Rock Island business owner shutting down bar, opening coffee shop in Davenport

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ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (KWQC) – The pandemic has hit many businesses hard, including Black Sheep Bar & Grill in Rock Island. Business owner Shawn Cirlos says he’s closing it and opening a coffee shop across the river in Downtown Davenport. Cirlos says the combination of the pandemic and the curfew in Downtown Rock Island didn’t leave him many other options, “it’s hard to get people down there there’s nothing really that attracts them to the everyday routines.”

A few months ago, Cirlos opened Uptown Bar & Grill in Davenport, which he says is doing very well. That’s where some employees from Black Sheep will go once the bar closes.

Cirlos says he’s lost about $30,000 per month: “it’s just one hit after another. Your bills don’t change. You still have the same amount of rent, you still have your utilities, you still have to pay your employees. None of that stuff changes and they expect you to keep going.”

Black Sheep is joining Billy Bob’s QC in leaving the district. Cirlos says at this rate, it will “take years for businesses to recover if they ever well.” He encourages you to shop and eat local whenever possible.

Cirlos’ coffee shop The Coffee Society is set to open around November 15.

Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms says there will be new stimulus checks for Rock Island businesses available soon. Businesses can start to apply now.

Mayor Thoms added they’re working on a revitalization plan for the upcoming years, including planters near the stage, putting a road back in The District, redoing sidewalks, adding new lighting, and adding a new facade on some buildings. Mayor Thoms recognizes construction will also become a challenge for some businesses but believes it will be worth it in the long run.

Mayor Thoms also emphasizes the district’s curfew is temporary, and the council will vote on the next step at a meeting in February.

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