Biz Buzz: Dubuque coffee shop plans second site; ED bar closes; Garnavillo child care center expands

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Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from across the tri-state area. This edition highlights developments in Dubuque and Garnavillo, Iowa, and East Dubuque, Ill.

A Dubuque coffee shop plans to open a second location soon.

Wayfarer Coffee, which currently operates a café on Washington Street and a roasting facility on Cedar Cross Court, will open Wayfarer Coffee West at 2728 Asbury Road.

Owner Darin Shireman has worked at various coffee businesses since 2003, starting at Badger Bros. Coffee in Platteville, Wis., which he owned from 2010 to 2020. After selling that business, he opened Wayfarer Coffee’s roasting facility. In October 2021, he took ownership of coffee shop Inspire Café at 955 Washington St., changing its name to Wayfarer Coffee.

“The plan had always been that we wanted to do multi-location,” he said. “We want to build a small chain in and around Dubuque.”

The space that will house Wayfarer Coffee West was the longtime home of coffee shop One Mean Bean, which closed last year. Shireman said he received a phone call from the property’s landlord letting him know the space was available to lease and “knew we had to jump at it.”

“I distinctly remember when I was new in the coffee business myself and coming here, and it was just such a cool shop,” he said. “I felt like I had some level of responsibility to try and make a go of it here, so this didn’t just disappear.”

He said preparing Wayfarer Coffee West to open has involved a “full face-lift” of the space, including refinishing floors, repainting and installing new lighting.

Unlike the Washington Street location, Wayfarer Coffee West will not have a full commercial kitchen, though Shireman said the menu still will include fresh grab-and-go food items prepared at the business’ downtown location.

The main focus of the shop will be the drink menu, with all coffee products roasted at Wayfarer’s Dubuque roasting facility.

“What we really want to do out here is go back to the roots of a coffee shop,” he said. “In general, the industry has moved to where if you have a coffee shop, it’s half a restaurant, and that’s not a bad thing, but I feel like this location is absolutely perfect to focus on the quality of the drinks and make the experience perfect every time.”

Shireman hopes to open the shop by early February. He said it initially will have limited hours, but he eventually plans to expand into later afternoon hours.

Interested patrons can keep tabs on Wayfarer Coffee West’s progress by visiting the business’ Facebook page.

East Dubuque bar closes

An East Dubuque bar has closed permanently.

The speakeasy-themed Incognito Bar, which opened in early 2020 at 79 Sinsinawa Ave., ceased operations at the end of 2022.

Mike Meyer, who served as co-owner of Incognito Bar with operating owners Kevin and Michele Greene, confirmed that the bar closed Dec. 31 but declined to comment further. Meyer also owns The Other Side bar in East Dubuque.

In July 2022, East Dubuque City Council members approved a special use permit for Portland, Ore.-based UHCC Inc. to construct an adult-use cannabis dispensary at 69 and 79 Sinsinawa. Both buildings are owned by Dave Sendt, and Incognito’s owners previously leased space from Sendt.

Sendt declined to comment when contacted by the Telegraph Herald for this story.

Garnavillo child care center expands

A child care center in Garnavillo recently completed a sizable expansion.

Garnavillo Community Daycare last week opened an expanded facility, connected to the current center at 205 W. Watson St., which will increase capacity by nearly 30 children.

“We added four classrooms for younger children, and we added a kitchen and a handicapped-accessible restroom,” said Business Director Lisa Robinson. “Now, we’re using our former classrooms for our school-age children, so we’re able to have more space for our before- and after-school care and our summertime programs.”

Robinson said the center was founded in 2003 and has been using space originally purchased from Clayton Ridge Community School District. She added that the district allowed Garnavillo Community Daycare to purchase the land adjacent to its original center “at a greatly reduced price” to help launch the expansion.

In early 2022, the center received a $387,250 grant from Iowa Workforce Development and Iowa Department of Human Services to fund the expansion. Robinson said a capital campaign, fundraisers and other grants from local and regional organizations helped cover the more-than-$700,000 project.

Construction on the expansion began in June and wrapped up in December.

The center serves children from 6 weeks to 12 years of age, and the expansion allows it to increase the capacity from 45 to 74 children. Robinson noted that the center doubled the number of slots available for children younger than 2, from eight to 16.

“When we wrote the grant, we had a waiting list of over 25 children, … and we were getting weekly calls looking to place children in day care,” she said. “(This project) has made it possible to accept a number of the children on our waiting list. We still have a waiting list, but it has decreased.”

The center currently employs eight full-time and six part-time workers, with plans to expand that number in the coming weeks.

The center can be reached at 563-964-9333.