Biz Buzz: Pet supply store opens; new grocery store in Dubuque; Cremer’s expands

Kellie Droessler and her dog, Abby, welcome customers to Wags 2 Wiggles, in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: JESSICA REILLY

Business tidbits from around the tri-state area. This week, we highlight developments in Dubuque.

A Dubuque resident’s pursuit of her entrepreneurial dream is paying dividends for local pet owners.

Kellie Droessler opened Wags 2 Wiggles at 1860 Central Ave. this month. The business sells a wide variety of pet supplies and offers a self-serve pet-washing station.

Droessler worked in the retail sector for the past two decades, but eventually, she grew tired of the corporate job. She resolved to start her own enterprise.

“This is a store I had thought about opening for a while,” she said. “It’s exciting and scary at the same time.”

Wags 2 Wiggles occupies a portion of the property that formerly housed the nightlife destination Club Rise.

Droessler and her fiance, Mike Ferrari, spent the past four months making improvements to the property. They put in a drop ceiling, installed new flooring and repainted the entire space.

Wags 2 Wiggles also partnered with local artist Shylo Wissing, who painted a pet-themed mural on the back wall of the business and sells her art within the space.

Droessler and Ferrari considered multiple locations, but they decided Central Avenue was the best option.

“There are a lot of people with pets who cannot afford to go out to the West End or don’t have the transportation,” Droessler said. “It fills a need in this pocket of town.”

The business sells food and treats, collars, leashes and other pet-related items.

It currently boasts a self-serve pet-washing station — a gated area that features a shower, small tub and grooming tools. Droessler said she hopes to hire a groomer in early 2020.

The business’ hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. Until Christmas, the business will remain open later on Saturdays in conjunction with the Central Express event. The business is closed on Sundays.

Wags 2 Wiggles can be reached at 563-663-2411.

NEW GROCERY STORE OPENS

A new grocery store is offering a variety of Asian fare and filling a niche in the Dubuque market.

Hornbill Asian Market recently opened at 3301 Pennsylvania Ave. and began offering regular hours last week.

Zam Lai, who owns the business with his brother, said the market serves a variety of beverages and food items sourced from Asian producers. It also boasts a large selection of meats, including seafood and chicken.

“I think it will be a success here because there is no other Asian store like this in town,” Lai said.

Lai’s business already has been a hit in other markets.

He operates grocery stores under the same name in Waterloo, Iowa, and Grand Rapids, Mich. The Waterloo location completed a major expansion two years ago.

Lai has been pleased with the early reaction from customers in Dubuque.

“They are very happy that I am here, and I am happy to provide what they need,” he said.

Lai and his brother were born and raised in Myanmar. Lai said he lives in Waterloo but plans to move to Dubuque in the near future.

Hornbill Asian Market is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays.

The business can be reached at 563-227-1022.

LONGTIME MEAT BUSINESS EXPANDS

A vacant property on Rhomberg Avenue has been purchased by a longtime grocer that resides across the street.

Jeff Cremer, the owner of Cremer’s Meats, purchased the property at 800 Rhomberg Ave. in October. That space formerly housed Devil’s Pit Char-B-Que, which opened in April 2017 and closed seven months later.

Shortly after the purchase, a sign bearing the Cremer’s name was installed outside the building, prompting speculation that the business was moving all operations to that space or planning to open a new, walk-in restaurant there.

Cremer said that is not the case.

“We’re not recreating the Devil’s Pit,” he said. “But we will use the space to prepare a lot of the stuff we are already doing and expand our ability to make more foods.”

Cremer’s Meats was founded in 1948 by Jeff’s grandfather Ralph Cremer. The business offers grocery products, fresh produce, baked goods, ready-to-eat sandwiches and a full-service meat counter at 731 Rhomberg.

Employees use a kitchen in the grocery store basement to cook favorites such as Italian beef, pizza burgers and pulled pork. They still will cook some of those products at 731 Rhomberg, but the new building will allow them to increase their output.

Cremer also confirmed that he plans to purchase a smoker that will be used at 800 Rhomberg. It will allow the business to produce new items, including jerky and meat sticks, both of which can be purchased at the grocery store across the street.

Cremer said the picnic tables outside the old Devil’s Pit will be put away for the winter but reappear when the weather warms. He hopes the new activity at 800 Rhomberg will send a positive message.

“It’s a sign that people are succeeding and businesses are growing in this part of town,” he said.

The grocery store at 731 Rhomberg Ave. is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays. It can be reached at 563-583-6589.