“Things have just kind of changed,” Michelle Borin says. Her son is now focusing more on the aerospace industry, she says.
“I don’t want to run it by myself and take 100 percent responsibility between this place and the Beach House.”
Ray has been running Emerson Biggin’s and Rock Island Live in Old Town. She’s worked at Emerson Biggin’s for more than a decade.
“It was just a natural progression of things,” Ray says of starting her own business.
The new bar will be called the Circle Social Club after the traffic circle in front of the business, which is at 579 W. Douglas.
“I have always been interested in that property,” Ray says. “I live in Delano, so it’s a perfect fit.”
She plans to remodel.
“It’s just going to be a lot of cosmetic changes.”
Ray plans to change not just the look but the feel of the business.
“It would be great to have a concept in there that really fits the neighborhood. Something that caters to the eclectic tastes of people who live in Delano,” she says. “We’re thinking something laid back. Very, very quality food, good service … a very nice beer selection.”
Emerson Biggin’s owner Chuck Miller is helping her.
“I’m getting too old to be doing these projects myself,” Miller says. “If I don’t have someone who’s going to be running it, I’m not interested anymore.”
Ray is the majority owner.
“The whole thing is terrifying,” she says. She believes that “a nice, comfortable atmosphere where it’s fun for people to come hang out” can be a winning combination, though.
Borin says the business was profitable financially and otherwise.
“We’ve had great memories with this place.”
Nov. 4 is her last day in business.
“I wanted to be here for the Toy Run,” Borin says. “We met a lot of great people in the last three years.”
Borin says it was “a bittersweet sale,” but she wishes Ray the best.
“I’m just going to go back to the Beach House and do my thing there.”