Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and a shooting earlier this year, J. Gotti’s, in The District of Rock Island, continues to stay afloat by reinventing itself.
“Not much has changed since the pandemic started,” said owner John Gottilla. “Things are pretty tight around here. The district is awfully quiet and there’s not too much traffic flow.”
Trying to stay afloat during during a challenging time has been difficult. But Gottilla has an idea to bring in more weekend business.
“We’re currently working on a deal with the Economic Housing Development to possibly help us out with a sliding window for night time takeout,” he said.
Adding a sliding window will keep employees safe at night, and also will be a great option for hungry District-goers late at night on weekends.
Gottilla would like to see the City of Rock Island advertise The District more.
“It’s actually a good tourist spot and it just needs to be publicized,” he said.
Before the setbacks of 2020, business was great. But now it’ has dwindled because of the ripple effect of a lot of neighboring business employees working remotely.
“With all the other businesses that were open – the attorneys, the courthouse, the Sheriff’s Department – and they were all on-site here. Now everybody is working remotely and we see probably maybe 10 percent of those people now,” Gottilla said.
A lot of locally owned business are being stretched thin, so every transaction can make a big difference, he said: “Absolutely absolutely important, every dollar counts.”