Biz Buzz: Dubuque firm celebrates 40 years; Galena pub expanding; sisters open crystal, gift store in Elkader

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Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from across the tri-states. In this edition, we highlight developments in Dubuque, Galena, Ill., and Elkader, Iowa.

A firm with its headquarters in Dubuque is celebrating 40 years of service.

Origin Design, 137 Main St., recently celebrated the milestone anniversary. The company offers architectural and engineering services.

“We’re just incredibly thankful for our former and current employees,” said Origin Design President and CEO Pat Ready. “They really shaped us into the firm we are here today.”

Ready noted that firm leaders hope to throw a 40th anniversary celebration soon but have so far held off on doing so due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The firm was founded as IIW in 1982 by Dennis Waugh and Carl Schoenhard Jr. The firm’s name was changed from IIW to Origin Design last year.

Ready said IIW was a five-person land survey firm at the time of its founding. Over the decades, the firm expanded, eventually opening an office in Davenport, Iowa, in 2010.

The company now has blossomed into a 75-employee firm that continues to add talent, with eight more positions being hired. Ready also noted that the firm is 100% employee owned.

Origin Design moved to 137 Main St. last year following a remodel of the new space. The firm was previously located on Pennsylvania Avenue.

“It allows us to be a visible presence within the community,” Ready said. “That’s important to us.”

Ready has been part of Origin Design for six years, serving two of those years as president and CEO. Though the COVID-19 pandemic presented new challenges for the firm, the employees and clientele have helped them flourish, he said.

“We just want to continue to build upon the reputation that we have on delivering impactful solutions to clients and the community by helping them thrive and grow,” Ready said. “The future is exciting. There’s a lot of work and a lot of clients turning to us.”

Origin Design can be found online at or reached at 563-556-2464.

Galena pub to expand kitchen, outdoor dining area

A Galena pub is working on expanding its kitchen and adding an outdoor dining area.

Officials at Frank O’Dowd’s Irish Pub & Grill, located in the Irish Cottage Inn & Suites at 9853 U.S. 20 W., hope to have construction completed on the project later this month, said food and beverage director Joshua Roberts.

Construction started in mid-November, several months after the pub changed its menu and began to rebrand.

“We have a pretty large following,” Roberts said. “Our occupancy is really growing.”

The work on the kitchen will make the space more functional, he said, especially after the menu shifted away from fried foods into higher quality options.

Roberts said he hopes to add lunch options to the menu following the expansion, as well as expand the eatery’s hours.

The new outdoor dining deck will seat 80 people and will have space to host live music events in the coming months, he said.

“A lot of what we hear is that a lot of Galena caters to some of the older residents and older clientele that visit Galena,” Roberts said. “Some of the millennials and younger generations are looking for that nightlife, outdoor seating, live music, those kind of things. We’re excited about the opportunity of adding that option.”

Frank O’Dowd’s Irish Pub can be reached at 815-776-0707 and found online at and

Sisters open crystal, gift shop in Elkader

A new “rock shop” in Elkader specializes in crystals and other unique gifts.

Daisy Kay Crystals, 107 Cedar St. NW, was opened earlier this month by sisters Ashley Schoenfeldt and Myah Davis.

The two have run the business online since 2019, though they paused for a while when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. After picking back up again, the sisters found an available space in Elkader for their first physical location.

“We realized pretty quickly in the online sales for crystals that there’s something to be said about picking them out in person,” Schoenfeldt said. “Everybody interacts with crystals differently. Even if you just like rocks because they’re pretty, it’s a nice experience to pick them out in person.”

In addition to selling crystals, Schoenfeldt said they are focusing on bringing in unique gifts that would be good, fun buys for a wide variety of people.

Davis said she and her sister always have been interested in crystals, often seeking them out when traveling as a family. In the business, that interest has translated into selling crystals, minerals, gems and jewelry.

“I think we always kind of planned to work together,” Davis added. “We’re pretty good friends.”

Schoenfeldt said preparing the store was also a family affair, as her husband and parents helped put together furniture and provided support to her and Davis.

The Elkader community has been welcoming to the new business, she said. She and Davis are excited to meet tourists in the coming summer months.

“Word of mouth is really getting around,” she said. “We’ve had such good feedback already.”

Winter hours for Daisy Kay Crystals are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. The store can be reached at or online at and on Instagram at @daisykaycrystals.