Biz Buzz: Apparel business moves to Millwork District; new chapter for Bellevue company; theater plots path forward

Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from around the tri-states each Monday. This week, we highlight developments in Dubuque and Bellevue, Iowa.

A Dubuque apparel business will open a new storefront in the Millwork District this week.

The Midwest Girl will open at

898 Jackson St. on Wednesday, marking another step in the company’s evolution.

Sisters Marissa Hoffmann and Marah Odgers founded the business in 2015. At first, they utilized a mobile boutique to sell their products at various pop-up locations.

The following year, they opened a brick-and-mortar location at 471 W. Fourth St. The business remained there for nearly four years before shutting its doors in mid-March.

Hoffmann said it had become clear the quaint space could no longer

accommodate the ever-growing customer base.

“It became apparent that people were seeking out the store and making day trips here,” Hoffmann said. “Once that became more clear, we really wanted to find a bigger space that provided a great experience for our customers.”

The space at 898 Jackson St. proved to be a perfect fit for Hoffmann and Odgers, who are excited to become a part of the vibrant Millwork District. The sisters also will use the spacious property to fulfill orders for online and wholesale customers.

The Midwest Girl sells a variety of regional-themed apparel and goods, ranging from hats and T-shirts to coffee mugs and glassware.

“For people who have grown up in the Midwest, I think they really feel a connection to it,” Hoffmann said. “We help people celebrate that Midwest story.”

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected the store’s transition.

The Fourth Street location closed in mid-March, slightly earlier than expected. The virus also delayed the opening of the Jackson Street store and compelled the owners to offer limited hours upon opening.

The Midwest Girl will be open from Wednesday through Saturday weekly and will update customers on specific hours via its website and social media platforms. Those hours will expand over time, and The Midwest Girl eventually will be open six days per week, Hoffmann said.

The business can be reached at 563-542-8931.


The longtime owners of a Bellevue company have sold the business to a trusted employee.

Dale and Marilyn Junk opened Tri-State Building Corp. in 1995 and remained at the helm until this spring, when they sold it to foreman Frank Reisen.

Dale said the sale was an unexpected development.

“I was ready to hang it up and close the doors,” he said. “But we are really comfortable with Frank, and now the business can continue to serve all the great customers we’ve met over the years.”

Tri-State Building Corp. sells pre-engineered buildings for agricultural, commercial and residential uses. It also sells parts for these structures.

The business is an authorized dealer for Wisconsin-based Wick Buildings.

Reisen started with the Bellevue business in 2010 as a general laborer and became a foreman in 2012. He took ownership of Tri-State Buildings Corp. on March 24.

“It has always been my goal to own my own company,” he said. “I am very happy and thankful they gave me the opportunity.”

The former owners maintain a presence at the business to ensure a smooth transition. Marilyn lends a hand in the office, and Dale now serves as a salesman.

When Dale finally retires, it will mark the end of more than six

decades of work.

On June 1, 1958, he landed a job milking cows. Exactly 62 years later, Dale is proud that he has worked so long.

He looks forward to an active retirement.

“I’m not the kind of person who can just sit on the couch,” he said.

Tri-State Building Corp. can be reached at 563-542-1681. It is located at 25584 Bellevue-Cascade Road.


A Dubuque movie theater is inching closer to reopening, although its owner acknowledged that the industry still is searching for a path forward amid the pandemic.

Cory Jacobson, the owner of Phoenix Theatres, 555 John F. Kennedy Road, said the business aims for a July 1 reopening. In hopes of meeting that goal, it has launched an aggressive safety campaign.

The long list of new measures will include seating configurations that create 6 feet of distance between groups of customers. The theater also will space out its showtimes, allowing for rigorous cleaning in between each screening.

“We need to be cautious,” Jacobson said. “It’s imperative to make customers feel safe when they are visiting.”

He noted that the dearth of available new films could hamper the industry as a whole. Some new films will start being released in July, but the volume of movies will pale in comparison to normal times.

For more information, including updates on reopening, visit Phoenix Theatres also can be reached at 563-556-0077.