Biz Buzz: Duck farm hatches in Dubuque County; new Galena champagne bar; Epworth auto business growing

Owner Jeff Friedman feeds the ducks at Treeline Farm in Zwingle, Iowa, on Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. PHOTO CREDIT: NICKI KOHL

Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from around the tri-state area. This week, we highlight developments in the Zwingle area and Epworth, Iowa, and Galena, Ill.

After establishing a farm just north of Zwingle, a Dubuque native is supplying local businesses and residents with an item rarely found in the region.

Jeff Friedman founded Treeline Farm earlier this year and has tended to hundreds of ducks on the property ever since. About five weeks ago, they started laying eggs, supplying local consumers with a scarce item in the process.

Friedman grew up in the Dubuque area but lived outside the region for most of the past decade. He returned to Dubuque County in late 2019 and moved to the farm shortly thereafter. In March, he truly set his plan in motion by purchasing ducklings.

“When most people heard that I was getting ducks, they thought I would get 25,” he said. “I ended up getting 400.”

Throughout 2020, getting the duck farm up and running has been a full-time job for Friedman. He said he built a barn for the ducks and erected a fence on the property so they had room to roam.

Now that they are producing eggs, Friedman has truly learned how sought-after the products are.

“Duck eggs are almost non-existent in the area,” Friedman said. “You go to local stores or local farmers markets, and they are very hard to find. But these eggs are part of a growing trend out in other parts of the country.”

In addition to being physically larger than chicken eggs, Friedman said duck eggs offer different nutritional benefits.

He claimed they have more vitamin E, protein and magnesium than their chicken-produced counterparts. Friedman also noted that duck eggs are often safe for people allergic to chicken eggs.

Friedman said the eggs are available at restaurants in Dubuque and Galena, as well as local farmers markets and multiple grocery stores in Dubuque. Friedman also sells the eggs directly to customers via his website at treeline-farm.com.

NEW GALENA BUSINESS

A new Galena business is poised to open its doors next month, and its owners hope the fresh offering creates a sense of joy in the midst of a difficult year.

Champagne on Main will open its doors at 116 S. Main St. at some point in September, according to co-owner Lisa Kempner. True to its name, the business will serve a wide variety of champagne products, as well as cocktails, beer and wine.

Kempner co-owns the operation with her sister Laura Kempner. Lisa said the duo concocted the idea for the business about five years ago during a trip to California.

“We went into a champagne bar that was run by two sisters, and we decided that we needed to start a business like that,” Lisa recalled. “When this building (in Galena) became available, we realized we could really do this.”

The building at 116 S. Main formerly housed an art gallery, according to Lisa Kempner. But she believes the facility — which includes an outdoor courtyard — will serve as an ideal venue for the new champagne bar.

Kempner acknowledged opening a new business in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic is not an ideal scenario. On the other hand, she believes the business could provide a rare opportunity for excitement in a year marked by bad news and economic recession.

“We hope this shows people businesses aren’t just closing,” Kempner said. “They are also opening and good things are still happening.”

AUTO SHOP CONTINUES GROWTH

Since launching in late 2017, an auto repair business in Epworth has continued to grow.

Bourek’s Certified Auto Service, 625 E. Main St., recently received a $116,000 loan through E.C.I.A. Business Growth Inc., a division of East Central Intergovernmental Association.

Owner Daniel Bourek said the loan will allow him to purchase the building that he currently leases. He framed this acquisition as the latest step forward for a small business that started with modest expectations and has slowly but steadily expanded ever since.

“Our numbers have increased year to year, and that has remained true even with the pandemic,” said Bourek. “Since we opened, we’ve been honest with people, and we’ve done honest work. That has helped us to grow naturally.”

Bourek’s opened in November 2017 and initially occupied a single unit within the three-unit structure at 625 E. Main St. The business doubled its shop space last fall, according to Bourek.

Bourek said the business began as a one-man operation and now has two workers, including Bourek. He said he is planning to hire another full-time worker in the near future.

Bourek’s Certified Auto Service can be reached at 563-876-3007.