City presents facade grant check to The Blackstone Bar & Grill
'It's a really important partnership for us and our local small businesses’
ROCHELLE — On Thursday, the City of Rochelle presented a check for $5,000 to The Blackstone Bar & Grill owners Shane Erdman and Jim Withers as part of its facade grant program.
The program covers half the cost of any improvements made to business fronts in town with a limit of $5,000. The bar & grill at 406 Cherry Ave. is the most recent recipient. Facade improvements included a new sign, painting of trim and the installation of a brick facial.
“It made a huge difference,” Erdman said. “It drew a lot of clientele that we didn't expect, which we were happy about."
The business opened earlier this year in the space that was formerly Brewski’s and The Rack Bar & Grill. Withers said The Blackstone Bar & Grill’s branding has fit their vision for the building since purchasing it and opening the business.
“Getting the Blackstone name on there was great,” Withers said of the new sign. “When people think of Blackstone, it's a little bit more like steaks and an elevated food level, that it's not just your traditional pub food. It lent a class of distinction and what we're doing with the ambience. It's kind of new and fresh and it went with everything inside. Once people were inside, the food and everything wowed them. It was a great rebranding initiative.”
City Community Development Director Michelle Pease spoke at the check presentation about the importance of working with local businesses.
“It's a really important partnership for us and our local small businesses, because if they're not here, then what options do we have?” Pease said. “And it's important that we support them in good times and in bad times. It's very important to partner with our local small businesses. They are really the backbone of our community. We need to shop local and shop often.”
Erdman and Withers are also owners of Salt 251 and The End Zone Sports Bar in Rochelle. Erdman said he’s enjoyed working with the city since purchasing and starting operation of those businesses.
“It's amazing,” Erdman said. “It's nice to see the city working with the community and the community working with the city to do both sides. The business owners working with the city to make the city look better and the city willing to come to the table and help with the clients down here and the people that own the businesses that want to do something with the buildings. It's great.”