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Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from across the tri-states. This edition highlights developments in New Vienna, Peosta and Dubuque, Iowa.
The owners of a Dubuque County catering business and convenience store are celebrating 25 years in business.
J&D Mart, located at 6835 Columbus St. in New Vienna, has been in the community since July 1998. J&D Catering & Sweets also operates out of the same location.
“We love being here,” owner Diane Knepper said. “We’ve loved the 25 years. I don’t know any place I’d rather be.”
Knepper said she and her husband, Jeff, were looking 25 years ago to either start or purchase a business when they came across a convenience store with a small kitchen for sale in New Vienna.
“The name of the business was J&D Mart,” she recalled. “My husband’s name is Jeff, and I’m Diane. It already had our name on it. I took it as a sign that it was always meant to be.”
Knepper said the business catered its first wedding in 1999, which led to the launch of J&D Catering and Sweets. She said they always have focused on quality over quantity when it comes to the family business, but there has been steady growth over the years.
“We’ve had four expansions over the last 25 years,” she said. “We chose to stay in the same location. We live in a small town. Every small town needs a good convenience store to help the town survive. We’ve always been building on that little convenience store.”
Knepper said the business caters many events, including corporate events and weddings. She said the most popular item is the parmesan peppercorn chicken, and the roasted garlic and red pepper pasta with chicken is big for weddings.
The business also began making cupcakes about 15 years ago, with more than 50 flavors available. Knepper said the business sells about 1,000 cupcakes per week, with the treats also available at the convenience store. The business also makes wedding cakes.
“I enjoy people and meeting people and meeting couples,” she added. “The opportunity to see them on their wedding day and go up to them and know them and congratulate them, that’s some of the great stuff I really enjoy.”
Counselor opens new office in Peosta
A counselor has opened a new office in Peosta, focusing on offering trauma services.
Kelly Muratorri opened her counseling office this month at 8554 Kapp Drive, Suite J, behind and underneath the post office. Muratorri moved to the area from Texas about three weeks ago, much closer to her daughter and grandchildren in Dyersville.
“This ended up being the perfect location,” she said of the Peosta office. “It’s close enough to communities like Dyersville who really want to have in-person counseling. … It’s really close to (Northeast Iowa Community College). It makes it a walking distance for college students who might need counseling, as well.”
Muratorri — who is a licensed counselor in Iowa, Texas and Oregon — said she focuses on counseling to address trauma. She said she previously worked at a trauma center in Texas, where she found a love of working with combat veterans. Both Muratorri and her husband are veterans.
“Working with combat vets is where my heart is, and now I’m realizing people in rural areas don’t have all of the counselors that are available in bigger cities,” she said, adding that she also hopes to focus on providing services to farmers.
Muratorri is open for both in-person and virtual appointments, though she said she looks forward to seeing clients face-to-face.
“It’s been about three years since I had in-person sessions,” she said.
Kelly Muratorri Counseling can be reached at 563-661-5203 and found online at kellymuratorrilpc.wixsite.com/counseling.
Longtime Dubuque Farmers Market vendor opens storefront
A longtime Dubuque Farmers Market vendor recently opened a storefront for her creations.
Annie Heinze opened Annie’s Heirlooms over Memorial Day weekend at 1689 Elm St., near Crescent Community Health Center. The site was previously the home of Boaz BBQ and The Corner Grill.
“My grandchildren, now as teens and in their young 20s, said, ‘Grandma, you’ve told us you were going to have a store since we were small, and you finally did it,’” Heinze said.
Heinze sells items she makes by herself, entirely by hand. She said she got into sewing and crafting after taking sewing classes years ago.
“My mom was a sewer, but I didn’t know how to sew,” she said. “When she passed away, I couldn’t part with her sewing machine.”
Heinze started selling her creations at Dubuque Farmers Market 13 years ago, thinking people might like custom, unique items as much as she does. Since then, she has built a list of regulars who faithfully have come to her for items and gifts.
Heinze said she wanted to have the store in the neighborhood near her home to make it accessible and provide a nearby option for gifts.
“We think (this neighborhood) is going to be built into something great, and we wanted to jump in here while we could,” she said.
In the future, Heinze hopes to host crafting classes, such as tie-dyeing and crocheting, at the store.
“They say if you love what you do, you’re never working,” Heinze said. “We don’t work over here. We just play.”
Annie’s Heirlooms, which still will sell at Dubuque Farmers Market, typically is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. However, Heinze said she can accommodate special hours if needed, and the hours will shift once school starts and the farmers market ends for the season.
More information, including updates on hours, can be found on the Annie’s Heirlooms Facebook page.