ROCHELLE — Thirty years went by faster than Seadin Ajvazi anticipated.
The owner of Sunrise Family Restaurant celebrated being open for 30 years in Rochelle on Thursday with family, employees and customers. Free coffee and desert were offered the entire day.
“It's just kind of crazy,” Ajvazi said of the milestone. “I just want to thank everybody that's supported us up until now. We've got good support from the community and our customers. From the beginning until now, it's been good. I hope people continue to support us. Our customers have been great.”
Ajvazi runs the restaurant alongside his wife, Mida, and children, Sead, Bika and Besim. Sead expressed that the restaurant would be nothing without the community and he enjoys seeing customers, along with working with family.
“Seeing the customers for so long is the best part,” Sead said. “Some people are 70-80 years old and they have their grandchildren with them now. When all hands are on deck here with the family, it's good. When we work together, we got it."
Besim thanked the community for supporting a small business like Sunrise and said the family has enjoyed going table-to-table for 30 years and making sure every customer is treated well.
Seadin agreed with his sons and talked about what it’s like to run a business with family for 30 years.
“I've been grateful for my family,” Seadin said. “My kids here and my daughter, Bika, and everybody that's been helping. I've always been here, taking care of my business. It's been great to do it with them. It's easy with a family like mine."
Seadin called business during the COVID-19 pandemic “a little tough.” He reflected on how the community supported him during times when only carryout was allowed and how they came back after the restaurant was able to open up again.
“Without our community and customers, it would've been a lot worse,” Seadin said. “The city helped too with a grant. Since then, we've been good. We appreciate the customers and the community of Rochelle for their support all these years. We'll serve them for many more. We hope it will stay in the family for another 30 years.”