Biz Buzz: Dubuque café owner opens Galena pizza spot; Illinois resort gets new general manager; longtime Dubuque Co. business gets new owners

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

A Dubuque café owner has expanded his business resume by opening a new pizza spot in Galena.

Ryan Dies, owner of Devour Café in Dubuque, opened Artisan Pizza in the Artist Annex building at 412 Spring St. The annex space was where artist Charles Fach, a mentor and friend of Dies, created his work.

“(Fach and I) just kind of were talking, and we came up with the concept about a month ago,” Dies said. “We went ahead and bought pizza boxes. … The concept and idea behind it is doing handcrafted artisan pizzas in a very quality way, just putting fresher ingredients on our pizzas. Everything is really fresh, even the basil out of the garden.”

Dies said he and his partner, Sarah Ehrler, have made a little more than 30 pizzas per weekend since opening in the beginning of July. He noted that the pizza baking stone is made out of Fach’s old kiln.

“We’re adding a second oven, so production speed will be going up, and we’ll be keeping up with that demand,” he said.

Dies said the best way to order a pizza for pickup is through the Artisan Pizza website. He added that he hopes to expand dine-in seating as the business grows.

Dies said their best-selling pizza has been the Indian butter chicken pizza, which to his knowledge, isn’t sold anywhere else in the area.

“There’s always room for creativity in the food world,” Dies said.

The pizzeria also features a lot of Fach’s artwork for people to see.

“It’s about honoring him and the town of Galena,” Dies said. “There’s a lot to it. It was totally meant to be a tribute to great pizza in a great town with great people. We’re not trying to scale it up to any serious commercial thing. The quality is in the craft. The fortune of it all is that the public has been enjoying it.”

Artisan Pizza is open from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, though Dies noted those hours could change.

More information on Artisan Pizza, including the online ordering system, can be found at

Local Illinois resort gets new general manager

An Illinois resort has named a new general manager.

Steve Geisz is now the general manager at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa, located in The Galena Territory. Geisz has spent years in the hospitality industry, including an 18-year stint with Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark in Dubuque.

“Originally, I grew up not far, about an hour away from Eagle Ridge,” Geisz said. “So I always knew the property. Even back then, it was considered one of the elite Midwest destinations for golf, and the lake.”

Geisz said he was approached by an employment recruiter for the Eagle Ridge position, and he became the general manager in June.

“The current owners, the Klausners, the biggest selling point was them,” Geisz said. “They have the most amount of passion and drive for their property, which ultimately is what made me sign on.”

One of the biggest projects the resort is currently working on is the new Stonedrift Spa location, which has been in the works for about a year.

Geisz said the new spa, which will likely open in October, is double the size of the previous spa. The space also will feature an on-site barber and salon.

“That’s going to be an elite amenity for sure,” Geisz said.

Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa can be reached at 815-777-5000 and found online at

Longtime Dubuque County business gets new owners

A longtime Dubuque County business is coming under new ownership.

Matt and Sara Leibfried and Bo and Tara Duggan officially will become new owners of Avalon Service Center, 20756 Iowa 3 in Rickardsville, at the end of the month. Current co-owners Mark Leibfried and Dave Freiburger are retiring, and co-owner Dale Heitz will continue as an Avalon employee.

“I’m just looking forward to kind of growing the trailer business a little more in parts and services and continuing to be a successful business,” Matt Leibfried said.

Avalon Service Center sells trailers and trailer parts, as well as offers trailer repairs and services.

Matt Leibfried said the business was started in Rickardsville in 1938 by his great-grandfather George. The business then was passed down through four generations of the family, including Matt.

“If somebody didn’t buy it, they were just going to close the doors as of July 1,” Matt said of the decision to take over as owners with his business partners. “We decided to keep it open.”

He said he worked at Avalon Service Center through junior high and high school, as well as for a few years after graduating.

“It’s been roughly 25 years since I worked there,” he said. “It was always a dream when I was a kid to own it and work there. With Bo and Tara as partners, it was a possibility.”

In addition to growing the business’ service, Matt said a move to Dubuque is eventually in the center’s future, though when that would be has not yet not been decided.

He said that would bring Avalon Service Center closer to the Duggans’ other business, McDermott Excavating.

“Just logistically, it would be a better location for everybody,” he said.

Avalon Service Center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The business can be reached at 563-552-1551 or via email at