Biz Buzz: Canine comfort at funeral home; new Dubuque boutique; Dyersville grocery store progressing

Funeral home adds friendly, furry face

{child_byline}BY JEFF MONTGOMERY{/child_byline}

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

A newcomer at a longtime Dubuque funeral home is lending a sense of comfort to staff members and visitors.

Stanley, a 6-month-old golden retriever, has been walking the halls of Hoffmann Schneider & Kitchen Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 3860 Asbury Road, since February.

Managing Funeral Director Scott Glover, who also is Stanley’s owner, said the canine is not a certified therapy dog, but he does have an important calming effect on those he encounters.

“Dogs reduce anxiety, and they lessen depression,” Glover said. “We know that funeral homes are scary places to enter for some people. When people walk through the front doors and see a puppy, their blood pressure goes down, and it allows them to relax.”

Stanley isn’t the first dog that Glover and his family have brought into a funeral home setting.

Scott and his wife, Samantha, previously brought a golden retriever named Sadie into a funeral home they worked at in Nampa, Idaho.

The positive results encouraged them to bring Stanley to the Dubuque funeral home. They were delighted to see that he interacted well with all visitors, including kids.

“He kind of acts like your little shadow,” Glover said, with a laugh. “He will sit at your feet and follow you wherever you go.”

Glover acknowledged that “not all people are dog lovers” and emphasized that Stanley will not roam around at services when his presence is not wanted.

Hoffmann Schneider & Kitchen Funeral Home and Cremation Services can be reached at 563-582-5222.

New Millwork boutique

A Dubuque native soon will open a boutique in her hometown’s bustling Millwork District.

Vivie Boutique will open Saturday, June 27, at 333 E. 10th St., according to owner Abbey DeStefano. The new business will be located within the Novelty Iron Works Building, which houses other businesses, including The Comedy Bar and Backpocket Taproom.

DeStefano said the boutique will sell gift items, shoes, jewelry and a variety of women’s apparel.

“We’ll have everything from casual clothing to date-night dresses,” she said. “I think we will bring a little Florida flair to the Midwest.”

DeStefano was born and raised in Dubuque, but she and her family have lived in Florida for the past six years.

“We decided the sunshine was calling, so we picked up and moved there,” she said.

Despite the move, DeStefano and her family frequently paid visits to Dubuque.

Realizing she wanted to open a boutique, DeStefano considered opening one in either Sarasota, Fla., or in Dubuque. After observing Dubuque’s transformation — and specifically, the evolution of the Millwork District — she decided that Dubuque was the place to be.

“This area has changed so much in the six short years since we moved,” she said.

The boutique’s name honors DeStefano’s three daughters, named Evie, Violet and Silvie.

DeStefano and her family will continue to spend the majority of their time in Florida. She has hired a Dubuque resident, Vickie Widmeier, to manage the shop.

Vivie Boutique will be open Tuesday through Sunday each week, although specific hours haven’t yet been determined. Customers can learn more about the business by visiting

Grocery store eyes opening

A new grocery store in Dyersville is on pace to open in the next couple of months.

Christina Gayman, director of public relations for Hy-Vee, said the Dollar Fresh store remains slated for a late summer opening. The store will be located in the former Shopko building at 1201 12th Ave. SE.

Dollar Fresh stores offer a full selection of grocery items, a bakery section, ready-to-eat meals and other options already available at traditional Hy-Vee locations.

“In some ways, it is very similar to the Hy-Vee stores people are used to but just a smaller version of that,” Gayman said. “These stores also have some offerings that our traditional stores don’t have.”

Gayman referenced a “wall of value” and a special dollar section as examples of those offerings.

Hy-Vee announced the Dyersville project in January.

It is among six new Dollar Fresh stores opening in former Shopko sites across Iowa. A similar store already has opened in Vinton, while stores in Cresco, Hampton, Oelwein and Waukon are slated to open in the coming months.

Gayman said the COVID-19 pandemic has not altered these openings.

“Everything remains on the timetable we had planned,” she said.

Hy-Vee officials are planning to conduct interviews with local job candidates on Monday, June 29, and Tuesday, June 30. Gayman said the store will employ 30 to 50 workers.

Karla Thompson, executive director of Dyersville Area Chamber of Commerce, said the city is excited to welcome the company.

“It will give shoppers an extra choice, create some jobs and fill an empty building in our city,” she said.

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Do you have an interesting story or news tip to share about a local business? Ideas can be shared with business reporter Jeff Montgomery by calling 563-588-5753 or by emailing