Biz Buzz: Fabric store opens new location; Dyersville movie site in national spotlight; Galena manufacturing facility for sale

Victoria Timmerman, of Potosi, Wis., shops for fabric at JoAnn in Dubuque on Friday, Oct. 25, 2019. PHOTO CREDIT: JESSICA REILLY

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

A chain store providing sewing, fabric and art supplies has moved to a new Dubuque location, bulking up its square-footage and staffing in the process.

Joann moved into its new location at 2600 Dodge St. on Friday. It previously had been located at 555 John F. Kennedy Road.

The new space boasts about 18,000 square feet and is 30% larger than the previous location. Meanwhile, the retailer has increased its Dubuque staff from around 10 workers to 30 employees.

Assistant Store Manager Jaime Schueler believes the new location will allow Joann to take a significant step forward.

“We were simply outgrowing our old space,” Schueler said. “There are a ton of new things that we will now be able to offer our customers.”

In addition to showcasing more product, Joann will provide visitors a more hands-on experience.

Customers can demo products such as sewing or quilting machines. They also can participate in classes that teach skills such as sewing or crocheting.

Joann is located within the Plaza 20

shopping center, occupying a portion of the building that formerly housed Kmart. Earlier this year, a new Veterans Affairs clinic moved into a 22,000-square-foot portion of that same building.

Schueler said Joann is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Sunday.

The Joann store near Kennedy Mall closed Wednesday, Schueler said.

Kennedy Mall spokesman Joe Bell said multiple entities are interested in that space. It could house either a retail venue or an entertainment attraction.

“There are a couple different possibilities, but we are not ready to reveal those just yet,” he said.

DYERSVILLE IN NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT

The first Major League Baseball game in Iowa history is still more than nine months away.

However, Dubuque County already is being thrust into the national spotlight.

A 30-second advertisement for next year’s tilt between the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox has appeared multiple times throughout the course of the World Series, which commenced Tuesday.

The game is slated for Aug. 13, 2020, at the Field of Dreams movie site in Dyersville.

Local economic development officials took notice that the iconic movie site was featured during the World Series.

“It was unbelievable to see it there,” said Jacque Rahe, executive director of the Dyersville Economic Development Corp. “I think when we saw that, it really started to sink in what a big deal this is.”

The commercial featured scenes from the 1989 movie as well as more recent footage from the Dyersville site. It also incorporated video of modern-day stars, including Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge and White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito.

Next year’s game will be played in a new, 8,000-seat ballpark constructed near the ball diamond where the classic film was shot.

Rahe said area governmental and economic leaders are in talks with Major League Baseball about other events that could accompany next year’s game. These activities could be spread out over multiple days before or after the game.

“We’re all gearing up for next year,” Rahe said. “We want to be a very good host for Major League Baseball and all our visitors.”

OFFICIALS HOPEFUL ABOUT GALENA SITE

As a major employer prepares to leave Galena, Ill., local economic development officials are holding out hope that a new business soon will fill its shoes.

Northwest Illinois Economic Development Executive Director Emily Legel said Honeywell is “winding down” operations and will leave its facility at West Chetlain Lane by March of 2020.

She said the 72,000-square-foot building is now on the market and noted that Northwest Illinois Economic Development is hoping to spread awareness about the property’s availability.

“There are not a lot of quality manufacturing spaces in the area,” she said. “This is one of the largest in the region and it will soon be vacant. (Companies) might not realize that the building they are looking for is located right here in northwest Illinois.”

The building has a listed sales price of $1.2 million. According to Legel, there already has been some interest.

Honeywell is an international manufacturer that had about 50 employees in Galena. Legel said the impending departure of the company has dealt a blow to the morale of Galena residents.

“It is sad to see a major manufacturer leave,” she said. “(The Galena economy) is obviously focused a lot on tourism, but we want to keep our economy diverse and see manufacturing grow.”

Whitney Ellis, a senior public relations specialist for Honeywell, confirmed via email that the company is “in the process of talking to potential buyers for the site.”

She wrote that the Galena closure is part of a “streamlining effort” that will end up adding about 125 new jobs to Honeywell’s Freeport, Ill., facility, with nearly 100 being added so far.