ILLINOIS MADE: From left to right President and CEO of Visit Oak Park Eric Wagner, Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton, Kribi Coffee owner Jacques Shalo, Forest Park Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Laurie Kokenes, and Forest Park Mayor Rory Hoskins.

On Feb. 20, Kribi Coffee Air Roasters, 7324 Madison St. in Forest Park, accepted an Illinois Made Award from the Illinois Department of Tourism – Explore Illinois. The award, a colorful ceramic plate, was presented to Jacques Shalo, owner of Kribi Coffee, by Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton and village of Forest Park Mayor Rory Hoskins. 

“This has made us feel special,” said Shalo. “This award is an honor for Kribi, but it is an honor for Forest Park as well. This is such a vibrant business community, and we want Kribi to reflect that vibrancy.”

Inclusion in the Illinois Makers program is highly competitive, and honorees must meet detailed criteria to be considered for the award. Not only are artisans and craftspeople required to operate a business open to the public selling an Illinois-made product, but those under consideration are prized for having a compelling origin story, rich business history, and making an impact in their home community.

Kribi Coffee was nominated in November of 2020 by Eric Wagner, president of Visit Oak Park and Laurie Kokenes, executive director of the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce. Shalo was notified that Kribi was a recipient of the award in December, but COVID-19 complexities delayed the presentation until Feb. 20.

“Nominating Kribi Coffee Air Roasters was a no-brainer,” said Kokenes. “From the farm where the coffee beans are grown to an air-roasted and freshly brewed cup of coffee, Kribi Coffee takes being an Illinois Maker to the next level. The fact that Jacques uses his product and his shop to promote social-impact issues and support local causes is icing on the cake.”

Shalo said he and his team were “thrilled to have been presented this award” and expressed gratitude to people who recognized Kribi Coffee and their “wonderful and supporting patrons.”