Originally Posted Online: Feb. 01, 2013, 6:28 pm
Last Updated: Feb. 01, 2013, 10:07 pm

Grape Life Rock Island to close as store

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By Jonathan Turner, jturner@qconline.com

Photo: Todd Mizener

Todaywill be the last day that The Grape Life Rock Island will be open as a wine store and lounge.

Jim and Nancy Renkes opened their second Grape Life at 1623 2nd Ave., Rock Island, in the summer of 2011, but it never attracted the number of customers that visit the original store at Kimberly and Elmore in Davenport, which has been open since 2008.

"The fact of the matter is, we are just so busy in Davenport. We've got a lot of stuff going on there," Mr. Renkes said. "There just wasn't enough traffic for us (in Rock Island). We are a retail business as much as a lounge, and we didn't get as much out of that as we hoped.

"It's too bad; we loved the building," he said. "It's a great-looking location, it has tons of personality. It gets to the point of dividing your resources. The city, Renaissance have been wonderful to us. There's just not enough traffic down there."

Over the past 12 years, the 3,000-square-foot buildinghas been home to four cafes; the one before Grape Life -- Le Meduse Espresso Emporium -- closed in late 2007.

Mr. Renkes used the stylish space for private receptions and will continue that end of the business.

The spot will be available exclusively for private parties or events such as birthdays, anniversaries, bridal showers, rehearsal dinners, business events, retirements and more, with gourmet catering available.

"We'll test it out, see if that is the answer," Mr. Renkes said. "That way, you're only staffing when you have people. (Receptions) seemed to be the thing people really liked to do; we had people coming there specifically for that."

Grape Life Rock Island had two part-time staffers in addition to the owners and reduced its hours to Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. "Even that wasn't enough," Mr. Renkes said. "I think everybody gave it a good shot."

Mr. Renkes is making some changes to the Davenport store, including creating an area for more seating for live music nights. For more information, visit thegrapelife.com.