Biz Buzz: Entrepreneur creates dynamic desks; longtime eatery closes; assisted-living community to grow

Kelley Schiesl is the owner and founder of MyDesk LLC, a business she started earlier this month out of Key City Creative Center in Dubuque. The business sells colorful, customizable and configurable desks for kids ages 4 and up. PHOTO CREDIT: NICKI KOHL

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

In a sense, Dubuque resident Kelley Schiesl feels like her entire life has prepared her for the recent launch of her new business.

Schiesl officially started MyDesk LLC earlier this month out of the Key City Creative Center, located at 1781 White St. in downtown Dubuque. The business sells colorful, customizable and configurable desks for kids ages 4 and up.

Prior to her current endeavor, Schiesl held high-level marketing roles in the banking, chamber of commerce and software industries. She said these roles exposed her to a number of small businesses, giving her a glimpse at what it takes to make such operations successful.

Meanwhile, she believes her father’s job as a residential contractor stirred her passion for the hands-on work associated with MyDesk.

“Because of him, ever since I was young, the smell of a workshop is still my favorite smell,” she said.

Schiesl noted that the Dubuque area has a history when it comes to furniture manufacturing.

And as she has started her own business, Schiesl has made sure to source products locally. The wood is processed through CNC machining in Dyersville, Iowa, and the metal desk legs are fabricated and powder coated in Dubuque.

Prior to officially starting MyDesk, Schiesl spent months going through prototypes and creating the product. Schiesl has been heartened by the early interest in her desks.

She acknowledged that the pandemic, which has resulted in an increased number of people learning from home, might have bumped up the interest in her product initially. However, she believes that desks serve a critical purpose in more typical times, too.

“It is always a teacher’s recommendation for families to create a designated study space,” she said.

Customers can learn more about MyDesk by visiting mydeskllc.com or calling 563-543-4588.

LONGTIME EATERY CLOSES

After more than three decades in business, a popular Bellevue eatery has closed its doors.

Spruce Harbor Inn marked its final day in business on Saturday, nearly 33 years after Linda and Chris Frank opened the restaurant.

Reflecting on the eatery’s lengthy run, Linda said that the couple’s hands-on approach to running the business was a key to its success.

“When you own your own business, you have to put your heart and soul into it,” she said. “We were there every weekend, and I think just being there was so important.”

Even so, Linda emphasized that she and her husband couldn’t have done it alone. She said the couple’s children have worked at the business and played a key role.

She also emphasized that the loyalty of both the employees and customers was integral to the success of Spruce Harbor Inn.

Located at 30579 400th Ave., Spruce Harbor Inn was well known for its jumbo shrimp, broasted chicken and prime rib.

Linda said customers were sad to hear about the restaurant’s closure.

“We’ve made a lot of friendships here over the years,” she said. “All of the comments (about our closure) were positive, but they were sad to see us go.”

Linda said she and her husband will continue to own the building that housed the restaurant and will eventually put the structure to use in a new capacity. However, at this time, she said the family is not ready to disclose future plans for the property.

ASSISTED-LIVING EXPANSION

A retirement and assisted-living community in Dubuque will introduce new apartments in early 2021 to meet a growing need in Dubuque.

Assisi Village, which is part of Stonehill Communities, will open 10 general population assisted-living apartments and 14 memory care suites in January, according to Assisi Village Director Lisa Crawford.

“We are always looking at new ways to expand on our campus based on the demand in town,” Crawford said. “We are meeting that demand through this expansion.”

Crawford said Assisi Village has “a history of being full” and the 10 new assisted-living units will help Stonehill accommodate additional people.

The assisted-living memory care units represent a new service line in Assisi Village. Crawford said the new apartments will help serve those who are doing fine physically, but could use extra care because of their cognition levels.

In addition to the new living units, Assisi Village has significantly upgraded multiple common areas as part of the expansion.

Crawford said these improvements include an expanded kitchen and dining room, larger living room and social areas, and a chapel that can seat more than 100 people.

Interested residents can learn more by contacting Crawford at 563-583-8234.

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