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Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from across the tri-state area. This edition highlights developments in Galena, Ill.; Potosi, Wis.; and Dubuque.
A new speakeasy-themed business launches this week in downtown Galena with a soft opening.
The Lion’s Den, located at 109 S. Main St. next to Galena Canning Company, is holding a soft opening this week before having an official opening on March 17 to coincide with its St. Patrick’s Day celebration. The building is owned by Roger and Becky Gates, and the business will be run by Ismael and Christina De Leon. The two couples are friends.
“Galena needs fresh things,” Christina said. “We wanted to keep the 1920s preserved with modern things going on.”
The building was once a jewelry store in 1919. A cash register original to the building sits behind the bar, which was remodeled from an old jewelry case. Roger said demo work on the vacant building began in April last year, a month after he purchased the property.
“We went to great lengths to preserve as much as possible,” he said.
Lion heads can also be seen along the bar and walls.
“They each took 22 hours to make,” Ismael said. “You can tell all the detail we put into this place.”
The business takes up multiple floors. On the first floor, guests will be able to enjoy Spanish tapas, 10 craft beers and high-end cocktails. The second floor — which will include an entrance from Bench Street — will serve barbecue and have 14 beers on tap.
“Downstairs, it will be more of a lounge, and we will make specialty craft cocktails with more flair bartending,” Ismael said. “The second floor is a lot more casual with a game lounge. We have a pool table, foosball table, virtual golf. No one else in Galena does that now. We’re trying to have everybody be comfortable here.”
A mezzanine level between the two main floors includes a private room, lounge and space where bands will play. Ismael said plans are also in the works this spring to add a patio in the back of the property.
He stressed that all the food served in The Lion’s Den will be completely homemade, including sauces for the barbecue.
“The ketchup is the only thing we’re not making ourselves,” he said.
Potosi UTV rental business gearing up for busy season
A Potosi UTV rental business is now gearing up for its busy season as the weather warms up.
Couple John and Jenna Lyne started Back Road Adventures last summer. The business is located at 319 U.S. 61 S., next to Leibfried Feed Services.
“Our family loves to go riding and thought a little bit more about it, and we decided we wanted to open it up to people throughout the area,” John Lyne said. “There’s a lot of good places to eat, good places to stay around here. There’s a lot of good scenery for people to view.”
While Back Road Adventures is open year-round, Lyne said they are waiting on the warmer weather to reach their busy season.
Lyne said the business currently has four UTVs available for rent, but they are looking to expand both its UTV stock and expand into other equipment.
“There are local people who don’t want to pay for one (UTV) all year or store one all year,” Lyne said. “It’s nice to rent one if they have friends that have them, as well as any family visiting the area. It gives everybody the chance to get out and see Grant County.”
Lyne added that he and his wife are first-time business owners, and they have been learning the ropes on how to run a business.
“We’re excited for the second year,” he added.
10 years into career, woman opens own barbershop in Dubuque
A decade into her career, a woman has opened her own barbershop space in Dubuque.
King Kutz opened in January at 3372 Center Grove Drive, near Hampton Inn Dubuque. Owner Ana Neuhaus has worked as a professional hairstylist since 2012, when she graduated from Capri College.
“I cannot believe how much King Kutz has actually been growing,” she said. “I’ve gotten about 30 new clients since January, really from Instagram and word of mouth. It’s really been booming. The biggest thing I am looking forward to is creating a safe space for everybody to feel welcome.”
Neuhaus said she has worked with multiple franchise haircutting businesses in Dubuque before deciding to go out on her own in April 2021, renting space in other businesses before finding her current location advertised on Facebook.
“I came into it with no plan,” she said. “I didn’t have my hopes up. I thought I’d just go to look at it. I looked at it and signed the lease the same day.”
Currently, Neuhaus is the only barber working in the shop, but another will start in May, and she hopes to add a third barber soon.
Neuhaus said her passion for doing men’s haircuts specifically has been cultivated over the years, as learning new styles has been a challenge she enjoys. She also has loved getting to know her clients and inspiring confidence in them, which inspired the barbershop’s name.
“I found myself encouraging (my clients) and telling them to go for what they want and that they can do anything in this world,” she said. “I caught myself telling them to look in the mirror and tell me what they saw, and they would say something basic, like their name. And I would say, ‘No, you should see a king, a person who can build their own empire.’”
King Kutz is open from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday for appointments, though after-hours appointments are possible. Appointments can be booked at kingkutzbyana.booksy.com. The business also can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/MensCuts441 and on Instagram @kingkutzbyana.