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Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from across the tri-states. In this edition, we share updates from Dickeyville, Wis., and Bellevue and Cascade, Iowa.
A well-known Dickeyville restaurant is finding new life and making substantial changes with new leaders at the helm.
Jessica Fields and Anthony Gordon became the operators of Katina’s Kitchen, 205 W. Main St., in early July, shortly after the eatery was purchased by Midwest Community Development, a company that aims to revitalize small-town businesses and the communities in which they reside.
Jeremy Droeszler, a partner with Midwest Community Development, said he was eager to acquire Katina’s Kitchen after learning it was for sale earlier this year.
“It’s a really popular diner, a place that is well known for its breakfast. … If it would have closed, that would have created a large hole in the food service options available in the village,” Droeszler said.
But keeping the restaurant afloat also required the help of some seasoned operators.
Droeszler credited the leadership of Gordon and Fields, the latter of whom said she is pleased with the new direction at Katina’s Kitchen.
“Business has been picking up steadily,” she said. “And everyone seems to be excited about the changes we’ve made.”
Perhaps the most notable change thus far has been a significant expansion of the hours.
When the new operators took over, Katina’s Kitchen was open from 9 a.m. to noon two days per week, Droeszler said. Now, Katina’s Kitchen is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday through Tuesday and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday and Friday.
In addition to the expanded hours, the eatery has expanded its menu and reduced wait times, Droeszler said.
One more big change is around the corner — the restaurant will change its name to Millie’s Diner by the end of the month, a moniker inspired by the name of Fields’ and Gordon’s daughter.
SERVING UP NUTRITION
A new Bellevue business is serving nutritious refreshments to a community that has embraced its presence.
Riverview Energy opened at 210 S. Riverview St. in late July, according to manager Joshua Bush. The business serves energizing drinks, meal-replacement shakes and a variety of other beverages that help people lead a healthy lifestyle, Bush said.
He emphasized that the needs of every customer are different.
“Our goal is to get the right product in every client’s hand to make their day better,” he said.
Riverview Energy is owned by Brittany Tyson, according to Bush, who operates the business along with the help of his daughter.
Tyson also owns The Spot in Dubuque, Eastside Energy in East Dubuque and Our Spot in Galena.
While the business has been in Bellevue for only about six weeks, it has already gained a loyal following.
“We’ve been absolutely amazed by the support and the community outreach,” Bush said. “We look forward to being in Bellevue for a long time.”
Riverview Energy is open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. It can be reached at 608-330-0297.
BALING FOR A CAUSE
Inspired by the medical struggles of a beloved family member, a Cascade-based business is steadily growing and continuing to meet the needs of everyone from farmers to business owners.
Bale Barn was launched in 2014, according to owner Mark Knuth. The business provides clients with small, square hay and straw bales.
Knuth said he decided to launch the business shortly after learning that his grandson Colin was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic neuromuscular disease that destroys the nerves controlling voluntary muscle movement.
“I wanted to create a business that I could manage and donate part of the profits to this cause,” Knuth recalled, noting that a portion of the proceeds from all sales go toward finding a cure for SMA.
Over the years, the company has established a growing base of interested clients, ranging from livestock owners to proprietors of landscaping businesses. The product also has been popular for homeowners seeking protection for water or windprone areas of their lawn.
Slowly but surely, the company has expanded its reach.
“About 75% of our business is within 70 miles of Cascade, but we have gone as far as Arkansas and Minneapolis,” Knuth said.
All of the hay sold by Bale Barn is sourced from the family’s farm fields in Cascade. The crops are cut, dried and baled into large round bales three to five times per season.
Some of the hay is used for the family’s farming operation, while the rest is sent to Bale Barn, located at 1193 Farley Road in Cascade. Once there, workers unroll the round bales and put them into small, square bundles.
Bales then are placed in a warehouse where they await delivery to customers.
Knuth is matter-of-fact when discussing how the company has evolved over the years.
“Every year, I think we get a little better at what we’re doing,” he said. “We grow bit by bit, piece by piece.”
Interested customers can learn more about Bale Barn by visiting BaleBarn.com or by calling 563-590-9983.