With the holiday shopping season approaching, the Illinois Office of Tourism released its annual Illinois Made holiday gift guide featuring products from small businesses throughout the state--including Rockford.

The list features something for everyone, from the foodie and active adventurer to the wine connoisseur and craft enthusiast. All of their items are from local artisans throughout the state who help make Illinois "an amazing destination for visitors and locals."

Cory Jobe, director of the Illinois Office of Tourism:

The Illinois Made gift guide is full of one-of-kind, artisanal products unique to our state. These handcrafted goods are especially fun to send to friends and family out-of-state to give them a taste of everything Illinois has to offer.

Rockford's only occupant on the list falls under the "For the Craft Enthusiast" category:

Rockford Art Deli - Rockford

Rockford Art Deli is a unique T-shirt shop that features creative designs and prints from talented artists in the community. Their shirts are the perfect statement piece for that friend with a unique sense of style.

Sure, that kinda-sorta sums it up, but if you click here, you'll see that they had a lot more to say about Rockford Art Deli:

A mash-up of creativity, a collective art jam, a rust belt power pop vibe with the kick of Sriracha.
That’s the only way to describe the region’s hippest T-shirt shop that’s so much more. R.A.D. is a smorgasbord of creative flavors, featuring a stage for live performances, a backroom filled with classic arcade games, and a storefront lounge that invites families to mingle with the signature artists of “Pirate Ninja Printing” as they create T-shirt art.

Founded by Jarrod Hennis, a member of the printing posse "Fatherless," and fellow art exhibitionist, Britney Lindgren, this crowd-inspiring entrepreneurial couple has created a delicatessen of services shared among like-minded artists. In doing so, they’ve put a cultural stamp on the scene that’s uniquely Rockford.

What began as a visual rebellion remains loyal to this aesthetic, with artists sharing their talent and pulling everyone together into a cooperative art awakening. You won’t find five dollar footlongs. But you might become a follower of the “Visual Mixtape of Creative Shenagination”—the self-coined print style popularized in galleries around the world by the band of artisans who call Rockford Art Deli home. As Jarrod and Britney will tell you, it’s all about keeping an open mind and making people happy, one T-shirt at a time.


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