BELVIDERE, Ill. (WTVO) — The Belvidere Stellantis Plant will go idle in less than two weeks, meaning more than 1,000 local workers will be out of a job.

However, many small businesses are moving into the Belvidere area. Residents said that they have been longing for more variety of restaurants and things to do.

Businesses have heard that call in the past few months and are popping up all around the city.

“We were planning like two years ago to have a location here and we finally made it,” said Mohammed Awad, owner of Da Catch Fish & Chicken.

Da Catch has been open in Belvidere for just about a week, but Awad said that he has always seen the potential in the city. He believes that small businesses are the key to growth.

“[They’re] always messaging us on Facebook, ‘when you guys open,'” Awad said. “So, they are thirsty for new businesses, so it’s like they want to see something different to the community.”

“I think a lot of the people are excited to be able to do things in their own community instead of driving to Rockford for everything, so it’s nice to have a little bit more variety of places to eat and things to do,” added Amy Nord, executive director of the Belvidere Area Chamber of Commerce.

Nord said that Boone County is thriving, so residents should expect to see the beginning of a “New Belvidere” this spring.

“There is a lot of potential for new tax dollars to come in, obviously, with these new businesses, and it will be great for the Boone County economy,” she said.

Awad wants other small businesses to know that Belvidere welcomed him with open arms.

“Having different small businesses, it makes the city grow, and we are proud to be one of the small businesses here in Belvidere,” he said.

Belvidere City Council recently approved an adult-use cannabis dispensary as well as a massive travel center at Genoa Road and Crystal Parkway.

The Chamber of Commerce said that they are always looking for new businesses.