Biz Buzz: Beloved Cassville tavern changes hands; Apple River business expands; mall tenants bid farewell

Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from around the tri-state area. This week, we highlight developments in Cassville, Wis.; Apple River, Ill.; and Dubuque.

CASSVILLE, Wis. — Over the years, Shelly Moon has worn many hats at her family’s Cassville business.

She has worked in the kitchen, tended bar and waited tables at the tavern long known as Vogt’s Town Pump.

Now Moon is settling into a far different role.

She and her husband, James, took ownership of the restaurant and tavern last week. The business will now operate under the moniker Moon’s Town Pump.

“(Buying the business) is not something I ever considered growing up,” Shelly Moon said. “We feel fortunate taking over a business that is so established and successful.”

Shelly’s father and stepmother, Bob and Lynn Vogt, have owned the tavern for the past 27 years.

Shelly and James were married earlier this year and, about two months ago, decided they were interested in buying a bar. When Bob Vogt caught wind of the plan, he encouraged the couple to buy his business.

James Moon said he is excited to take the reins of an enterprise with such a successful track record.

“It is a staple in Cassville,” he said. “There really aren’t a lot of businesses here. This is one that has survived and thrived for decades.”

While the tavern’s name has changed, the new owners don’t plan to reinvent the wheel. Shelly emphasized that the tradition of serving prime rib on Saturdays will continue.

The Moons have, however, extended the hours and plan to augment the staff.

The tavern, which previously operated six days per week, now will serve food from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days per week, with the bar remaining open even later. James Moon said he plans to hire another full-time worker to a staff that already has seven employees.

Moon’s Town Pump can be reached at 608-725-5175.


An Apple River, Ill., business committed to wellness and locally sourced products recently celebrated a sizable expansion.

Thriving Thistle opened a new bistro and wellness center earlier this year. The business celebrated the new offerings with a grand opening event last weekend.

Co-owner Elizabeth Stocks feels that the bistro and wellness center go hand-in-hand.

“Our goal is to unify food and health,” she explained.

She and her husband, Geoffrey Stocks, founded Thriving Thistle in the spring of 2017. Initially, the business operated solely as a convenience store.

In May, the business expanded its horizons with the opening of a wellness center and bistro.

The eatery features a wide variety of items including homemade soups, pizza, steaks, chops and gourmet sandwiches, all with ingredients sourced from local producers.

Elizabeth Stocks is proud that the bistro has become a gathering spot for those in the small community of Apple River, as well as surrounding areas.

“We try to create a community environment, a place where the whole family can come,” she said.

The bistro is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Sunday and 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday. It is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Thriving Thistle Wellness Center, meanwhile, aims to provide an “all-encompassing” wellness experience. Stocks said multiple providers work together at the facility, including a chiropractor, masseuse, personal trainer, nutritionist and more.

The wellness center is open Monday through Saturday by appointment.

Thriving Thistle is located at 300 W. Hickory St. and can be reached at 815-594-2080.


One store in Kennedy Mall has closed its doors and another will soon follow suit.

Lids, a retailer specializing in hats representing professional and college sports teams, recently closed after spending five years in Kennedy Mall.

Mall spokesman Joe Bell said the retailer opted not to renew its lease, which was due to expire at the end of the month. He said the store employed five people.

Bell is confident mall officials will soon find a new tenant for the 1,100-square-foot space.

“It is a smallish space that our people can market pretty easily,” he said. “(Mall officials) knew the lease was coming up so they have already been talking to interested parties.”

Signage recently posted within another Kennedy Mall tenant, Kitchen Collection, suggested that the closure of the store is imminent.

Bell emphasized that the mall will be welcoming new seasonal tenants for the remaining months of 2019.

Go! Calendars, Go! Games is already open for business and will remain in the mall through the holiday season. More seasonal vendors could be on the way.

“We are expecting a few more kiosk vendors selling ornaments and other small wares,” said Bell. “We’re also anticipating another one of the storefront units will be filled (by a seasonal store). We are close to finalizing that.”