Biz Buzz: Local bakery to reopen; biodiesel plant running again; Pilates studio continues growth

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

Tracy Thede and his wife, Donna, have lived in Maquoketa for only a couple of months. However, their love for the community is something that evolved over years.

The Thedes, who previously lived in Denver, visited Maquoketa every summer to see Tracy’s brother, Tom.

“We always thought it was a nice little town that seemed to be changing and improving each time we came back,” Tracy recalled. “We’re excited to support that now and be a part of what is going on in the downtown.”

The Thedes will reopen Sweet Things Bakery on Wednesday, Feb. 5, after extensively renovating the property.

Tracy said the couple moved to Maquoketa in early December after deciding they were tired of the heavy traffic and high cost of living in Denver. Around that time, they purchased the building at 107 N. Main St.

Tracy said the property was “showing its age” when they bought it. Over the past two months, the Thedes have painted the building, installed new flooring and exposed the brick on the interior walls.

The lineup of products won’t be overhauled nearly as much.

“The bakery has had a great reputation over the years,” Tracy said.

The doughnuts, cinnamon rolls and cakes that have long been popular at Sweet Things will remain. The new owners plan to offer new breakfast

options, including biscuits and gravy.

They also will begin serving “a simple lunch menu,” something that was not previously offered, Tracy said.

“When the building was purchased, people were worried that the (kind of) business would change,” he said. “I think people are really happy it will still be a bakery.”

Sweet Things Bakery will be open from 5 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. It will be closed Sunday through Tuesday. It can be reached at 563-652-9833.


A Dubuque County biodiesel plant is running at full steam once again after a variety of political factors prompted a multi-month shutdown.

Western Dubuque Biodiesel in Farley takes a variety of fats and oils and turns them into biodiesel.

Plant General Manager Tom Brooks said the expiration of a key tax credit, trade uncertainty with Argentina and the excessive issuance of small refinery exemptions collectively forced the facility to suspend operations during the second week of November. The closure lasted for more than two months.

“This industry can really be a roller coaster,” he said. “What we want is certainty, and instead, we end up dealing with things that are beyond our control. We get caught up in a game of political football.”

Conditions improved in recent months, compelling Western Dubuque Biodiesel to resume operations on Jan. 23. Brooks said the plant is “fully booked” until September.

He said the plant’s 24 employees remained on the payroll during the shutdown. Workers went through training and carried out plant maintenance projects until standard operations resumed.


An Elkader Pilates and yoga studio is expecting big things as it embarks on its second year.

Rural Elkader resident Teri Marting opened what is now known as Inhale Exhale Pilates & Yoga Studio in early 2019.

The business initially offered just a pair of Pilates classes per week, but it since has expanded both its class schedules and its offerings.

“When you are starting a business, things can start slow,” Marting said. “I am a mom, and I have a full-time job, in addition to this business. Over time, I’ve been able to connect with more clients and I’ve been able to grow.”

The studio took a major step forward last month when it moved into a permanent space at 115 N. Main St., which is also home to the business G’s Closet & Gallery. Marting said she used a portion of the building’s space for classes in 2019, but she always would have to set up equipment before sessions and tear it down after.

This year, the studio has a permanent space within the building, allowing Martin to integrate her own branding, bring in new equipment and expand the number of weekly classes to at least a half-dozen.

Marting, who works full time as an accountant, first became interested in Pilates after giving birth to her daughter a few years ago. She attended Pilates classes in Decorah, Iowa, and discovered that the workouts helped alleviate her lower back pain.

She eventually decided to make the transition from student to teacher and began offering classes in Elkader. Midway through 2019, she partnered with area resident Bridget McGreal to introduce yoga to the studio.

Marting said customers can sign up for classes or learn more at