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Byline: Steve Tarter
Jul. 31--SPRING VALLEY, Ill.--Spring Valley may be a river town, but it's the proximity to major highways that floats the area chamber of commerce boat.
This Bureau County town of 5,200 is located near the interchange of Interstates 80 and 39, which Barb Koch, director of the Illinois Valley Area Chamber of Commerce, said helps attract business.
"I-39 provides connecting access from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, plus we intersect with I-80, which runs east- west, giving business the opportunity to go in any direction," she said. "We've had quite a bit of success in attracting distribution centers to the area."
Koch took over the chamber reins in 1983, when the area was still reeling from the loss of the Westclox plant that employed as many as 4,000 before moving its clockmaking operations from nearby LaSalle-Peru to Georgia in 1979.
"There's been a very conscious decision by community leaders to try and diversify the economy," she said. …