Biz Buzz: New home decor business; brewery planned for Maquoketa; consignment shop to close

Dee Crist packs up home decor items on Sunday for her business, Homeboxed, at her home in Cuba City, Wis. PHOTO CREDIT: EILEEN MESLAR

Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from around the tri-states. This week, we highlight developments in Cuba City, Wis.; and Maquoketa and Guttenberg, Iowa.

For nearly two decades, Cuba City resident Dee Crist has worked in the mortgage industry.

Her full-time job inspired her to embrace a new venture.

“I have seen how happy people are when they purchase their first home,” she said. “I know it’s a dream come true for them. It’s a place that they want to enjoy and share with friends and family.”

Crist launched online home decor business Homeboxed in January.

The business delivers curated decor boxes — each containing four to seven decorative pieces — to the doorsteps of customers in the tri-state area and beyond.

Items include mantle and table accents, signs, decorative trays and vases. The packages also include guidance on how and where to display the pieces.

Crist is the vice president of the mortgage and private banking divisions with Dubuque Bank & Trust.

She first hatched the concept behind Homeboxed in September and spent the next two months attending Iowa Venture School, a training program that assists startup companies.

“It eliminates the need for someone to go to five different shopping sites to find the decor they need,” Crist said. “They get their time back and still have a great looking home.”

Customers can order themed boxes, as well as packages with seasonal items. The majority of pieces are sourced from local vendors. Visit homeboxed.myshopify.com.

BREWERY COMING TO MAQUOKETA

A husband-and-wife duo will open a brewery and taproom in Maquoketa, adding a new hotspot in the city’s downtown and continuing a craft beer boom in the tri-states.

Mark and Judy Lyon plan to open Maquoketa Brewing at 110 S. Main St. this summer.

Mark long has believed that a brewery would thrive in Maquoketa, where businesses draw a healthy mix of local residents and tourists.

“I kept waiting for someone else to do it,” Mark said, with a laugh. “Eventually I thought, ‘Why not do it myself?’”

Mark worked in software development for three decades before retiring two years ago. He started home-brewing eight years ago and is eager to share his concoctions with the masses.

He said Maquoketa Brewing will serve everything from stouts and sours to light American-style lagers.

In recent years, Mark has observed the steady uptick in craft breweries throughout the area. He’s confident that consumers are thirsty for more.

“There’s a lot to like about these local breweries,” he said. “People really like locally sourced products, and I think that these taprooms have become inviting environments in many communities.”

Maquoketa Brewing will offer snacks but not a full menu.

It will occupy half of the building at 110 S. Main St. Mark said he is hopeful that an eatery or another complementary business will occupy the remaining space.

GUTTENBERG BUSINESS TO CLOSE

In just more than one year of operation, a Guttenberg consignment shop left a lasting impression on the community. Now, its closure will leave a void.

Juanita’s Folly will close its doors at some point next month, according to owner Juanita Loven.

The business opened at 3 Goethe St. in February 2019, just a couple of days before Loven celebrated her 84th birthday. It sells antiques, books, arts, crafts and a variety of other items on a consignment basis.

The shop’s brief run has been a positive one for its owner.

“It has been a very nice experience,” Loven said. “I’ve loved working with the consignors, and we’ve had great volunteer help along the way.”

Loven said the store has about 60 consignors, each of which is allowed to choose between taking a cut of the profits or donating those funds to a charity of their choice.

A prospective buyer recently approached Loven and her husband, Russell, with interest in purchasing the Goethe Street building. Juanita said it was an offer they couldn’t refuse.

“We are 85 and 86 years old,” she said, with a laugh. “We figured we’d be foolish not to sell.”

The two sides reached an agreement in February, and the buyer will assume ownership on May 1. Juanita wouldn’t disclose the name of the buyer but said the building will be occupied by a mental health counselor.

In the meantime, products are being sold at discounted prices in an effort to reduce inventory.

Mandy Ludovissy, director of Guttenberg Chamber of Commerce, said the business will be sorely missed.

“It is a real loss to the community,” she said. “It was a great little retail shop, and it also supported a variety of charitable causes.”

Juanita’s Folly is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It is also open “by chance and appointment,” according to Loven.

The business can be reached at 563-880-7662.