Biz Buzz: Dubuque business plans closure; Galena attraction featured on game show; new flooring showroom in Bellevue

Kristina Beytien, of Upcycle Dubuque, said the store will close on Dec. 12. She said the store’s sales are down two-third’s compared to last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. PHOTO CREDIT: JESSICA REILLY

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

A business in the Central Avenue corridor in Dubuque plans to close its physical location before year’s end, a decision that was prompted by the pandemic and its economic ripple effects.

Upcycle Dubuque’s last day of business will be Dec. 12.

Owner Kristina Beytien said the shop’s income during the pandemic has been about one-third of the same time period the prior year.

“Before (the pandemic), things were going in the right direction,” she said. “Then, COVID hit, and it has all gone away. We’re not getting enough income to pay our bills.”

Kristina and her husband, Craig Beytien, opened Upcycle Dubuque in November 2018. The business sells furniture, decor and other items created through “upcycling,” a practice that involves using materials that would have been ticketed for a landfill and repurposing them into something useful.

In addition to selling these items, Upcycle Dubuque hosted classes and workshops that promoted creativity and embraced the upcycling concept. Such offerings will cease once the physical space closes.

Kristina, however, said the business will continue to sell items online, primarily through an Etsy store.

“I believe in creative reuse and diverting what we can from going to waste,” Beytien said. “(Selling online) is a way we can continue to support that concept. Something is better than nothing.”

Since opening their business, the Beytiens have thrown their support behind broader efforts to revitalize the Central Avenue corridor. Over the past two years, the historic area has welcomed a plethora of new businesses, ranging from a pet supplies store to a billiards hall.

“Seeing that renaissance that has taken place here has been very exciting,” Craig said.

Upcycle Dubuque will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

The business can be reached at 563-213-4465.

NATIONAL ATTENTION

A Galena bed-and-breakfast earned a bit of national exposure last week when it was featured on a popular television game show.

A brief clip highlighting Aldrich Guest House appeared near the beginning of the “Wheel of Fortune” episode Wednesday evening.

A six-night stay at the B&B was the centerpiece of a prize available to the show’s contestants. As contestants learned about the possible prize, viewers across the nation also got a glimpse at Aldrich Guest House.

“It was a pretty quick thing,” said co-owner Robert Mahan. “But 10 seconds of national exposure is pretty awesome.”

Robert and Douglas Mahan, who have owned Aldrich Guest House since 2014, shot and edited the video. Staffers at “Wheel of Fortune” discovered the footage while reviewing multiple venues associated with the website bnbfinder.com.

“We were really glad to hear they thought it (the video) was good enough to be on the show,” Robert said.

The brief video clip included interior and exterior shots of Aldrich Guest House, as well as a brief clip of Douglas serving breakfast to guests. Drone footage overlooking Galena, which was shot by Galena Country Tourism, also was included in the clip.

The exposure paid immediate dividends for Aldrich Guest House, which saw a sixfold increase in its website traffic on the day that the episode aired.

The prize available to the show’s contestants would have included two tickets to P.T. Murphy Magic Theater and dinner for two at Fritz & Frites Bistro, although these two Galena attractions were not named in the clip that appeared on television.

Robert said none of the contestants ending up earning the prize.

“That means we got all that attention for free,” he said with a laugh.

Aldrich Guest House is located at 900 Third St. and can be reached at 815-777-3323.

FLOORING SHOWROOM TO OPEN

About one year after launching a flooring business in Bellevue, owner Justin Feller is poised to open a showroom that displays its offerings.

Feller Flooring will debut its new showroom, located at 29652 U.S. 52, within the next three weeks, according to Feller. The space will showcase a wide variety of products, including tile, carpet and wood flooring options.

Feller believes the showroom will make it easier for customers to take stock of the business’s selection.

“It will be nice to have all the samples and products in one spot,” he said. “It will be a lot more convenient for everyone.”

Feller said he spent multiple years installing flooring for other businesses before deciding to start his own venture.

While many new businesses have struggled during the pandemic, Feller Flooring has experienced quite the opposite.

Many consumers have opted to put their money toward home improvements in 2020, resulting in plenty of demand for Feller’s products and services.

“We’ve been very fortunate, and we have been very busy,” Feller said. “I have been working seven days a week since I started the business.”

Feller Flooring provides both flooring products and installation to customers. The businesses can be reached at 563-542-4597.