Small Illinois Town Offended By New Mural, Are They Wrong?
One of my favorite businesses in Illinois recently moved to a new location in an Illinois downtown area. Admittedly, I had never gone to this town (Oregon, Illinois) before visiting Bad Ash Cigar in 2018.
I remember driving into Oregon via Route 2 and loving the scenery, it was almost relaxing. Dare I say therapeutic? The atmosphere inside Bad Ash's original location was a special place too, a charming wooded cigar lounge with comfy seating, TVs, coffee options, and a great cigar selection.
What makes this cigar joint stand out the most is the owner, Barry, who's a hell of a good guy.
I wanted to do some back searching on comments about Bad Ash Cigar before I verbally shred some of the people behind a ridiculous waste-of-time and resources meeting about some art in their fine town.
In a 2018 interview with Shaw Local, a Rockford guy admitted driving in for the cigar lounge multiple times.
Ian Soderling, 28, of Rockford, said he comes for the atmosphere, and to watch games on TV.
He's not alone and had I not visited Oregon I probably would have never ventured out that way even when after I moved to Byron in 2019.
I'm glad I made that initial trip though because Oregon is a charming little town with some great spots for dining, drinks, and more.
In July 2023, Bad Ash Cigar moved into a new location (110 N 4th St., Oregon) and had a mural painted on the exterior of its new spot. It's eye-catching and adds something unique to the downtown scene.
The cigar lounge, which brings customers to town for not only themselves but other businesses, is now under fire for not only the mural but also the business name.
Dear patrons and supporters. We at Bad Ash Cigars LLC need your help. The City of Oregon is holding a meeting about our beautiful mural on August 15th at 5:30 pm. They have an issue with our mural and it has been called offensive, as has our company name.
Offensive? Really? If the smoking cigar is the catalyst for this outrage then so should be all the beer signage in the windows of every establishment that sells alcohol.
Also, calling "Bad Ash Cigars" an offensive business name is just dumb. I heard worse language flowing from adults' mouths during my elementary school-age daughter's softball game IN Oregon a few weeks ago.
This is an example of small-town-mindedness at its finest. Surely, reasonable thoughts will prevail, at least many of us rational folks hope so.