Biz Buzz: New Dubuque store features chocolate, gelato, gifts

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Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from across the tri-state area. This edition highlights developments in Dubuque and Manchester, Iowa, as well as Potosi, Wis.

A new store in downtown Dubuque sells a plethora of gifts, chocolate and gelato.

The Sorpresa Gifts opened in late July at 269 Main St., the former location of Chocolaterie Stam. The business is owned by Jennifer McCoy, who also co-owns McCoy Goldsmith & Jeweler, which is located next door.

“We don’t have enough retail (downtown),” McCoy said. “We have several great women’s boutiques, but we don’t have enough retail, especially for gifts.”

McCoy and her husband, Jonathan, officially purchased the building that includes McCoy Goldsmith & Jeweler and The Sorpresa Gifts at the beginning of the year. Some of the extra space was used to expand the jewelry store with a bridal salon, and the rest of the business became The Sorpresa Gifts.

The new shop features multiple flavors of gelato, or Italian ice cream. The gelato is made in-house, and flavors rotate. The shop also makes sorbetto, a dairy-free frozen treat.

The Sorpresa Gifts manager Sharon Coleman said the most popular flavors so far include cheesecake-based flavors, as well as creme brulee and tiramisu.

“It’s quite fun and creative to come up with all the different flavor ideas,” she said.

All of the shop’s chocolates are Chocolaterie Stam sweets made in Des Moines, McCoy said.

“We’re excited to bring Chocolate Stam back to Dubuque,” she said. “They are fine European chocolates, so we have to maintain the temperature in here at 65 to 68 degrees so they don’t melt.”

The Sorpresa Gifts also sells a wide variety of gifts, such as baby items, pet items, popcorn, apparel and maple syrup. The gift items all come from other small businesses and feature information on each company.

“It’s neat to come up to each brand and see if they’re female-owned or eco-friendly,” Coleman said.

Both McCoy and Coleman said the store has been doing well since opening, with customers able to find something for everyone on the shelves.

‘Sorpresa’ means ‘surprise’ in Italian and Spanish,” McCoy said. “We want it to be a surprise to find a treat in the store. We want it to be a surprise at how fun and how many great products there are. We’re all about spoiling yourself and your friends and family.”

The Sorpresa Gifts is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

More information on the store can be found online at, as well as on Facebook and Instagram @thesorpresagifts.