Biz Buzz: Dubuque bank opens new downtown branch; retirement services provider moving to Millwork District; new Galena eatery opens

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Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from across the tri-states. This edition highlights developments in Dubuque and Galena, Ill.

A Dubuque bank has opened up a new branch in a historic downtown building.

Dubuque Bank & Trust’s new location at 700 Locust St. continues the bank’s downtown footprint while also putting it under the same roof as its corporate headquarters, HTLF.

DB&T was chartered in 1934 and moved to the location at 1398 Central Ave. a decade later. But following the COVID-19 pandemic, much of the location’s office space became empty, and the bank announced in February its intention to move to 700 Locust.

The new bank branch location serves multiple purposes. Its on-site manager, Nick Neyens, said it provides clients with a new, modern brick-and-mortar location to conduct business, gets rid of all the open, unused space and will help improve working relationships between DB&T employees and those who work in its corporate arm, which is located just upstairs in the Roshek Building.

“I think HTLF being the parent company, we have been closely intertwined for a long time,” Neyens said. “And when HTLF moved out of (1398 Central Ave. in 2012), the old building they were in, and moved (to the Roshek Building) we felt that relationship growing apart and we wanted to get the relationship closer.”

The new branch is accessible via doors on the south side of the Roshek Building and will function as a standard bank branch.

“Anything you can do at the old branch, you can do at the new branch,” Neyens said. “It’s not restricted in any form and includes deposits, transfers, loans, CDs, wealth management, you name it.”

Its proximity to HTLF will prove beneficial, said DB&T President and CEO Drew Townsend.

“If you’re here and something else comes up in (the branch) and they can’t accommodate, on the fourth floor we have the commercial banking team, small business banking team and the private bankers,” Townsend said.

Neyens added, through an agreement with the city of Dubuque, that two parking spots directly in front of the new DB&T branch are not metered, for convenience.

“We have plenty of parking, come on in and see us. I like to encourage people to come in and say hi,” Neyens said.

The branch is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call 563-589-2000.

Wealth management provider eyes Dupaco Voices Building

A wealth management and retirement services provider will soon have a physical presence in Dubuque’s Millwork District.

Empower, which acquired Prudential Financial’s full-service retirement business in 2022, is moving into a second-floor space in the Dupaco Voices Building in Dubuque that will provide workspace for 300 employees who live in the area and currently work remotely.

“We are excited to be moving into the Dupaco Voices Building,” said Empower President and Chief Operating Officer Rich Linton in an emailed statement. “This is a great location for our employees and will provide us with the space we need to continue to grow our business.”

Linton touted the amenities available to employees at the location, including an onsite gym, lockers, bicycle storage, a market and live-teller machine on which to conduct bank business.

The new space will not be open to the public, but meetings can be set up on an appointment basis, according to Mandy Cassano, who manages Empower’s corporate affairs.

“Any of (Empower’s employees) will be able to utilize the space as they choose,” Cassano said. “The office has space for 30 workstations, plus meeting and conference areas.”

Emily Kress, senior corporate communications specialist with Dupaco, said the space is currently under construction and should be complete by March 2024.

Galena eatery serves up homestyle food in new location

A well-established eatery in northwestern Illinois has moved to a new location in the hopes of widening its customer base.

Charlie’s Place, which since 2006 has served up breakfast staples including waffles, skillets and egg dishes — along with lunch items such as cheeseburgers and other sandwiches — has moved from its former location in downtown Hanover to a new spot on Galena’s historic Main Street.

Owners Nia and Charlie Ahmedi, of Hanover, opened the new location at 200 N. Main St. in Galena on Nov. 9 and have quickly gained a following among their new patrons. The primary reason they moved the restaurant 15 miles up the road was to expand their customer base and serve new clientele.

“We enjoy interacting with people from the area, and they do come from Hanover, but not as often,” Charlie said. “We enjoy meeting more people, because there are more people here.”

Those new (and well-established) customers are greeted with a new interior designed by professionals from the Quad Cities, Nia said. The restaurant features a homestyle feel with some “upper-class” accents mixed in.

The new space is not larger than the former Charlie’s Place location and provides seating for around 80 hungry customers. However, the move did give the Ahmedis inspiration to modify their menu to include new toppings for their waffles and French toast, including an eggs benedict-style entrée Charlie particularly praised.

“We serve comfort food,” Charlie said. “Our main focus is fresh ingredients, and we do not complicate things.”

That sort of food service runs in Charlie’s heritage. Originally from the Quad Cities, he followed in the footsteps of his family that has operated similar restaurants since the 1980s. Their first foray in northwestern Illinois was when they opened their previous location in Hanover in 2006.

Now 17 years later, the Ahmedis believe their move to Galena has so far paid off. The added foot traffic from Galena’s bustling downtown district has kept them busy.

“We love the friendliness (in Galena),” Nia said. “We love seeing people out and about; there are a lot of good things here.”

The business is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. More information, including a menu, can be found on its Facebook page.