Biz Buzz: Photography studio moves to Dubuque; food options expand in Lower Main; wholesale supplier opens

Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from around the tri-state area. This week, we highlight three developments in Dubuque.

A photographer believes that moving her studio to the heart of downtown Dubuque will elevate it to the next level.

Vanessa Irene Photography opened its doors at 233 W. Second St. in late 2019. The business previously occupied a space above Junction 21 restaurant and bar in Centralia, Iowa.

Owner Vanessa Brachman couldn’t be happier with her new digs.

“It’s hard to even put into words,” she said. “At the old location, people would drive by and wouldn’t even see us. We’re so visible now. It’s made a big difference.”

The new studio also boasts about twice the square footage as the previous location.

Brachman has been a professional photographer for about a dozen years. She shot her first wedding when she was still in high school and started her business about seven years ago.

She still shoots the occasional wedding but now focuses more on newborn, children’s and family photography. Within that area of focus, Brachman has found her niche.

“I have children of my own, and I love working with kids,” she said.

Vanessa Irene Photography is open by appointment. The business can be reached at 563-543-7449.


A sandwich shop has opened its doors in downtown Dubuque’s Lower Main district, adding a new option in a portion of town suddenly exploding with late-night food choices.

Which? Sandwich opened at 210 W. First St. on Feb. 13. The business offers a variety of sandwiches, as well as beer, hard seltzers and other beverages.

Which? Sandwich opened in the Millwork District in 2019. Owner Blue Kunz was partly inspired to move her business to Lower Main after observing the heavy concentration of bars and the scarcity of late-night food options. However, she’s not the only one who has recognized — and aimed to fill — that void in the market.

Marimba opened its doors at 105 Locust St. in January. The business offers gyros, shawarma and tacos al pastor.

Meanwhile, Dimensional Brewing Co. this month announced that a Bellevue, Iowa, restaurant soon would begin serving food within the brewery at 67 Main St.

Flatted Fifth, which serves barbecue and southern food, made its debut within the brewery on Feb. 15, a one-night occasion that Dimensional co-owner Tom Rauen described as a “test run.” He said the dining option will open on a full-time basis in March.

Kunz sees the sudden influx of eateries as a positive.

“I actually think it’s a great thing,” she said. “The more down here, the better. There are plenty of people who come down here, and they’re not going to want to go to the same place every time. A little bit of variety is good.”

Which? Sandwich is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. It is closed Sunday.


A new wholesale company in Dubuque is providing additional options for contractors throughout the area.

Tri-State Winsupply of Dubuque opened earlier this month at 2240 Kerper Blvd. President Ronald Slaats said it began doing business in Dubuque late last year but originally operated under the umbrella of a Cedar Rapids, Iowa, entity.

The business specializes in selling plumbing, heating and air conditioning, pump and septic equipment.

Slaats has three decades of industry experience. His three employees bring the total experience at Tri-State Winsupply to 75 years.

Slaats hopes their collective expertise can help carve out a presence in the local market.

“The market already has some strong wholesalers,” he said. “We’re hoping to establish our own footprint and make a living here as well.”

Slaats acknowledged that Dubuque isn’t a particularly large market, but he said it is a pretty active one. He also noted that the region has a solid mix of both residential and commercial construction.

“Most of the contractors are diversified, rather than specializing in just one area (of construction),” he said. “That is why it is important that we are diversified in our product lines as well.”

Winsupply Inc. is headquartered in Dayton, Ohio. It has more than 600 wholesaling locations in 45 states.

Tri-State Winsupply can be reached at 563-582-2203.