Biz Buzz: Dubuque business marks milestone; antique store opens in SW Wisconsin; Night Market finishes another solid year

Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from around the tri-state area. This week, we highlight developments in Dubuque and Shullsburg, Wis.

Two local entrepreneurs are celebrating the 15th anniversary of their growing Dubuque County business.

IBI Scientific was launched with just five employees in Peosta in 2004. Today the business operates out of a 20,000-square-foot facility in Dubuque and employs a dozen workers.

Co-founder John Stork emphasized that he and co-owner Patrick Mueller are not resting on their laurels.

“We don’t do a lot of reflecting on what we have done,” he said. “We’re thinking more about what we’re currently doing and what’s coming up in the future.”

IBI Scientific manufactures and distributes life science lab equipment and reagents for customers in both U.S. and international markets. Reagents are substances or compounds that cause a chemical reaction or test if one will occur.

The products created by IBI Scientific support a wide range of research. The company’s clients include commercial businesses, government entities and educational institutions.

“There is a lot of fantastic research being done, and it is amazing to listen to researchers talk about what they are working on,” Stork said.

IBI Scientific was founded in Peosta and remained in that community for more than 12 years. The company moved to its current facility at 7445 Chavenelle Road in December 2017.

The new space boasts 33% more space than the old location.

“This set-up is very good for us in comparison to the last one,” said Stork. “We currently don’t need all the space, but we will.”

Tuesday will mark the company’s 15th anniversary — and IBI Scientific has some big plans for the year ahead.

He said IBI Scientific soon will construct a new lab within its facility. The company plans to bring on a pair of new employees in 2020.

IBI Scientific can be reached at 563-690-0484.


A new retail operation is adding to a growing sense of momentum in a small southwest Wisconsin community.

Dandelion opened its doors in late September, according to co-owner Donna Shepherd. It is located at 149 W. Water St. in Shullsburg.

The business sells a wide variety of antiques, as well as a vast selection of “handmades,” which can include everything from wood creations to fabric products.

“We try to be unique,” Shepherd said. “Every store needs to be different and we feel we are totally different.”

Shepherd brings nearly three decades of retail experience to the table. She formerly owned the retail offering Tailings Country Store.

She also continues to operate Mary O’Leary’s cabin, which is located at 21875 Silverthorn Road in Shullsburg.

Shepherd said she is excited that Dandelion is part of a broader transformation in Shullsburg. She noted that multiple new businesses — including a coffee shop, flower shop and a different antique store — have opened within the past six months.

That wide variety of offerings is increasingly drawing customers from other markets.

“Shullsburg is just a small town and sometimes small towns can struggle,” she said. “But business has really picked up. It feels like we are growing again.”

Dandelion is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. It can be reached at 608-482-1202.


Despite some uncooperative weather, the second full season of the Millwork Night Market was a major success.

Co-founder Danielle Stowell said the monthly gathering set records for attendance and saw its highest volume of vendors.

The Millwork Night Market was launched in late 2017 and marked its first full season in 2018. On the second Thursday of each month, the event brings dozens of vendors to the Millwork District.

The market features local artists, food producers, musicians and brewers. The monthly events are located along a two-block stretch of Jackson Street between Seventh and Ninth streets.

Stowell, who started the market with Andie Donnan, said the night market saw its highest single-event turnout in June, when more than 6,000 people attended.

The event also observed an increase in vendors. More than two dozen vendors signed up to take part in each night market. Drop-in vendors, who appeared at only some markets, upped the number of vendors to as high as 35 in some months.

“We feel it is growing and headed in the right direction,” said Stowell.

Even so, Stowell acknowledged that weather created some challenges along the way. The event is held in seven consecutive months — from April through October — and rainy or cold weather affected the market on three occasions.

In the year ahead, Stowell and Donnan hope to increase the number of vendors. The organizers want to focus on vendors located within a 100-mile radius of Dubuque.

“We’re still looking for vendors within that radius, but looking a little further out (than in the past),” Stowell said. “We’re hoping to find vendors that offer unique things that we don’t already offer.”