Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from around the tri-states each Monday. This week, we highlight developments in Dubuque and Peosta, Iowa, and Galena, Ill.
A local manufacturer has created a product that will help businesses continue operations and enhance safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Peosta, Iowa-based Mi-T-M recently designed, manufactured and commenced distribution of a disinfecting mister.
The new product can sanitize large areas in an efficient manner, effectively cleaning areas on a scale that could not be accomplished using a simple spray bottle. Such large-scale cleaning practices have become critical as employers strive to create safer workplaces.
Mi-T-M Vice President Dana Schrack said the company began the design process roughly three weeks ago and started shipping the new product two weeks after that.
“The big thing was that everyone needed the product as soon as possible,” he said. “We had to get things figured out quickly. Getting it developed, designed and getting it to the customer quickly was so important.”
Mi-T-M was founded by A.J. Spiegel in 1971. The company creates pressure washers, air compressors, generators and a variety of other products.
Schrack credited Spiegel for setting the tone for creating the new, disinfecting mister.
“He’s always aggressive and looking for opportunities to help out,” Schrack said. “He thought we could make a difference and help during this pandemic. He encouraged us to jump on it quickly and devote resources to it.”
Manufacturing companies, day care operations and long-term-care facilities already have requested the product.
Schrack emphasized that another Peosta business — ProPulse, a Schieffer Co. — supplied a specially made hose that helped bring the disinfecting mister to life.
“It is nice that two local companies worked together to help combat the virus,” said Schrack.
GALENA DEVELOPMENT TAKES SHAPE
A local development group is moving forward with plans to construct a new building in Galena that would boast apartments and a restaurant.
Dennis Buchheit, of JHTD Plaza, said the group aims to construct a multi-level structure near the crossing of Franklin Street and U.S. 20. It would house five apartment units and an Adobos Mexican Grill restaurant.
“It is a beautiful location, right across from the high school, and we know there is a big shortage of nice rental units in Galena,” Buchheit said.
The new location would be the second for Adobos, which already operates an eatery in Dubuque.
JHTD Plaza recently approached City of Galena officials with a trio of requests aimed at propelling the project forward.
Galena Zoning Administrator Matt Oldenburg said officials have signed off on a “Highway 20 development permit” that allows construction in close proximity to the well-traveled thoroughfare.
Two additional items — a special- use permit and rezoning request — received initial support but must go through additional steps before gaining formal approval.
Oldenburg is happy to see the project taking shape.
“We are happy to see some development happening,” he said. “It is definitely a positive for the community — something that will create some jobs and construction activity and bring a new restaurant to Galena.”
Oldenburg said he expects the project to commence at some point this year and be completed in 2021.
Toben Murdock, of JHTD, was less clear on a time frame moving forward.
“It is a difficult question with coronavirus,” he said. “But once the coast is clear, we will start marching forward.”
NEW RIVERSIDE OPTIONS
Over the past two months, the novel coronavirus has wreaked havoc on the traditional business model at Grand River Center in Dubuque.
The convention center at
500 Bell St. long has been a popular venue for business conferences and conventions, the latter of which frequently drew hundreds of out-
of-towners to Dubuque for multi-day events. A prolonged ban on large gatherings has eliminated these critical revenue streams and forced Grand River Center to go back to the drawing board.
Officials hope that a variety of food-service options can help boost the bottom line.
Grand River Center recently rolled out an “off-site catering” program that will allow staff members to prepare food for events occurring outside the convention center.
Customers can make catering requests by calling 563-690-1344.
General Manager Mitzi Yordy believes the new offering will benefit private gatherings and corporate events alike. She said the Grand River Center’s workers are eager to once again play a role in such occasions.
“We miss everybody,” she said. “We want to help out however we can.”
Grand River Center also will offer food, beverages and treats through a portable concession stand located along the riverwalk.
Officials said the stand will debut this week. In a typical week, it will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.
It will offer things like hamburgers, hot dogs, pulled pork sandwiches and ice-cold beverages.
Menu items will be geared toward things people can consume while walking along the river, officials said, although some socially distanced patio seating will be available.