Top 15 of 2015: Fueling the Economic Engine (5)

Jeff Dobie, owner of Fatty’s Pub and Grille: “It would be hard to support a business of our size if not for the university.”
Jeff Dobie, owner of Fatty’s Pub and Grille: “It would be hard to support
a business of our size if not for the university.”

A new economic analysis points to the significance of NIU as an economic driver – not only in DeKalb but across the northern Illinois region.

The analysis places a “conservative estimate” of NIU’s economic impact at $900 million a year. Nearly 12,900 jobs, with a total payroll of $423 million, directly or indirectly depended on the university in fiscal year 2014-15.

Even the most local of small businesses feel the impact.

When the NIU academic year is in full swing, along with Huskie sporting events, Fatty’s Pub and Grille employs as many as 70 workers, including about a dozen full-timers. The restaurant just completed more than $500,000 in significant additions.

“NIU is the main reason a lot of businesses are here,” owner Jeff Dobie says.

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