Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from across the tri-states. In this edition, we share updates from Dubuque.
The recent opening of a new fashion accessories store is contributing to a growing sense of optimism at Dubuque’s Kennedy Mall.
Glamvaganza commenced operations in the former home of Lids on Sept. 10, according to owner Adrian McKay. The business sells jewelry, hats, scarves, purses and other accessories.
For McKay, the location’s opening marks the culmination of a lifelong passion.
“My mom was a seamstress — she used to make wedding dresses and worked in high-end boutiques,” she said. “I grew up around fashion. I have always had an interest in it.”
McKay previously managed Dressbarn in Dubuque and ultimately decided to launch her own business. She started with an online-only venture before opting to open in the Kennedy Mall.
“We have a big variety,” she said. “We cater to everybody and have something for everyone — children, men and women.”
Glamvaganza’s arrival in the shopping center comes amid a wave of new tenants.
Nerd HQ, which bills itself as a gaming lounge, opened in the mall this summer. The business sells gaming-related items and serves as a venue where gamers can convene and play together.
Kennedy Mall property manager Dick Launspach said the mall will welcome two more tenants in the coming months.
Captured on Canvas, which will sell artwork and host painting parties, plans to open early next month in the former Pac Sun store, according to Launspach. A business providing tech repairs is aiming to open this winter in the storefront vacated by Kitchen Collection.
The spate of recent or upcoming openings comes on the heels of a difficult stretch for the Kennedy Mall, during which the COVID-19 pandemic and corresponding economic downturn compelled many of the mall’s corporate tenants to leave the shopping center.
Launspach noted that locally owned businesses have begun filling the holes that were left behind.
“We are starting to see a lot more of that,” he said. “Local business owners are looking for affordable space and finding it here.”
‘A PERFECT FIT’
A downtown bridal shop is settling into its new location and reaping the benefits of the neighborhood’s high visibility.
Vintage Chic Bridal Boutique opened at 400 Bluff St. this spring after spending the previous two years operating in the 1500 block of Central Avenue.
Owner Shelby Duggan called the new building a “perfect fit.”
“It has a vintage vibe and lots of character — the woodwork, the stained glass windows and the chandeliers are just beautiful,” she said.
Duggan opened the bridal shop in 2018 and has since watched her business steadily grow. She attributed much of this success to her emphasis on providing one-on-one appointments that ensure brides-to-be get her undivided attention.
Recently, the shop’s location has further boosted its profile. Duggan emphasized that local residents and tourists alike flock to the area, which boasts multiple boutiques and the well-known Fenelon Place Elevator.
“There’s always a ton of people down here and a lot of hustle and bustle,” Duggan observed.
Vintage Chic Bridal Boutique is open by appointment only. It can be reached at 563-581-9945.
LONGTIME BUSINESS PLOTS MOVE
A longtime Dubuque business soon will move to a new, expanded location that will allow for its continued growth.
Dubuque Appliance Center will vacate its location in Plaza 20 in the final week of September and open at 190 John F. Kennedy Road on Oct. 4, according to President Dalton Leisen.
He said the company’s recent growth led to the move, noting that Dubuque Appliance Center has been introducing new brands and increasing its product selection in recent years. The company sells and services dishwashers, refrigerators, laundry equipment and a wide variety of other appliances.
“We decided if we wanted the business to grow, we needed a better location,” Leisen said. “We’ll have a lot more visibility and a lot more floor space.”
Dubuque Appliance Center will occupy a portion of the building that formerly housed Party City, which closed its doors in early 2020. A building permit issued by the City of Dubuque noted that crews are dividing the building into a pair of commercial tenant spaces.
The impending move marks a major transition for a company that has called Dubuque home since 1967.
Leisen represents the third generation of his family to play a major role at Dubuque Appliance Center. His grandfather, Richard Leisen, and Richard’s brother, Vincent, remain the co-owners of the business, while Dalton’s father, Pete, works in the company’s service department.
Dalton Leisen believes the company’s reliable service is a big reason why it has earned a loyal following.
“We fix all of the products that we sell,” he said. “That’s an important thing for customers, and I think more people are starting to think about that now.”
Dubuque Appliance Center currently employs eight workers, and Leisen said he is looking to hire more.
Leisen said the business will be closed from Sept. 27 through Oct. 3 as it transitions from its old space to a new one. Dubuque Appliance Center is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. It can be reached at 563-556-7454.