Biz Buzz: Ax-throwing range in Dubuque; relaxed restrictions expected on dogs at restaurants; historic meat locker razed

Eric Schiesl, owner of BustinAxe Throwing Range in Dubuque, stands in one of the business’s 7 throwing lanes. PHOTO CREDIT: NICKI KOHL

Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from around the tri-state area. This week, we highlight developments in Dubuque and Holy Cross, Iowa.

A trending activity with an old-school appeal is catching on quickly with local customers.

BustinAxe Throwing Range recently opened at 576 Central Ave. in downtown Dubuque. The business allows customers to partake in “ax throwing,” an activity where participants hurl a hatchet toward a target and accumulate points based on their accuracy.

Owner Eric Schiesl said he has received “nothing but positive reviews” since unveiling the new business.

“It’s all about being safe and having fun,” said Schiesl. “This is something that seems to be trending everywhere these days. I’m hearing from everybody that they’re happy we have it here in Dubuque.”

BustinAxe is one of about 200 locations certified by the World Axe Throwing League, according to Schiesl. The designation means that BustinAxe uses the league’s boards and teaches their throwing styles and techniques.

The Dubuque business offers seven throwing lanes, each of which measures 12 feet long. Customers can hurl their axes at a target adorned with various circles and point values; the closer to the bullseye one lands, the more points they earn.

Schiesl said the cost of ax-throwing is $20 per hour per person.

So far, ax-throwing has proven to be particularly popular among young couples, according to Schiesl. Many customers have patronized the business on dates.

In the near future, BustinAxe plans to expand its offerings.

The business will open a “smash room” in early February. The concept allows customers — clad in protective gear — to destroy various items ranging from ceramics to office furniture.

BustinAxe is open from 5 to 11 p.m. Thursday and noon to 11 p.m. Friday through Sunday. It is closed Monday through Wednesday. The business can be reached at 563-239-9211.

EASING PET RESTRICTIONS

An upcoming state proposal could make it easier for pet owners to bring their dogs to local restaurants.

The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals soon will propose a new set of administrative rules pertaining to dogs on restaurant patios. While the rules will not be published until next month, a legislative update from Iowa House of Representatives Republicans said it is “safe to assume” that the new proposed rules will make it simpler for restaurants to allow Iowans to bring their dogs to restaurant patios.

That is music to the ears of Keith Gutierrez, owner of 7 Hills Brewing Co. in Dubuque.

“I think it is a positive and progressive move,” he said.

In the spring of 2018, Gutierrez encouraged local pet owners to bring their canine companions onto the brewery patio and enjoy a pint. Soon after, he was informed that state law prohibited the presence of pets at restaurants — even on patios.

Dogs were allowed on the brewery’s patio only after Gutierrez sought and received a variance from the state. Even after getting the variance, dogs only were allowed on the lower portion of the two-level patio — an area where the brewery cannot serve food.

He said this variance needs to be renewed every other year.

Like many owners, Gutierrez is eager to see the new state proposal. If It eases restrictions on dogs at restaurants, he thinks it will be well received.

“These days, a lot of people want to bring their pets everywhere they go,” he said. “To a lot of pet owners, dogs are becoming like family members. I think this would be a step in the right direction.”

FORMER MEAT LOCKER RAZED

The former home of a longtime Holy Cross meat locker recently was razed just more than one year after the business closed its doors.

Holy Cross Locker operated for more than seven decades before it was shuttered in late 2018.

The business’s former owner, Bob Hayes, said he sold the property to Darlene Rusch in July. Efforts to reach Rusch for comment were unsuccessful.

The former meat locker was torn down earlier this month, Hayes said. He was not surprised to see the structure razed.

“It’s good that it’s been torn down because the facility was shot,” he said. “It would have only gotten worse. If you are not using a building, it just deteriorates further.”

Hayes said he misses interacting with his loyal customers and employees. However, he has found happiness in retirement.

“Retirement definitely agrees with me,” he said. “I watch my grandsons, and I do volunteer work. I have no problem staying occupied.”

He speculated that the closure of Holy Cross Locker has brought new customers to similar businesses in surrounding areas.