More than 10 years ago a handful of friends and I were in the early stages of opening our own hookah lounge in Rockford. We met with a product supplier, found an ideal location, and even landed a permit to operate in the city. Unfortunately, there was a financial hiccup that forced up to back out of that plan. It sucked. But, many years later, someone else is opening a spot in the center of Rockford.

The location of this new hookah lounge is the vacant property once known as Fatty's McGee's. This week some Rockford City Council members gave it their approval, but not all of them.

The Significance of the Location

Anyone who partook (or partakes) in hookah will likely agree this is a prime location for such a business. One person who will argue this is Rockford Alderman Frank Beach. Here's his quote shared by WIFR.

I thought perhaps with the proximity with the college and the shopping area that it may not be necessarily the most conducive for that kind of a lounge in the area.

He is, of course, entitled to his opinion, just as I am with this article. But here's where the disconnect lies, it's a quick jog from Rockford University (an important age group for such an operation) and in the center of the city. The issue at large is an older generation making decisions for a younger city.

Don't take this as a personal attack on Mr. Beach, a beloved representation of Rockford residents. It's no secret in his 41 years of service to the city, he's played big roles in Rockford's evolution. It is my opinion that new ideas are not always bad and should be reviewed thoroughly by our elected officials before being frowned upon.

Here's My Point

Any business that feels like they don't align with their alderperson's values may feel they will be negatively impacted in the future. Instead, a new business that will be generating revenue out of any long-time vacant property in Rockford should be celebrated.

Construction Photos And More Of Rockford MetroCentre / BMO Harris Bank Center

JB Love is ½ of  Q98.5's Lil Zim & JB In The Morning, weekday mornings from 5:00 a.m. to 10 a.m. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram.

Get our free mobile app

[h/t WIFR]