Biz Buzz: Longtime Dubuque restaurant launches food truck; new store in Galena; film crews visit Jo Daviess County

Town Clock Inn co-owner Irene Nelson serves pizza from a food truck at Theisen’s Home-Farm-Auto in Dubuque on Sunday. The longtime downtown restaurant is taking its business to customers as the pandemic drags on. PHOTO CREDIT: JESSICA REILLY

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

A longtime Dubuque restaurant is embracing a new approach to reach customers during the pandemic.

Town Clock Inn Restaurant & Bar recently debuted a food truck. It serves pizza and stops in neighborhoods or at businesses multiple times per week.

Owners Irene and Scott Nelson embraced the food truck concept after COVID-19 led to a dramatic downturn in business. Due to a lack of foot traffic in their restaurant at 799 Main St., the Nelsons scaled back their hours to a couple days per week.

“You can see tumbleweeds rolling down the streets,” Irene said. “With the COVID issue, people just aren’t coming into the restaurant like they used to.”

Securing the food truck took a major stroke of luck, however.

Irene happened upon an available food truck in Pennsylvania online while Scott was in Ohio for a wrestling camp for the couple’s kids.

The couple jumped at the opportunity, and Scott drove to Pennsylvania to pick it up. He arrived in the state just as Hurricane Isaias was bearing down on the East Coast but was able to navigate the truck out of the storm.

Over the past couple of weeks, the couple has been pleased with the community’s response to the food truck.

“We have had really great support,” she said. “Throughout this whole pandemic, the community has really done a lot to support us.”

Town Clock Inn has been a fixture in Dubuque since 1970. Currently, the restaurant is open from 4 to 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. It also sells frozen pizzas on Sundays.

For now, the food truck is only serving pizzas, but Irene said they will begin offering other food items in the future.

The business can be reached at 563-556-1022.

NEW GALENA SHOP

A new Galena business will bring an aromatic experience to the city’s downtown.

Scent Workshop will open its doors on Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 307 S. Main St., according to owner Brianne Van Hemert.

The shop will sell a number of pre-made items, including candles, lotions, perfumes, colognes and hand sanitizers.

On top of that, it also will invite customers to make their own products. Van Hemert said the business will offer workshops in which customers learn to make their own candles, perfumes and colognes.

“They will learn all about layering and personalizing their own scents,” said Van Hemert. “It will be perfect for bachelorette parties, date nights and things like that.”

Van Hemert praised Galena as a “Midwest destination” and recalled that she and her husband, who come from Chicago, got married in Galena 11 years ago.

The trials and tribulations of 2020 offered the couple a new perspective on life, convincing them to uproot and move to Galena.

“We realized life is too short to not go after our dreams,” she said.

The workshops typically last two hours, and customers can bring home their own candles and perfumes or colognes.

Scent Workshop will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Customers can learn more or sign up for workshops by visiting scentworkshop.com.

PROMOTING TOURISM

Last week, the presence of a film crew in downtown Elizabeth captured the attention of visitors and local

residents alike. Village officials hope the resulting commercial will help put the city on the map.

The Illinois Office of Tourism stopped in Elizabeth on Tuesday to film part of an upcoming commercial that will promote tourism in the state.

Merri Sevey, president of Elizabeth Area Chamber of Commerce, said crews filmed at multiple Elizabeth locations, including Three Sisters Sweet Shoppe.

“People definitely noticed that they were there,” she said. “It certainly got people’s attention.”

All of the questions from residents prompted the chamber to post a message on social media explaining the reason behind the film crew’s presence and the plans for an upcoming commercial.

She thinks that airtime might pay major dividends for the small community.

“It could have a huge impact,” Sevey said. “We hope this makes people more aware of all the things we have to offer here.”

The Illinois Office of Tourism worked directly with Galena Country Tourism to scout and secure filming locations.

Rose Noble, president and CEO of Galena Country Tourism, said film crews also visited Galena and filmed at multiple locations, including Thunder Bay Falls and Chestnut Mountain Resort.