‘I wanted to see Rock Island fight for me’: Small business owner says Rock Island sale of city-owned land lacks transparency | Politics and Elections
“There was no mention of any properties available to develop or development agreements,” McGuire said. “There hasn’t been any real effort to keep us here. I know my business isn’t huge, but as a resident I think we should fight for every business. Our taxes keep going up, and I wish there were a few more, ‘I just know the place for you.’ “
McGuire founded his business in 2014 and has since grown, selling primarily to other retailers located in all 50 states, Canada, and at least seven European countries. A skilled craftsman and carpenter, he makes handmade spoons, wooden kitchen utensils, pizza paddles, cutting boards, coffee tables, shaving accessories and other specialty items.
He also had retail space on Rock Island until the pandemic shut down businesses.
Miles Brainard, acting director of community and economic development, said his team understood McGuire “was looking for an existing building and was not interested in a vacant site on which to build a new building.”
“The city does not have any vacant commercial buildings that it could offer (McGuire), but the team asked her about her needs and wanted to accompany her in her continued search for real estate,” Brainard said. “It seems he was ultimately unable to find a suitable building on Rock Island which is unfortunate, but the staff did their best to help given the information they provided.”