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Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from the tri-states. In this week’s edition, we highlight developments from Dubuque and Bellevue, Iowa.
After substantial renovations, a Bellevue business has reopened its retail space.
Simply Parker’s General Store, 29418 U.S. 52, opened last week following a closure that spanned roughly four months, according to owner Misty Parker- Hoffman.
“We have been crazy busy since we reopened, and the feedback has been great,” she said. “People seem to love what we have done.”
Parker-Hoffman said her decision to rethink the retail store was prompted by changes at the nearby Off Shore Hotel & Resort. A renovated bar and restaurant recently opened at that location, and crews are continuing work on a campground, which is slated to open later this month.
Eager to take advantage of the influx of campers in particular, Simply Parker’s has added a wide range of new products. These new offerings include a coffee bar, local produce, ice cream and slushies, general groceries, a drive-thru window and a wide selection of meats from Edgewood Locker.
Simply Parker’s also repainted, installed new floors and conducted additional interior renovations that have changed the appearance of the store.
Finishing all this work hasn’t been easy, and procuring certain items — such as new coolers — was complicated by pandemic-related delays.
“There have definitely been some sleepless nights and moments where I was wondering if I am taking on more than I should,” Parker- Hoffman said.
During the prolonged retail shutdown, Simply Parker’s continued to create cheese spreads, sauces and butter in the other portion of its building. The business’ butter is sold to meal kit company HelloFresh, while other products are served in area grocery stores.
With the recent changes, Parker said she plans to increase her staff from 14 to as many as 25 by the peak of the summer season.
Simply Parker’s General Store is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. It can be reached at 563-872-3065.
New burger option
A new option for burgers and fries has popped up in a familiar Dubuque location.
MrBeast Burger opened during the final week of April within the Red Robin location at 2775 Northwest Arterial.
Michael Flaherty, of Virtual Dining Concepts, which owns MrBeast Burger, said MrBeast has been partnering with restaurants across the U.S. since its founding in December 2020. It is now up to more than 500 locations across the U.S.
“It has been spreading like wildfire,” Flaherty said.
The new eatery operates out of a “ghost kitchen” in Red Robin, meaning that employees at Red Robin prepare the food for MrBeast Burger customers.
The ghost kitchen concept has been employed at other local establishments. The most recent example is the Bennigan’s on the Fly location, which recently opened within Holiday Inn in downtown Dubuque.
Tabatha Schoenberger, general manager at Red Robin, said MrBeast Burger was launched in Dubuque on April 28. She said customers can order through the MrBeast Burger website or by using the third-party delivery platform DoorDash.
“It has different ingredients, different seasonings and different packaging (than Red Robin),” Schoenberger said.
Customers can order MrBeast Burger during Red Robin’s normal hours, which stretch from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Dubuque boutique grows
A locally owned clothing boutique has launched a satellite location within a Dubuque casino.
Dirt Road Darlings recently opened a location within the Diamond Jo Casino gift shop.
“They have a great audience there (at Diamond Jo) and this will be a way to introduce my business to some new people and, for others, to remind them that I am here in Dubuque,” said boutique owner Tracy Gloeckner. “Anything that helps grow your name can help out your business.”
The satellite location marks another example of growth for a company that has seen sales rise over the course of the past seven years.
Dirt Road Darlings opened in April 2014 in the Plaza 20 Shopping Center, 2600 Dodge St., and continues to operate out of that location. The business sells a variety of women’s clothing, shoes and accessories.
Gloeckner said the business has grown steadily throughout the years, a phenomenon that can be tracked easily by the inventory coming and going from the location.
“We used to get two or three deliveries (of clothing) every week. Now, we are up to four or five,” she said. “We go through it pretty quickly.”
For Gloeckner, owning a boutique seemed like a natural progression in the course of her career.
She previously worked as a sideseamer for a garment company and, more recently, was employed as a marketing executive for a broadcasting company, a role in which she helped businesses spread the word about their products and services.
She has put that experience to good use as she operates her business.
Throughout the years, Gloeckner also has taken advantage of opportunities to lift up other boutique owners.
“The way I see it, all boutique owners are a sisterhood,” she said. “When someone comes to me, and they’re looking for a certain item I don’t have, I am happy to send them to Fig Leaf or Trendsetters. We all want to help each other out.”
The satellite location within Diamond Jo is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, according to Gloeckner. Dirt Road Darlings can be reached at 563-845-0103.