Biz Buzz: Furniture store to relocate; ax throwing coming to Dubuque; clothing retailer to close

Business tidbits from around the tri-state area. This week, we highlight developments in Dubuque and Elizabeth, Ill.

A Dubuque furniture store will ring in the new year by moving to a new, expanded location just more than one mile down the road.

RF2 Furniture Warehouse plans to open at 245 Railroad Ave. in January, according to co-owner Eddie Severns.

The furniture store opened in Dubuque’s Millwork District in March 2014. It has remained in its original location at 900 Jackson St. ever since.

“We’ve loved being here, but we just kind of outgrew it,” Eddie said.

The new location will boast about 7,000 square feet of space, compared to 4,400 at the current location. Severns also is excited that the new location will have a loading dock and a large amount of free parking for customers.

The space on Railroad Avenue formerly housed a business that made uniforms and other corporate apparel. Severns said it has been vacant for more than two years.

“We’re basically taking a dead space and turning it into something vibrant,” he said.

Severns owns and operates the business with his wife, Rebecca.

RF2 Furniture Warehouse still has about a year remaining on its lease at 900 Jackson. That location could remain open and continue to operate as an outlet store until the lease concludes.

Eventually, RF2 will move all operations to the location on Railroad Avenue. It will share a building with Becwar Tile & Marble and be located in close proximity to Spahn & Rose Lumber Co. and Mountaintop Stoneworks.

“The stores there are almost creating a niche with the home improvement offerings,” he said. “I think we’ll fit in nicely there.”

RF2 Furniture Warehouse can be reached at 563-259-7272.


An ax-throwing range and “smash room” soon will open in downtown Dubuque.

Eric Schiesl, of Dubuque, said he plans to open BustinAxe Throwing Range at 576 Central Ave. next month.

The business will feature an indoor range that allows customers to hurl axes at targets. Moreover, it will offer a “smash room” where patrons could destroy a variety of objects ranging from old ceramics to office furniture.

Schiesl noted similar businesses have proven popular in other markets and predicted his venture will be a hit in Dubuque.

“I think it will be something fresh and something new to do in the community,” he said.

Schiesl said he was inspired to start the business after he accompanied his daughter on a field trip to the Midwest Outdoor Heritage Education Expo in Poynette, Wis. The expo included ax-throwing and convinced Schiesl that such an offering would be well-received in Dubuque.

He formerly worked as a manager at Shoe Carnival but quit that job to focus full time on his business.

“Starting my own business is my dream,” he said.

Customers must be at least 12 years old to participate in ax-throwing or use the smash room. Children ages 12 to 17 years old must be accompanied by an adult.

Interested residents can track the progress of the business by visiting


A women’s clothing retail chain soon will end its run in Dubuque.

Dressbarn, 2485 Northwest Arterial, will close Dec. 26, according to Cafaro Co. spokesman Joe Bell. Cafaro owns the majority of Asbury Plaza, including the property occupied by Dressbarn.

In May, officials from Dressbarn announced plans to close all 650 of the chain’s stores, a move that affects 6,800 employees. At that time, the company did not provide a specific timetable for the closure.

Reached last week, an employee at the store declined to comment and referred all questions to corporate officials. Corporate officials did not respond to requests for information.

Dressbarn’s Dubuque location can be reached at 563-583-6900.


A new art gallery is breathing fresh life into a historic building in Elizabeth, Ill.

Artists & Artisans recently opened its doors at 137 N. Main St. Owner Linda Ganster said the gallery offers an “eclectic mix” of creations from artists who sell their work on a consignment basis.

The business sells paintings, sculptures, glass art and a variety of other items.

The building still bears the signage of its longtime occupant, Bishop’s Busy Big Store.

“This building used to be the center of the community,” said Ganster. “But in recent years, it has been something of an eyesore. Its empty display windows have been like gaping holes.”

About two-thirds of the main floor now houses an art gallery. Ganster said the remaining space on that level is used as a “community creative space” that hosts art classes and other activities.

Ganster said she eventually hopes to utilize the upper level as a multi-faceted event space. In its heyday, the building’s upper floor boasted an opera house

Artists & Artisans is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays. It can be reached at 815-213-5880.