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Local News

Joliet considers rent reduction for train station coffee shop

Valentina Georgouses serves a customer Aug. 13 at Treno Cafe within the new Gateway Center in Joliet.
Valentina Georgouses serves a customer Aug. 13 at Treno Cafe within the new Gateway Center in Joliet.

Joliet may give a 60 percent rent break to the coffee shop that opened in the Gateway Center train station in July.

Business has not been as good as expected, but the city is satisfied with the way Treno Cafe is being operated, city economic specialist Derek Conley said.

“We’re very happy with the services they’ve provided, and I think that’s what’s most important,” Conley told the City Council Finance Committee last week.

Monthly rent for Treno Cafe would go down from $500 to $200 under the proposal that is slated to go to the City Council for approval on Nov. 5. Conley noted that the lease allowed for renegotiation since Treno Cafe was the first business to occupy the 194-square-foot space in the station, which opened in April.

“We weren’t quite sure what would be a good lease rate because this is a new facility,” he said.

Treno Cafe is the first coffee and food service for train commuters in Joliet since rail service was moved away from Union Station in 2014. Union Station had a coffee shop.

John and Valentina Georgouses said early on that it was challenging to get morning commuters to stop and buy something while they’re rushing to the train. Most of the commuters never enter the station, they said.

“We were thinking we would have more food traffic,” John Georgouses said Tuesday. “We don’t have that yet.”

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