Illinois brewery stays afloat as landlord hands back 3 months worth of rent checks

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Waterloo, IL (KMOV) — A Waterloo brewery is back open after a months-long coronavirus closure, thanks in part to its landlord’s generosity.

Tammy and Chris Rahn own Stubborn German Brewing Company in downtown Waterloo and like many small business owners, are struggling with the economic impact of COVID-19.

“I thought, two weeks, we can get by no problem,” said Chris Rahn. “Then once it became longer and longer, I was like okay, we need to figure out a way to generate a little income.”

The Rahns decided to begin canning some of the beer they brew, hold virtual tastings and even did a Bourbon yard sale to help get rid of some of their inventory during the shutdown.

Still, with other costs and about 10 employees, they knew rent was going to be tight.

“In my head I was like, do you think we should ask the Mason’s forgiveness on our rent or to delay it or something like that,” said Tammy Rahn. “We kind of talked and decided no, we signed a lease, it’s not their fault, we owe them money on the first and we’re going to stick to that.”

The building the brewery is in is owned by the Waterloo Masonic Lodge. Member Bryan Washausen said the Rahns have always been good tenants and it prompted a discussion within the group.

“We talked it over one night and decided that the right thing to do would be to give them the last three rent checks back,” Washausen said. “They didn’t ask for it or expect it, so we knew it was the right thing to do.”

The Rahns were shocked when they met with the Masons, only to find out they would get not one, but three rent checks returned to them.

“It definitely helps settle our anxiety a little bit because this has been a roller coaster,” said Tammy Rahn. “I know our staff appreciates it. We haven’t lost anybody.”

The couple posted on Facebook to let the community know of the Masonic Lodge’s generosity in a post that has now gone viral. It caught the eye of community member Angela Marquardt.

“I mean, it immediately clicked,” she said.

Seven years ago, Marquardt was diagnosed with cancer and shortly thereafter, her car broke down. The Rahns owned a car repair shop at the time and she went to have it fixed.

“About a week later, I got a card in the mail,” said Marquardt. “It had the sweetest note in there about, this is the least of my worries right now, to take care of myself, and they sent my check back.”

Marquardt shared the memory on the Rahns Facebook post, as the simple act of kindness is something she said she’ll never forget.

“That kind of thing doesn’t happen very often anymore,” she said. “I’ll always remember how they treated me when I was down.”

Marquardt said she is happy to see the Rahns getting some help in their time of need and chalks it up to good karma.

“I believe that if you do good for others, it may not happen right away, but eventually, it comes back to you,” she said.

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