Biz Buzz: Local beer museum earns global acclaim, Farley business eases burden on farmers and accounting business opens in Platteville

Potosi Brewing Co. is located at 209 S. Main St. in Potosi, Wis. PHOTO CREDIT: Nicki Kohl

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

POTOSI, Wis. — A brewery museum located in the small town of Potosi has been recognized as one of the best attractions of its kind on the planet.

The National Brewery Museum, which is located at 209 S. Main St. within the Potosi Brewing Co., was named one of the “World’s Best Beer Museums” in an article published by Forbes Magazine. The museum is a joint venture between the Potosi Foundation and American Breweriana Association.

Potosi Foundation President Dave Fritz was honored by the high praise.

“It is very significant to us,” he said. “It certainly adds a lot of credibility to what we have put together here and how important it is to the preservation of brewing history in the U.S.”

Visitors to the museum will observe vast collections of beer bottles and cans, glasses, trays, coasters and other collectibles.

The facility also boasts interactive attractions that encourage visitors to dig deeper into brewing history.

For instance, guests can use a kiosk that allows them identify a particular city within the U.S. and learn about every brewery that has ever existed in that community. A separate attraction allows visitors to view or listen to every brewery commercial ever aired on radio or television.

The museum also benefits from its rotating and ever-changing displays. According to Fritz, contributors agree to showcase certain parts of their collections and update these displays frequently.

That keeps the exhibits fresh and encourages return visits.

“You can go through the museum one time and then come back a year later and you will have a completely different experience,” said Fritz.

During the first three months of the calendar year, the museum is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Those hours will be expanded beginning April 1.

Potosi Brewing Co. can be reached at 608-763-4002.

NEW OPTION FOR FARMERS

For many farmers, the idea of purchasing new ag equipment is accompanied by a little bit of anxiety and a large dose of sticker shock.

A new Farley, Iowa, business is trying to take the pain out of that process.

CJ Beeps Equipment opened its doors at 25011 Lehmann Road in early January, according to owner Eric Lahey.

He said the business sells “anything and everything” related to farming, including tractors, combines, choppers, planters, grain carts and sprayers. The business also offers construction equipment.

“We want to make things affordable for farmers,” Lahey said. “Everything we’re doing is based on the idea that we want to help farmers and make sure farmers are profitable. If they are making money, we’ll be able to be profitable too.”

CJ Beeps also provides service for various types of equipment, Lahey noted.

Lahey, 35, was born and raised in Farley.

He said he was inspired to start the business after seeing how local farmers can face major financial burdens whenever they need to replace or update equipment, with a single purchase often costing more than $500,000.

He found a 60,000-square-foot building that was available for lease and decided to pursue his own business.

“I took a big step to do this,” he said. “It is scary and it is challenging. When you see the look of somebody coming in, and you know that you can help them, it makes it worth it.”

The business employs three workers, all of whom grew up in eastern Iowa.

Lahey also thanked his wife for picking up the slack at home while he devotes countless hours to the business.

“It takes a village,” he said.

CJ Beeps Equipment is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. It is closed Sundays. The business can be reached at 563-744-5010.

GOING IT ALONE

For the past three decades, Vickie Eppler has played prominent roles at multiple large companies in the tri-state area.

Now she is shifting her focus to her own enterprise.

She officially launched Eppler CPA, LLC in the first week of January. The business operates within the Platteville (Wis.) Business Incubator, located at 52 Means Drive.

The business offers a variety of services, including accounting, bookkeeping, consulting and payroll and tax services.

Eppler is excited to focus on her own enterprise and put her skills to use.

“I felt like it was time for me to do something for me,” she said. “And I knew if I did that, I could get out there and help more people. I could help startup businesses that are trying to get up and going, but don’t have the know how.”

Eppler most recently worked as the chief financial officer for a large manufacturing corporation in Platteville. She also served on the board of directors for the Platteville Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Despite all of these obligations, Eppler also ran a “side business” for multiple years out of her home that offered accounting and other services.

She recently left her CFO position to focus full-time on Eppler CPA, a move she believes will allow the business to grow by leaps and bounds. The location within the business incubator will allow her to develop close relationships with budding entrepreneurs who could use the help of a financial expert.

“I thought this would be the best opportunity for the type of business I am trying to start,” she said.

Eppler can be reached by calling 608-331-0486 or by emailing vickie@epplercpa.com.