Trustee, on Pizza Place Closing: 'What Does This Do to Our Downtown Now?'
Despite the best efforts of Tony's Villa Rosa Pizza owners, the Village of Mokena and Trustee Don Labriola, Tony's and Great Lakes Bank could not reach an agreement on a lease, forcing Tony's to close its doors in Mokena, for now.
Front Street in Mokena took a hit April 30, when Tony's Villa Rosa Pizza closed its doors due to a lease disagreement between business owners and Great Lakes Bank, the property holder of the location.
Trustee Don Labriola and Director of Community and Economic Development Alan Zordan both reached out to the bank, looking to help find an amicable solution to the situation, but both were unable to succeed.
“I'm just very aggravated, I don't see any logic in this,” Labriola said.
According to Labriola, while Mauro DiSabato, Tony's Villa Rosa Pizza's manager, was dealing with one member of the bank, Labriola spoke with Paul Van Zee of Great Lakes Bank, and found that there was missing or misinformation at the bank about Tony's. After their initial conversation, Labriola said he never heard back from Van Zee.
“There were a lot of things that he didn't know,” he said. “From our conversation about what got told to him. He told me he would talk to his staff and get back to me. He never did.”
Labriola said that keeping viable businesses on Front Street is extremely difficult and that the loss will be felt for a long time. He continued by saying that with the bank owning the property, there are going to be lingering questions for some time about the location.
“We're not going to replace that, it's not going to happen,” he said. “We need stuff like that down there. … What does that do to our downtown now? ”
For his part, Zordan said that he also reached out to the bank, but that he got much of the same story as Labriola and DiSabato.
“I was calling to see what the problem was and kind of brainstorm to see if we could come up with a solution that would be win-win for all parties,” Zordan said.
Zordan said that while the Village is sad to see Tony's Villa Rosa leave, the two parties are already working on bringing the business back to Mokena
“He's got some loyal customers in the community and we are working with him on a couple of other locations that we'd love to see him go into,” Zordan said.
Greak Lakes Bank declined comment.