Biz Buzz: Auto shop gives back; manufacturer contributes to medical tents; Dubuque contributors earn recognition

Mike Deutmeyer (left) and Sam Deutmeyer service a vehicle Friday at Deutmeyer Auto Advantage in Dyersville, Iowa. The business is offering free oil changes for health care workers and first responders. PHOTO CREDIT: NICKI KOHL

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

DYERSVILLE, Iowa — A longtime auto repair shop in Dyersville is doing its part to help the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deutmeyer Auto Advantage, 1136 Third Ave. NE, recently began offering free oil changes for health care workers and first responders.

The shop’s owner, Mike Deutmeyer, said he started the promotion about two weeks ago. Prior to that, he thought long and hard about what he could do to make a positive impact.

“I eventually realized there’s not much I can do for you if you get sick,” he said. “But I can help out the people in our community who would take care of you.”

Deutmeyer Auto Advantage has been a family-owned and operated full-service mechanic shop in Dyersville since 1981. It now employs eight workers.

In 2017, the business moved to a new location on Third Avenue Northeast that boasts 5,000 square feet of space and six service bays.

Deutmeyer said word about the promotion for first responders and health care workers has spread quickly. The business is now providing multiple free oil changes per day.

He recalled servicing a sheriff’s deputy’s vehicle last week and later informing him that he did not owe anything for the service. The deputy repeatedly offered to pay but Deutyemer insisted he accept the free service.

“The next day that deputy came back and dropped off some gift certificates to local restaurants,” Deutmeyer recalled. “He told me, ‘If you come across someone who is struggling or get laid off at their job, give these (gift certificates) to them.’”

Deutmeyer said the deputy’s gesture provided yet another way to pay it forward.

And while he recognizes his free oil changes won’t solve the current crisis, he thinks it could take a little pressure off those who find themselves in the thick of it.

“The last thing they need to be worried about is their car,” he said.

Deutmeyer Auto Advantage can be reached at 563-875-7993.

PITCHING IN

As communities across the United States prepare for worst-case scenarios related to the novel coronavirus, the creation of “surge tents” that care for extra patients has become critical.

A Dubuque manufacturer is creating products integral to these medical tents.

In late March, employees at DuctSox in Dubuque began manufacturing fabric ductwork systems designed specifically for medical tents.

Dan Anderson, vice president of sales for DuctSox, said customers typically have to wait four to six weeks to receive products related to a custom project. However, when DuctSox leaders heard about the sudden need for medical tents, they decided to expedite the process.

“We made the pretty easy decision to put aside our other projects and make these surge tents our top priority,” Anderson said.

The creation of surge medical tents is widely seen as a proactive measure in preparing hospitals for a potential spike in COVID-19 patients. The tents are critical for multiple reasons, including their ability to separate coronavirus patients from the general hospital population.

Anderson said DuctSox employees quickly rallied behind the special project.

“We had people who were coming in to work early and volunteering to work overtime,” he said. “It was a good morale-booster.”

The DuctSox facility in Dubuque is located at 4343 Chavenelle Road. The parent company of DuctSox is Rite-Hite, a Milwaukee-based business that manufactures material handling systems.

DOWNTOWN RECOGNITION

A local entertainment venue, promotional event and volunteer associated with downtown Dubuque recently garnered statewide recognition for having positive impacts.

All three were recognized with awards from Main Street Iowa, an organization that promotes economic development throughout the state.

The Central Express, an event orchestrated by Dubuque Main Street, won the Remarkable Retail Promotion Award. The multi-week event led to the establishment of “pop-up” shops located within multiple vacant storefronts along a multi-block portion of Central Avenue, stretching from 14th Street to just past 22nd Street.

The Driftless, 168 E. 10th St., earned the Superior Interior Rehabilitation Award. Located in the heart of Dubuque’s Millwork District, the space hosts corporate events, galas, weddings and a variety of other large gatherings.

Main Street Iowa also recognized the extensive work of Mark Bodensteiner, who was named volunteer of the year. A press release issued by Dubuque Main Street noted that Bodensteiner has consistently provided leadership to the Dubuque Farmers Market and also serves as a vendor at the weekly gathering.