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Why McHenry

Why McHenry, Illinois?

In the City of McHenry, business-to-business and community support is unparalleled. Both the City of McHenry and the McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce have created an economic environment that fosters growth and success for businesses opening, expanding or relocating here. Meanwhile, you will find an enthusiastic and positive community that embraces its local businesses and will go to great lengths to help them succeed — even if that means some much-needed social media traffic!

In the Middle of It All

Conveniently located equidistant from Chicago, Rockford and Milwaukee, McHenry’s proximity comes with some extraordinary advantages for businesses. All three cities are major air and transportation hubs, with O’Hare International Airport located just 35 miles from the City of McHenry. Businesses in McHenry, IL can also leverage the service areas of each city, ranging from west of the Mississippi and extending into northern Wisconsin.

Room to Grow

Most cities are fortunate enough to have one thriving downtown district. But the City of McHenry has three downtowns — Main Street, Green Street and Riverside Drive — each rich in character and history with restaurants, retail stores, sweet shops, taverns, service providers, entertainment venues and more blending traditional and modern architectural styles. McHenry’s downtown districts offer historic storefronts waiting to be redeveloped for new businesses, while Route 120 and Route 31 bring a combined 52,000 vehicles through town every day. Additionally, the McHenry Riverwalk and Riverwalk Shoppes — now in development — will flow through each downtown district and draw customers to a brand-new designated entrepreneurial zone. The Riverwalk Shoppes will also provide space for entrepreneurs to open a business and determine if the space is right for them without investing a significant amount of capital.

But the City of McHenry is more than just downtown storefronts. Numerous shopping centers, office and business park spaces, redevelopment sites, and vacant areas offer space for large-scale organizations to relocate or develop. McHenry, IL is home to numerous retail, office and other service-oriented spaces along Route 120 and Route 31, the latter of which has become a premier shopping destination for residents in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin with several big box retailers, as well as smaller retailers. Numerous employers such as First Brands, Medela, Aptar, Follett Solutions, Fabrik Industries and Northwestern McHenry are based in the City of McHenry and have found success by capitalizing on the city’s workforce and quality of life attributes. Companies like these are proof that the City is a quality partner for growing businesses.

Financial Opportunities

Businesses opening or relocating in the City of McHenry will find several financial incentive programs available from the city. These can include any of the following:

  • Property tax abatements
  • Sales tax rebates
  • Underutilized Property Tax Abatement and Incentive Program
  • Downtown TIF District
  • Vacant Building Incentive Program
  • Façade Improvement Grant
  • Community Tenant Incentive Grant Program

In addition, the City of McHenry works with the State of Illinois to provide EDGE tax agreements and other federally funded programs. The City also works with McHenry County, Illinois on incentives such as Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and Revolving Loan Funds.

Finally, the McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce is a fantastic resource for new businesses getting to know the community, introducing new businesses to the community through ribbon cuttings, lead development, training, support, promotion and more.


The City of McHenry boasts some of the best educational programs in Northern Illinois. McHenry Community High School offers AP and dual credit classes in addition to Project Lead the Way Career Pathways in conjunction with McHenry County College. The high school recently completed its 70,000-square-foot Center for Science, Technology and Industry extension at the Upper Campus, while Parkland Middle School was recently named the No. 1 school in the United States for STEM, STEAM and Innovative Programming at the Future of Education Technology Conference. McHenry was also voted the best community for music education in 2021.

Additionally, the City of McHenry is a perfect spot for families to explore the great outdoors. With more than 36 parks and 640 acres of public space — including the Fox River, Glacial Park, Moraine Hills State Park and the McHenry Riverwalk — families in McHenry are never at a shortage for outdoor recreation. If you prefer to get your steps at the gym, the city boasts a 18,200-square-foot recreation center — the first part of a multi-phase recreation and aquatic campus — located west of the city’s municipal center.

Whatever you envision for your business, you can bring it to life in McHenry.