Biz Buzz: ED businesses expand; Dubuque bar changes hands; credit union branches out

Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from around the tri-state area. This week, we highlight developments in Dubuque and East Dubuque, Ill.

Two sisters recently expanded the footprint of their East Dubuque businesses.

Modern Backroad Boutique and Midwest Roots Salon took over larger spaces within their existing building this summer, significantly enhancing their visibility to customers in the process.

Abbey Weigel owns the boutique, while her sister Amanda Whitt serves as the owner of the salon. The sibling dynamic is a key to their success.

“We like to bounce ideas off each other,” Weigel said. “We really want to make East Dubuque a better place.”

Weigel launched Modern Backroad Boutique about three years ago, with the business initially operating out of the basement of her home.

A couple of years ago, she relocated the business to downtown East Dubuque and merged it with an enterprise her sister had launched, forming Modern Backroad Boutique & Salon. Both businesses operated within the same space at 115 Wisconsin Ave.

A new opportunity came into focus when Sewing Annie’s, which occupied an adjoining storefront at 295 Sinsinawa Ave., closed its doors during the pandemic. Weigel acquired the space and moved her boutique into it.

With a highly visible storefront, Weigel’s business — now known simply as Modern Backroad Boutique — is benefiting from more exposure.

“People know I am here now,” she said. “We’re seeing so many new people, new faces coming in.”

The boutique offers a variety of women’s clothing, shoes and accessories.

Now that they’re not sharing a storefront, the salon and boutique each have significantly more available space.

Whitt is now the sole owner of the salon, which operates under the moniker Midwest Roots. She soon will add tanning machines to expand the services at her business.

Midwest Roots is open by appointment, and Modern Backroad Boutique is open from noon to 4 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays, noon to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

Residents can learn more by visiting


A longtime manager at a Dubuque nightlife hotspot has taken over as owner.

Dubuque resident Brian Hoffman recently took ownership of the business formerly known as The Venue, 285 Main. St. Quickly putting a personal spin on the bar, he renamed it Hoffy’s.

Taking the reins of the business has represented a new challenge to Hoffman, who served as a bar manager at the location for about five years.

“There are definitely a few extra things you have to do (as owner),” he said. “But the goal is the same. You just want to make it a really fun atmosphere.”

Hoffman acquired the business in mid-March, right before it endured a multi-month shutdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The bar didn’t reopen until late May.

As the owner, Hoffman has implemented a handful of changes. He repainted, waxed the floors and introduced food. Hoffy’s serves pizzas, sandwiches and a variety of appetizers.

While it doesn’t offer the robust live-music lineup that its predecessor did, Hoffy’s will have live DJs on Saturdays.

For Hoffman, a lifelong Dubuquer, it is exciting to own a business in a vibrant part of town that many residents once avoided.

“Back when I was a kid, people just avoided this area (on Lower Main),” he said. “Now, it has become a great place for nightlife.”

Hoffy’s is open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. seven days per week. It can be reached at 563-239-1050.


A Dubuque-based credit union is expanding its reach with a new facility in Polk County, Iowa.

Dupaco Community Credit Union will begin construction this fall on a 10,000-square-foot facility in Grimes. It is expected to open in late 2021.

The location will be a “learning lab” that offers hands-on demonstrations allowing individuals to learn about desktop, tablet and mobile deposit services, according to a press release. It also will provide loans and other financial services for small businesses.

The retail space will be the cooperative’s first in Polk County.

Dupaco offers savings, loans, investments, insurance and wealth management products. It serves residents in 112 counties throughout Iowa, northwest Illinois and southwest Wisconsin.

The credit union was chartered in 1948, and its membership totals more than 131,000.