Biz Buzz: CBD business opens in mall; popular eatery plans expansion; 2 Galena businesses earn statewide recognition

Business tidbits from around the tri-state area. This week, we highlight developments in Dubuque and Maquoketa, Iowa, and Galena, Ill.

A new store selling a wide variety of wellness products has opened its doors within the Kennedy Mall.

Jacob’s Ladder CBD Boutique recently opened near the center court of the mall. It occupies the space formerly utilized by Yankee Candle, which closed its doors early in 2019.

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a compound found in the hemp plant that is believed to have a variety of health benefits. Unlike THC, which is found in marijuana, it is not psychoactive.

The products sold at Jacob’s Ladder include CBD oil and gummies, a variety of skin care products and muscle and joint creams.

Kennedy Mall marketing Director Liz Rogers called the store a “great addition” to the mall and acknowledged that the offering is unlike other stores in the facility.

She framed that as a positive development.

“Malls are evolving right now,” said Rogers. “We hope to see more things like this that break the traditional mold of what you’d find (in a shopping mall).”

Jacob Trone, co-founder of Jacob’s Ladder, said the Kennedy Mall store will be the company’s sixth location. The other five are located in Wisconsin.

He acknowledged that many are still learning about the CBD industry and what it has to offer.

“The educational component is key,” he said. “It’s important for the customers to know how long it should take to work and the efficacy of each product.”

Jacob’s Ladder employs two people in its Kennedy Mall location. Its hours align with those of the Kennedy Mall as a whole. Those hours change frequently during the holiday season. Readers can visit for updated hours.

Customers can also visit for more information.


A popular restaurant in downtown Maquoketa, Iowa, is planning a significant expansion in early 2020 — and its new location will be a familiar one for diners in the tri-state region.

Main Street Cafe, 136 S. Main St., will move to an existing structure at 101 McKinsey Ave. in the spring. That facility was formerly occupied by Flapjacks Family Restaurant, a popular eatery that closed its doors earlier this year.

Mega Ajroja, owner of Main Street Cafe, said the new location will have seating for about 120 people, nearly doubling the capacity the restaurant enjoys in its current location.

“Our problem right now is that the seating is kind of tight and it gets kind of cramped,” Ajroja said.

Main Street Cafe’s workforce currently ebbs and flows from seven to 10 workers, Ajroja said. He plans to “double or triple” the workforce in conjunction with the move to a new location.

Main Street Cafe opened its doors in March 2003 and has remained in its Main Street location ever since. Ajroja said the eatery’s name will change once it moves out of its current location.

The restaurant has placed a suggestion box in its current location and hopes customers will generate some good ideas for a new moniker.

Ajroja hopes to make multiple upgrades and improvements to the space on McKinsey Avenue before moving into that location.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us,” he said. “We don’t want to rush it. We want to make sure it is done right.”

Main Street Cafe will cease operations at its current location once it has moved to the new one. However, Ajroja hopes that old building will find a new tenant and remain vibrant in the future.

He said a coffee shop is one of many possible uses for the space moving forward. Ajroja could operate a new entity out of that location on his own or lease the space.

Main Street Café can be reached at 563-652-6679.


A pair of Galena, Ill., businesses are drawing statewide attention for their locally made products this holiday season.

Great American Popcorn Co. and River Bend Gallery both were featured in the annual Illinois Made Gift Guide, which recently was released by the Illinois Office of Tourism.

The promotion encourages shoppers to purchase their holiday gifts from local businesses. The two Galena business are among just 12 that were recognized in the guide.

David Lewis, owner of Great American Popcorn Co., 110 S. Main St., said he was “absolutely honored” to be included in the publication.

“We feel strongly about our company and our brand,” said Lewis. “It is reassuring and exciting when others recognize the work that you do.”

Great American Popcorn Co. was founded in 1994. True to its name, the company creates a wide selection of popcorn products with unique flavors.

The gift guide is part of the broader Illinois Made

program, which introduces residents to the “makers, creators and artisans” of Illinois.

Both River Bend Gallery and Great American Popcorn Co. were recognized as new “makers” in the program earlier this year.

River Bend Gallery, 313 S. Main St., features the work of Geoffrey Mikol, a professional photographer with Down syndrome. Geoffrey’s father and store co-owner Paul Mikol said he is honored to be mentioned in the company of other local artisans and creators throughout the state.

He believes being in the gift guide is providing a boost to his business. He’s seen a solid impact since becoming part of the Illinois Made program in May.

“Illinois Made has a big online presence, and people check that website before they plan their trips around the state,” he said. “We’ve received a lot of phone calls and had a lot of customers because of it.”