Janesville68.4°

Rumors concern local businesses

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JAMES P. LEUTE
January 16, 2009
— As president of Forward Janesville, John Beckord has heard his share of business closing rumors.

“In fact, we’ve had members tell us they’ve heard that we’re filing for bankruptcy,” Beckord said, quickly adding that the economic development organization is alive and well and most definitely open for business.


Unfortunate as they may be, the rumors are likely the result of the economic climate, Beckord said.


“With the daily barrage of difficult news—whether its international, national, state or local—it’s not surprising that people start wondering what the next casualty will be,” he said. Also, with some retail and consumers service companies closing on the national scene, it’s not a big leap for people to start speculating on problems locally.”


And whether that speculation starts at the dinner table or over a beer after work, all it takes is one person to start the rumor rolling, he said.


Darlene Cunningham, HHFFRRRGGH’s manager, said she couldn’t tie any lost business to the recent closing rumors about the restaurant. Still, she was quick to try and nip them in the bud.


“We were most fearful that because we’re kind of out of the way, people wouldn’t drive out here if they heard we were closed,” she said. “We were also concerned for our catering and banquet business, because that gets booked months ahead of time.


“We thought that if people believed the rumors, they wouldn’t even call in the first place.”


Word of the impending closure of the Home Depot in Janesville reached company headquarters in Atlanta late last year. An official there quickly called The Janesville Gazette asking for help.


The same thing happened on the local level with managers at Damon’s Grill and Prime Quarter Steak House.


Kimberleigh Ott, who manages Damon’s, said the rumors about her restaurant were probably triggered by past closings of Damon’s in Madison and Rockford, Ill. The Home Depot spokeswoman said the Janesville store might have been confused with the store the retailer closed earlier this year in Beaver Dam.


“This is doing more damage to the economy than anything else—these malicious rumors," Al Sanger, owner of Prime Quarter, said after rumors circulated about his restaurant closing in December.


Cunningham said people who hear similar rumors should call the business and ask about its future before passing the rumor.



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