Business development in the City of Racine

Why Racine? An engaged community.

Visioning a Greater Racine (VGR) is a networked-community initiative with the goal of transforming Racine into a flourishing place we are proud to call home. This initiative focuses on residents living in the City of Racine and in the Villages of Sturtevant, Caledonia, and Mount Pleasant and includes all sectors of the community – business, government, education, nonprofits, faith-based groups and individuals. A broad network of community members are continuing to meet in order to engage a proven process, called VISIONING, which has been successful in transforming other cities into vibrant places to work and live.


Why Racine? Learn more about the variety of businesses that call Racine home.

Precision machining and metal working
Since the first steel foundries opened in 1844, metalworking craftsmen have flourished in Racine.

Home to world-renowned precision machining, stamping, CNC tooling and innovative metallurgy, Racine businesses have multi-generational knowledge and expertise to take products from concept and blueprint to prototype and production.

Engineering and automation
The world’s agricultural output can be traced to Racine’s intrepid workforce and inventors. Jerome Increase Case formed the J.I. Case Threshing Machine Co. and J.I. Case Plow Works (now CNHi). The manufacturing of world-class heavy construction equipment and agricultural machinery continues to thrive in Racine.

Racine engineered and manufactured mobility and efficiency for the world. In 1873, Racine native Rev. Dr. James W. Carhart, known as the “Father of Automobile,” built the first self-propelled highway vehicle in the world. Later, the nation’s first six-cylinder automobile was produced by Racine’s own Piggins Brothers Company. Mitchell-Lewis Motor Company perfected production for custom built automobiles and was later acquired by Nash Motors, which produced low-cost automobiles known as the Ajax in Racine.

Electric fractional horsepower motors: hand tools and household appliances
Racine-based inventors adapted the fractional horsepower motor, a byproduct of Nikola Tesla’s 1888 electric induction motor, to create hair dryers, blenders, hair clippers, precision hand-tools, vacuums, and garbage disposals. Modern applications include precision robotics, automobile auxiliary applications (such as power seats, wipers, and windows) and HVAC systems. Racine’s legacy of innovation and opportunity continues to this day.
Medical implements and services
Racine-based design, engineering and production of specialty medical implements and monitoring technology for orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeon, and the dental industry is moving the science of human health forward.
Materials and equipment
A history of heavy manufacturing and focus on efficient production has created a diverse and nimble regional supply chain for materials, machinery and equipment.
Transportation and distribution
Nautical, rail, Amazon, Lehman and Racine railroad products.
Spanning in scope from SC Johnson and Son’s household cleaners to DW Davies industrial products, Racine has a strong history of innovative chemical engineers determined to improve modern life.
Lighting technology and production controls
From LED lighting to industrial control panels and production software, Racine-based firms have solutions for retail and industrial applications.
Water filtration – hydraulics
Specialty manufacturers of hydraulic pumps and fittings for industrial and recreational applications call Racine home. Recent advances in water filtration technology and innovative system designs can also be traced to world-class manufacturers in Racine.
Polished marketing, web design and software companies provide services for clients with roof-top or shoe string budgets. Custom IT solutions are one caffeinated meeting away.
Printing and packaging
In 1907, 30 year-old Edward Henry Wadewitz started the Western Printing and Lithographing Company. Little Golden Books, Betty Crocker Cookbooks, Pictionary and Trivial Pursuit were household staples produced by Racine-based Western Publishing until the early 2000s.

The nation’s printing and packaging needs continue to be met in Racine with first-rate production efficient machinery and supply-chain manufacturers.

Tourism and hospitality
The mile-long white sand beach within strolling distance of downtown Racine’s food and entertainment district has long created an ideal respite for residents and visitors alike. The Racine Harbor is home to hundreds of recreational sail and motor boats which support area marinas and boating supply businesses. As the “Kringle Capital of the World,” refined cuisine, traditional staples and abundant comfort foods share a table on either bank of Racine’s Root River.
Food and beverage
In 1882, after Horlicks Food Company patented powdered milk, Racine manufactured and distributed “Malted Milk” around the globe. This heritage is coupled with a long history of bottling and food manufacturing, creating a foundation for the resurgence of Racine-based food products including microbreweries and food additives.
Creative economy
Bookended by two metropolitan titans with Lake Michigan as a backdrop, Racine’s textured landscape and industrial building stock has long inspired creativity and human expression. The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed S.C. Johnson & Son office buildings and Prairie School–style homes scattered throughout the city continue to influence modern design and aesthetics. Wright’s contemporary and internationally-acclaimed landscape architect Jens Jensen pioneered several public park designs in Racine before taking the helm at the Chicago Park District.

Racine’s own distinguished stage actor and versatile Hollywood star Fredric March (“Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” and “The Best Years of our Lives”) remains the only actor to have won both the Academy Award and the Tony Award twice. Another celebrated stage performer, musician and motion picture star is Racine’s own Barbara McNair, who performed with Elvis Presley and Sidney Poitier.

A culture of expression and design reverberates with hidden beehive studios, elegant galleries, custom woodwork shops, boutique products and performance arts.