Biz Buzz: New Dubuque business showcases vendors; hotel, bar a draw in PDC; area resident opens wellness business

Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from around the tri-state area. This week, we highlight developments in Dubuque, as well as Platteville and Prairie du Chien, Wis.

A new shopping destination in Dubuque offers handmade and homegrown goods from local vendors.

Central Avenue Mercantile opened its doors at 1902 Central Ave. last weekend. The business features products from more than a dozen local vendors who offer a wide array of wares, including pottery, jewelry, lawn ornaments and greeting cards.

The downtown storefront formerly housed Players Sports Bar, King of Clubs and other nightlife attractions.

Dubuque resident Tim Hitzler purchased the property in May for $137,500, according to online property records. He promptly removed the bar and started an extensive remodel.

He installed new flooring, redid the facade, installed new electrical and plumbing systems and tore plaster off the walls to expose underlying brick.

“It’s been a lot of work, but it is worth it,” he said. “It is rewarding to get to this point.”

Vendors displaying their wares within Central Avenue Mercantile pay a monthly rent. A cashier who mans the facility earns a 20% cut of any proceeds from sales.

In addition to crafts and other handmade items, the shop eventually will offer produce and other foods.

Hitzler emphasized that there is a space in the back of the store that will allow local residents to attend or host various workshops or classes.

Hitzler is also the visionary behind the nearby Key City Creative, a collaborative workspace at 1781 White St. that provides tools, equipment and other resources to local residents. He is happy to see a more varied group of offerings populate the corridor.

“I’d like to see less bars in this area and more positive things for people to do,” he said. “I think we are starting to see that happen.”

Hitzler noted that local resident Dave Merrill helped attract vendors and get the operation off the ground.

Central Avenue Mercantile is open from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. It can be reached at 563-599-2915.


A new hotel recently opened in Prairie du Chien, creating a new lodging option, nightlife destination and wedding venue in the community.

Waterfront Hotel welcomed its first guests in early October, according to co-owner Brian Nichols. Located at 113 S. Main St., the three-story hotel boasts 55 rooms and offers views of the nearby Mississippi River.

People who aren’t staying at the property also have visited its Backwater Bar & Grill.

The hotel bar is a “rooftop-style venue” located on a second-floor terrace. Its sliding garage doors allow for an “outdoor feel,” Nichols added.

“It has been a pretty big attraction in the first month it has been open,” he said.

Backwater Bar & Grill is open from 4 to 9 p.m. Thursday, 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Those hours eventually will be expanded. The bar also plans to add food in the future, although it currently serves only drinks.

Nichols owns the hotel with his wife, Brittany. The hotel and bar collectively employ 13 people.

General Manager Andrea Oppermann said the hotel has emerged as a popular destination for weddings.

“People are looking for something new and exciting,” she said. “This is a great venue and allows them to get married and have their guests stay at the same place.”

Waterfront Hotel can be reached at 608-380-1021.


Platteville resident Megan Weber is combining her business acumen and passion for wellness.

POM — which stands for Peace of Mind — will open its doors at 5797 Maple Glen Lane in Platteville in early December.

Weber said POM’s wide range of offerings will include massage, cupping therapy, a float pod, a sauna, yoga and fitness classes, and mental health and beauty services.

“Platteville doesn’t offer anything like this that has all of these services,” Weber said. “There is nothing quite like it in the area.”

The newly constructed building spans 2,200 square feet and is located on a 19-acre wooded lot. Therapy rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows, providing a relaxing view of the natural beauty surrounding the venue.

“We want to bring people out of town, give them a break from their busy day-to-day,” Weber said.

Four people will work at POM — two employees and two independent contractors.

Weber earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Upper Iowa University. She later went back to school for massage therapy and is realizing a dream by opening her own business.

“I am really passionate about mental health and physical well-being,” Weber said.

POM can be reached at 608-778-9155.