the local community. These events range from academic conferences and public lectures to cultural festivals and sports competitions. By opening its doors to Peoria residents, Bradley fosters a strong community connection, creating opportunities for engagement and collaboration.

Major Events and Their Local Participation

One major event is Bradley’s annual Homecoming celebration, which includes a parade, sports events, and various alumni activities. This event draws thousands of participants, including students, alumni, and local residents, creating a sense of community and shared identity. Another notable event is the Charley Steiner Symposium on Sports Communication, featuring prominent speakers and attracting attendees from across the region. The Foster College of Business also organizes public lectures and workshops, providing valuable learning opportunities for local entrepreneurs and business owners.

Contributions to Arts, Culture, and Local Projects

Bradley University significantly contributes to the arts and culture scene in Peoria through various initiatives and collaborations. The university's theater, music, and fine arts programs regularly host performances and exhibitions open to the public. These events showcase the talents of students and faculty and enrich the community’s cultural life. Additionally, Bradley supports local projects aimed at preserving and promoting Peoria's cultural heritage.

Specific Programs or Projects Initiated by the University

he Heuser Art Center at Bradley is a hub for artistic expression and community engagement. It hosts regular art exhibitions featuring works by students, faculty, and guest artists, attracting art enthusiasts from the local area. Another significant initiative is the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Bradley University, offering educational programs and activities for older adults in the community. OLLI’s diverse range of courses, workshops, and travel opportunities encourage lifelong learning and active participation in community life.

Partnerships with Local Organizations and Businesses

Bradley University actively seeks partnerships with local organizations and businesses to enhance its community engagement efforts. These collaborations create mutually beneficial opportunities for both the university and the local community. Through these partnerships, Bradley leverages its resources and expertise to support community development and address local needs.

Successful Partnerships and Their Impact

One successful partnership is between Bradley University and the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council (GPEDC). Together, they work on initiatives to promote economic growth and innovation in the region. This collaboration has led to programs that support local startups and small businesses, providing them with access to university resources and mentorship. Another example is Bradley’s partnership with the Peoria Riverfront Museum. Through joint programs and events, they engage the community in educational and cultural activities, enriching the local cultural landscape.

In conclusion, Bradley University's community engagement efforts significantly enhance the social and cultural fabric of Peoria. By hosting events, supporting arts and culture, and fostering partnerships with local organizations and businesses, the university plays a vital role in promoting community well-being and development.

Highlight Stories from Local Businesses

One World Café, a beloved local restaurant near Bradley’s campus, has thrived thanks to the steady stream of students, faculty, and visiting families. This constant patronage has allowed One World Café to expand its menu, renovate its space, and hire more staff, contributing to the local economy.

Running Central, a local sporting goods store, is another success story. Located near Bradley, the store caters to the athletic needs of students and faculty. Running Central often collaborates with the university on events like fun runs and sports clinics, strengthening its connection to the Bradley community. This partnership has led to increased sales and heightened brand recognition within the local market.

Testimonials from Local Business Owners About the Positive Impacts

Here’s what local business owners have to say:

Joan Matthews, Owner of One World Café

"Bradley University has been instrumental in the success of One World Café. The influx of students and faculty provides a reliable customer base that allows us to continuously innovate and grow. The university community's support has been unwavering, and we are grateful for the opportunities it has created for our business."

Tom Adams, Owner of Running Central

"Being located near Bradley University has been a game-changer for us. The university's focus on promoting a healthy and active lifestyle aligns perfectly with our mission. Collaborating on events and initiatives with Bradley has not only boosted our sales but also helped us build lasting relationships with the university community. We're proud to be part of Peoria's vibrant business landscape, thanks to Bradley's presence."

Haddad's Market

"Haddad's Market in Peoria is a family-owned grocery store known for its fresh produce, quality meats, and Middle Eastern specialties. With a friendly atmosphere and a commitment to serving the community and Bradley University area, Haddad's offers a unique shopping experience with personalized customer service."

These stories, new and old, highlight how Bradley University has positively impacted local businesses, contributing to Peoria’s overall economic vitality.

The Importance of Continued Support and Collaboration Between Bradley University and Local Businesses

The ongoing support and collaboration between Bradley University and local businesses are essential for sustaining and enhancing the economic and social well-being of Peoria. As demonstrated by the case studies and testimonials, the university’s presence provides a steady stream of customers, fosters innovation, and stimulates economic activity. Local businesses, in turn, contribute to the university community, creating a thriving, interconnected ecosystem.

Continued collaboration can lead to new opportunities for growth and development. By working together, Bradley University and local businesses can drive innovation, support entrepreneurship, and strengthen the overall economic health of the region. This symbiotic relationship is vital for ensuring the long-term prosperity of both the university and the local community.

In conclusion, Bradley University is not just an educational institution but a cornerstone of Peoria’s economic and social landscape. Its contributions to job creation, local business support, and community engagement are invaluable. For local business owners, recognizing and leveraging this relationship can lead to sustained growth and success. By fostering continued support and collaboration, Bradley University and the Peoria business community can achieve shared prosperity and a brighter future for all.

Local Business Owners Engage with Bradley University

Local business owners in Peoria have a unique opportunity to engage with Bradley University and benefit from its significant presence in the community. Whether through partnerships, event sponsorships, or student internships, collaborating with the university can provide valuable resources and visibility for your business. By actively participating in university events and initiatives, local businesses can tap into a dynamic network of students, faculty, and staff, driving growth and innovation.

Consider exploring ways to partner with Bradley University on community projects, offer student discounts, or participate in university-organized workshops and seminars. These engagements not only boost your business but also contribute to the overall vitality of the Peoria community. Together, we can create a thriving local economy that supports both educational excellence and business success.

If you are a local business owner interested in learning more about how to engage with Bradley University or seeking assistance with marketing strategies to enhance your business’s visibility, X1 Marketing Inc. is here to help. Our team specializes in crafting effective marketing solutions tailored to the unique needs of Peoria businesses.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact us at:

X1 Marketing Inc.

Phone: (309) 981-7248

Reach out today to discover how we can help your business thrive through strategic engagement with the broader Peoria community.

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