Local Business Owners Take A Gamble On A New Coffee Shop

- ROCKFORD - An abandoned and run down building that sits vacant on Charles Street in Rockford is becoming an eyesore. So, two local business owners would like to take it off of the city of Rockford’s hands and transform this building into a coffee shop.  “We invested in a property in the city of rockford that is an eyesore. We are going to spend a lot of money fixing it up. It is going to be a legitimate business and coffee shop.” Said Benny Salamone

But the Salamone Brothers are receiving push back from the city council because not only would the proposed Caesars Place coffee shop offer drinks, but also slot machines. “We just want everyone to know that we are going to be a coffee shop with gaming. Not a gaming parlor with coffee.” Said Salamone

Gambling parlors have become a touchy topic at city council there are currently 80 gaming areas in Rockford.  The Rockford city council controls these gambling parlors through liquor licenses, and some alderman say they are fed up with local businesses relying solely on slot revenue. “My problem comes in when the slot machines are your business, and something else like sandwiches, or coffee is just an insignificant piece.” Said Alderman Thomas McNamara

Just in the month of July, the City of Rockford has made $92,155.87 on local slot machines, and the state of Illinois has raked in $460,780.54 from local gamblers. “If you look at the numbers we are not winning. It does not pay off in the long run to keep pumping your money in those machines.” Said Alderman McNamara

Caesars Place coffee shop would be the third slot machine parlor on Charles Street. The council is working to come up with a plan that will not penalize Caesars Place coffee shop, because they do want the area to continue to change and bring in new businesses. Alderman Joseph Chiarelli said he supports the coffee shop opening on Charles Street. “I really feel that with that type of investment in the area, it is worthy to be approved.” 

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