Biz Buzz: Coffee shop opens new location; new Central Avenue shop; Dubuque entrepreneur grows business

Business tidbits from around the tri-state area. This week, we highlight developments in Dubuque.

A coffee shop with a big local following is settling into another Dubuque location.

Charlotte’s Coffee House Drive Thru opened its doors within the Hartig Drug at 1600 University Ave. about two weeks ago, according to manager Tim Rusk.

This cafe is the second full-time one for Charlotte’s, which also operates a full-time location at 1104 White St. Charlotte’s also offers a food truck and operates a kiosk on the Medical Associates east campus.

In choosing where to open its new coffee house, Charlotte’s carefully considered its surroundings.

“The location is great,” Rusk said. “It is right next to (UnityPoint Health) Finley (Hospital), there are a lot of schools nearby, and so many people live close to it. Plus, with these two roundabouts, the access in and out is a breeze.”

Hartig Drug CEO Charlie Hartig also sees the new Charlotte’s location as a nice fit for the area.

“Our location on University and Grandview is a neighborhood-focused store, and Charlotte’s will be a great complement to the current offerings,” he said via email.

In addition to offering a drive-thru, customers can order drinks and food within Hartig Drug.

To Hartig, the partnership furthers efforts to work closely with local businesses.

“Hartig Drug has made strategic decisions to increase the support of tri-state entrepreneurs and small businesses in its product offerings, which is more important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hartig wrote.

Charlotte’s Coffee House Drive Thru has the same, full drink menu as its downtown location. It also boasts a food menu based around “simplicity and speed,” according to Rusk. Available items include acai bowls, cold wraps and hot burritos.

Rusk said a half-dozen workers recently were hired, bringing the total number of Charlotte’s employees to 39. Many workers log hours at multiple Charlotte’s locations, he noted.

Charlotte’s Coffee House Drive Thru is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The business will celebrate its grand opening on Nov. 2 and adopt expanded hours afterward.


To longtime Dubuque resident Erica Brewer, the recent opening of her downtown boutique represents a dream come true.

Belle Allure Minkz and Boutique opened earlier this month at 1680 Central Ave.

The business sells jewelry, purses, shoes, eyelashes, outerwear and a variety of other items. Brewer also applies eyelash strips and creates customized fur items.

“I have always been into fashion, makeup, earrings and looking nice,” she said. “I feel like this is adding a splash of color and bringing something new to the area.”

Brewer said the business occupies a building that long housed a barbershop. She moved into the property in July and commenced a string of renovations.

“We decided to tear down everything and start from scratch,” she said.

The business is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. For now, Brewer is the sole worker at her business.

“It is definitely worth all the hours,” she said. “When you start a new business, there are going to be some bumps in the road. But once you get over them, that is very exciting. I am living the dream.”

Belle Allure Minkz and Boutique can be reached at 563-235-9115.


A multi-faceted, Dubuque-based business with close ties to University of Iowa is continuing to branch out and build its customer base.

Zoarc was launched by Dubuque resident Connor Weitz in 2016. The business sells apparel, offers health coaching and coordinates community-building events that feature University of Iowa athletes.

“The purpose is to inspire, motivate, educate and help people become a better version of themselves,” said Weitz.

He graduated from University of Iowa in 2015 and launched his business the following year. His ties to his alma mater continue to resonate in the business today.

Weitz coordinates events that involve University of Iowa players. This was on display last weekend, when he coordinated a visit from former Hawkeyes wide receiver Marvin McNutt that helped mark the opening of Gary Dolphin’s Iron Bar in Dubuque.

Weitz also will create and sell a variety of health drinks at Iron Bar, which marks the latest branch of his ever-evolving business.

“(Healthy beverages) are becoming more prevalent and more in demand,” he said.

In addition to these endeavors, Weitz continues to offer fitness training out of local gyms. He also sells a variety of apparel, which is available in Iowa City stores and multiple Hy-Vee locations.

Among his most popular sellers is the “Iowa Wave,” a collection of T-shirts and hoodies that commemorates the iconic moment during Iowa football games when fans turn and wave to the nearby children’s’ hospital. Through sales of this apparel, Weitz has raised $10,000 for Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City.

Apparel is available for purchase at, and the business can be reached at 563-581-1025.