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James Altenhein, owner of Windy Hills Farms and Gardens
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Veteran Works with WIU Offices to Launch Gourmet Popcorn Business

November 8, 2019

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MACOMB, IL -- This fall, you can find James Altenhein, owner of Windy Hills Farms and Gardens, hosting tours and field days educating the community about his newest venture, Catahoula Blue, gourmet popcorn.

What many may not know about the gourmet grower is he recently received status as a verified Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB) through the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs.

Altenhein was referred to the Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Center at Western Illinois University (IL PTAC @ WIU) by the VA's Veteran Business Outreach Center. The IL PTAC @ WIU has one of the five counselors in Illinois who are trained to assist veteran owned firms with the verification process. The counselor at WIU assisted Mr. Altenhein by providing resources and troubleshooting questions about the process.

In addition to working the PTAC, Altenhein has been working with WIU's Small Business Development Center (IL SBDC @ WIU). The SBDC has helped many other facets of the business. After Altenheim attended a business writing workshop presented by the IL SBDC at WIU, he continued to work with the center, preparing a marketing plan for his popcorn and his fall field day at the farm. Future demos, farm tours and classes are in the works.

"Mr. Altenhein typifies a Veteran entrepreneur," said Theresa Ebeler, director of PTAC. "He is organized, strong willed and adaptive. I am thankful that he is utilizing the program and resources at Western Illinois University for business development."

The Illinois PTAC and SBDC of WIU celebrates his verification achievement and his commitment to educating the community about this beautiful, centennial family farm.

Windy Hills Farms and Garden is located in Quincy, IL. The popcorn can be found at Popping on Main and Edgewood Orchard, with more locations to come. For more information on the farm, visit

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations