Local entrepreneurs open up businesses despite financial uncertainty amid COVID-19


ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Those who have their own shops for years know now is a tough time to be a business owner. People who are opening up for the first time face an even tougher challenge. However, we heard from two entrepreneurs on why the pandemic isn’t going to get in the way of their dreams.

Alex Cando and Ritchie Lane are wearing similar shoes as they prepare to open their businesses for the first time.

While the two are opening at a time when many business are struggling, Lane is optimistic he’ll weather the storm.

“I don’t think the public is going to let me down,” said Lane, the owner of Ritchie’s Smokin’ BBQ.

“It’s going to be exciting and a little nerve racking but you know I’ve been working on this for quite some time and out in a plan of action but everything is going to be ready to go when someone shows up,” Lane added.

His Machesney Park restaurant has four tables and he’s ready to fill anyone’s barbecue craving. As he’s been on working on his dream restaurant for years, he’s not going to let last-minute safety adjustments stop him.

“We have one window will be cash or credit the other will be set up as just cash,” Lane explained.

Urban Forest Craft Brewing owner Alex Cando held his grand opening in Rockford on Saturday, even though he said it wasn’t as grand as he would have preferred.

“It was still exciting and great it’s just a bummer that we can’t do the full blown open that we had planned originally,” Cando explained.

Cando said he simply, ‘couldn’t stay on the pause button any longer.’ Even though the timing wasn’t ideal, he looked at it as ‘now or never.’

“We had to get it open we had to start this in any way shape, any color and form we could.” Cando added.

The risk paid off, selling 700 of their 32-oz ‘growlers.’

Urban Forest Craft Brewing is offering beer online for those who want to stay socially distant. Ritchie’s Smoking’ BBQ is set to open Wednesday, June 3rd.


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