The popular country bar, Billy Bobs announced that they will be closing on October 3rd. Owner Chris Michaels cites a lack of business due to increased violence in the Quad Cities.
Michaels says that on a normal Saturday they were averaging between 800 and 900 people coming through their doors, but since the shooting last month they are lucky to get 10. Throw in that along with the pandemic and the incident in June where a man wanted by the U.S Marshall Service almost ran over innocent bystanders.
Those incidents have cast the district in a bad light and Michaels says that it’s impossible to recover from that.
“Along with that incident we lost 94 percent of our business. We were doing 22 to 25 thousand a week pre Covid and for the month of September we’ve done twenty eight hundred.”
Because of that Michaels was forced to make some drastic cuts.
“Before Covid we had almost 40 employees and since that incident I’ve had two work so far in the month of September so cutting labor, cutting our DJ out and just having our computer play the music.”
The pandemic and violence didn’t just impact his business, but also the community.
“We got to donate a lot of money. We did Billy Bobs Gives Back every week. We were able to buy 95 kids at the Martin Luther King Jr Center Christmas presents.” Said Michaels. “We’ve funded other great projects for other non profits here in town.”
Michaels says that while they are closing down, we could see Billy Bobs look to reopen in another city down the road, but the question is when.
“What do I do, do I wait a year or do I jump in right in?” Michaels said. “It’s kind of a gamble, but I would like to see Billy Bobs move somewhere else in the Quad Cities so we can continue to have great live country bands and good times.”
Michaels has 17 months left on his lease and he says he could look to reinvent the area until the lease is up.