OK…there have been SOOO many rumors about the reason we closed our business “Douglas Street Sports Pub”. Let me be totally clear we closed on our own terms… We DIDN’T loose our liquor license…we DIDN’T get closed for any tax reasons…Elgin DIDN’T decline us another liquor license. We left because we wanted to. We opened up 4 years ago with our own money out-of-pocket, unlike most places in Elgin….we didn’t get any money from the city or any other place other than our own bank accounts. At the time we closed this amount was approaching half a million dollars.
When we first moved in we were promised by the landlord that the front and back doors to the building would be fixed and that the air conditioning for the building would function properly and cool the building correctly. Needless to say, as I’m sure many of you witnessed, it took 2 years to get the new doors put in. During that time we couldn’t cool the place in summer and couldn’t heat the place in the winter. We lost an average of 15k per month in June, July and August for 3 YEARS. Yes, that’s correct, we had virtually no A/C for 3 years. Nobody comes back from those kinds of losses…WE DID !!! We made it work and worked our butts off to do it and brought more money out-of-pocket to make it happen. Most people would have thrown in the towel at that point…but we DIDN’T. I was not going to fail but push forward and live up to my obligations of the lease even if the landlord didn’t. Stupid me. So here comes our final year of the lease… in August we finally got air conditioning after three years. Just in time for fall/winter. Whew.
Thinking things might take a turn for the better was a short-lived fantasy. Over the summer the City of Elgin devised a plan to take more money from the local bars “which are all struggling to stay open” by imposing a liquor tax. The city council voted and it was passed and took effect in July. STRIKE 1. Next in July we asked our landlord to renegotiate our lease (keep in mind we were their longest tenant ever) and reduce our rent to help us try and stay open. Rejected. STRIKE 2. Then in August the Elgin City Council decided that their loyalty was to the river boat and video gaming would not be allowed in any of the bars in Elgin. Now I am not totally correct on the amount or how it was all put together… but 4 years ago the State of Illinois raised the state liquor tax and video gaming was supposed to be available to bars throughout the state, to make up for the negative impact that raising liquor taxes make on bars. It never happened. STRIKE 3. and…We are out!!! This series of unsurmountable issues with the city and landlord resulted in us deciding to move our business to a more small business friendly neighborhood.