The Wilmington Chamber of Commerce sponsors and participates in a variety of programs meant to recognize our outstanding citizens, promote local commerce and provide activities that engage the community and boost tourism.


Chamber President Ralph "Tuffy" Stevens with recipient Matthew Nutt.

Chamber President Ralph “Tuffy” Stevens with recipient Matthew Nutt.

Chamber Scholarship

One of the many programs ran by our Ambassador’s Committee, the Chamber Scholarship is a $1,000 award presented by the Chamber each year on Senior Night at the Wilmington High School. Our 2018 award recipient is Matthew Nutt. Find a list of past winners here.

Each year, our application is included in the WHS scholarship packet given to the current graduating class. With a deadline that typically falls in mid-February, our scholarship committee bases their decision on criteria including a WHS graduate seeking a business degree, seniors employed at member businesses, community volunteerism, academics and financial need.

Business Persons of the Year

In an effort to recognize our most influential entrepreneurs, The Chamber introduced our Business Person of the Year award in 1999. Our 2018 Business Persons of the Year are Tully Garrett and Holly Barker. They are the owners of The Launching Pad, and are being honored for their contributions to the community.

The owners have been promoting tourism and have supported other local businesses when visitors stopped to buy gas, sandwiches, or shop for antiques. The Launching Pad is open now, filled with Route 66 memoribilia for visitors to take in, and will begin serving food in 2019.

All our honorees are given the opportunity to be the Grand Marshal in our yearly Winter Wonderland lighted Christmas Parade along with a write up in the Free Press Advocate.  You can see a list of all the past award recipients here.

2017 Business Persons of the Year:Rick Smith and Denise Issert

2017 Business Persons of the Year:

Rick Smith and Denise Issert

Employee of the Month

Our fine City is filled with Employees that go above and beyond every day, bringing smiles to the faces of their customers and representing our City with pride. This award is available every month and comes with a traveling trophy tht is dispayed  at the business of the current month’s recipient as well as a photo that is published in the Free Press Advocate. The public is invited to make nominations of an employee who is courteous, attentive, sincere and makes it a pleasure to patronize that business. Send nominations to Chamber of Commerce Ambassador’s Committee, c/o Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 724, Wilmington, IL, 60481 or fill out the form on this page. Find a list of our past recipients here.

First Dollar of Pure Profit

All new businesses in town are eligible to receive the First Dollar of Pure Profit Award by our Ambassador’s Committee and be featured in the Free Press Newspaper. The Committee makes every effort to be thorough, but in the event that we have overlooked a new business, please download the form provided here and  return via the instructions at the top of this page.  


In a joint effort with three surrounding communities, Wilmington has taken advantage of it’s placement along historical Route 66 to provide a free outdoor treasure hunting game that has a worldwide following. All Geocaching requires is a sense of adventure, a bit of perseverance and a GPS enabled device. Wilmington’s cache is located within 100 yards of Route 66 and can be found by using the exact longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates which are registered at

The rules are simple:

  • If you take something, leave something and document your visit in the cache logbook.

  • If you take an item with a code number stamped on it, it’s a traveler who’s owner has selected a destination for it. Be sure to move it along on your travels and log the experience online at

  • Replace the cache exactly where and how you found it to allow the next treasure hunter to enjoy the experience

The Cache is in place year-round. Visit for details and to start your own adventures!


The Sauerland Coin began its trip from Germany in 2012 and had traveled more than 23,000 miles when it reached the Route 66 Corridor.

The Sauerland Coin began its trip from Germany in 2012 and had traveled more than 23,000 miles when it reached the Route 66 Corridor.

Additional Programs

  • Merit Award for Business Improvements – given to local businesses who are expanding: physically or services

  • Elves Contest – Local Businesses are asked to sponsor a child in a fund raising competition to benefit a local charity. Details for this event will be posted when available.

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