Biz Buzz: Dubuque groomers expand; dental techs aim to grow lab; Galena woman starts gluten-free baking business

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

A Dubuque couple recently relocated and expanded their grooming business to offer boarding and day care services for dogs.

Nikki Hargrove and Omar Finley opened F.U.R. on 14th last month at 490 E. 14th St. The location is the former home of A&G Electric, which moved to 10501 Iowa 3, next to Minnesota Furniture.

Hargrove and Finley have been groomers for more than 20 years.

“We just wanted a space that was safe and stressless for dogs,” Hargrove said. “We’re really excited to grow into the space and see what we do.”

The couple’s grooming business previously was known as Paws Mahal Pet Spa and located at 942 Main St. Hargrove and Finley opened that location in July 2018.

Hargrove said they were looking for a new location to expand, as the Main Street spot only spanned 350 square feet. With the expanded services and new location, which is 5,000 square feet, Hargrove said they decided to rebrand the business.

“We really like taking dogs that are fearful and nervous and making them feel comfortable in our care,” Hargrove said.

In addition to the owners, the business currently has one other employee and an intern. Their current dog capacity is 16, though that could grow with more employees.

Hargrove noted that F.U.R. on 14th is safety, CPR and color certified, and the building has 24-hour security for boarded dogs. Hargrove is certified to groom cats, as well.

Hargrove and Finley aim to expand even further going forward, with plans to construct an outdoor dog park on their property in the spring. They also hope to do birthday parties and other events in the future.

“We want to ‘spread fur all over this town’ — that’s our motto,” Finley said. “It’s been a blessing (opening the new location). It’s been a dream that we’ve sat and talked about late at night.”

F.U.R. on 14th’s day care and grooming services are available on weekdays, and boarding is available daily. The business can be reached at 563-495-1527 or via email at

Dubuque dental technicians aim to expand lab

After starting their own dental lab, two Dubuque dental technicians plan to expand further.

Dubuque DenTech Services opened two years ago at 2424 Meinen Court, in the space formerly occupied by The Coin Shop.

The lab was started by Cindy Hoerner and Vic Huff, who have a combined 85 years of experience in dental lab work. The two began by partnering with Hiawatha, Iowa-based Studio 32 Dental Laboratory and doing local lab deliveries.

“It’s just amazing how, during the (COVID-19) pandemic, we sat in an empty building with a card table and chairs for almost six months,” Hoerner said. “We did (lab) pickup and deliveries but had no equipment. It was a slow process to start, and it took a year to get the equipment up and running.”

Now, Hoerner said, she and Huff run a full-service dental lab, doing cosmetic work and implants for clients. They also have expanded to be a five-person operation.

Hoerner said she hopes to grow to eight employees in the near future and possibly even expand into the space next to the current lab.

“We’re hoping to expand and gain more customers in the future,” she said. “Right now, we’re basically doing what we can handle with the five of us.”

Dubuque DenTech Services is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday. The lab can be reached at 563-583-6902.

Galena woman starts business featuring gluten-free eats

A Galena woman has started a baking business targeted toward people following gluten-free diets, as she does.

Nia McCarthy officially launched Galena Gluten Free Bakeshop online last month, though she started selling her baked goods at a farm stand at Murphy’s Gardens in Galena over the summer.

McCarthy was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2012, which meant she had to convert to a gluten-free diet. After finding items that were expensive and “tasted horrible,” McCarthy said she started figuring out how to make regular recipes without gluten.

“For the Dutch apple pie that I make, I tested 80 pie crusts to get the right consistency I was happy with,” she said.

McCarthy said her love of baking came from her family, which includes many bakers, chefs and restaurateurs.

“Most of my clients are celiac,” McCarthy said. “But there are people who aren’t who love (the baked goods) and can’t tell that they’re gluten-free. That was actually my goal: to make something gluten-free that doesn’t taste like it’s gluten-free. It’s just been going great.”

McCarthy started selling a few baked items a week this past summer at Murphy’s Gardens, where she gets items for her garden.

“That led to people demanding where they can get more stuff after the farm stand closed,” she said.

She now sells a wide variety of items, noting that she just “mastered” her cinnamon roll recipe and will sell pies for the Thanksgiving holiday.

“You can go to a lot of bakeries, and they do produce a few gluten-free items, but they’re usually sold individually,” she said. “I give people the opportunity to buy an entire pie or a dozen turtle brownies. … (The business) gives me extra money, being retired. It keeps my mind busy and my hands busy. It’s been working out extremely well.”

More information on Galena Gluten Free Bakeshop can be found on Facebook.