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Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from around the tri-states each Tuesday. This week, we highlight developments in Dubuque and Epworth, Iowa.
With the recent purchase of a food truck, a local business is poised to expand to new events and different parts of the region.
Epworth resident Ann Schieltz, owner of Dinger’s D’Lite’s, confirmed that she recently acquired a food truck formerly utilized by Town Clock Inn.
Dinger’s D’Lite’s has already built up a big client base in recent years, largely through the food stand it operates each week at Dubuque Farmers Market. For the past 18 months, though, Schieltz had explored expansion options to no avail.
“I was either going to find a brick-and-mortar location or buy a food truck,” she said. “None of the options came together. I eventually decided to take a break, to stop looking for a while and hope something fell into place.”
The perfect solution presented itself a month ago. As Schieltz was serving food outside Peosta (Iowa) Elementary School, the owner of Town Clock Inn approached her about the possibility of buying that company’s food truck.
Town Clock Inn recently announced plans to close its location in downtown Dubuque and move to rural Peosta, where it will occupy the former home of Junction 21 Restaurant and Bar. With these changes in mind, Town Clock Inn concluded that it no longer had a need for its old food truck.
Schieltz jumped at the opportunity. She purchased the truck in late June and will begin operating it around the community soon.
Prior to buying the truck, Dinger’s used a griddle and operated under a tent. It primarily stuck to events in Dubuque, Peosta and Epworth.
“(The food truck) will make it easier and more efficient to prep food. It will allow us to travel farther, and it will mean we can attend a lot more events,” Schieltz said.
Dinger’s D’Lite’s is well known for its wide variety of sandwiches, which change to suit the clientele and time of day. It serves a range of breakfast sandwiches on the morning of farmers markets but switches up its menu to include items such as burgers when serving a lunch crowd.
“We emphasize everything being fresh and local,” Schieltz said.
She credited her husband and three kids for providing a big assist to the business. This includes her 10-year-old son, Abel, who created a fruit-infused lemonade stand that will operate alongside the food truck on many dates in the future.
Dinger’s D’Lite’s can be contacted at 563-599-9923 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
DUBUQUE NATIVE LAUNCHES NEW PRODUCT
A Dubuque native who recently graduated from Iowa State University has co-created a product that is turning heads, raking in awards and racking up orders.
Tony Ward recently launched the Vamose Attachable Gym Bag. The product’s creation dates back to August 2019, when Ward and his businesses partner, Ben Grote, observed the need for a new creation.
“We realized there wasn’t a great way to transport gym gear for students or professionals,” Ward said. “It’s hard to switch between activities. The current products didn’t really work if you were carrying a backpack, and duffel bags are large and inconvenient to carry around.”
Ward and Grote created a gym bag that attaches to a backpack. Made with durable materials including polyester and nylon, the product features compartments for clothes and shoes, as well as a stowaway compartment for items such as one’s keys and wallet.
The product has earned a major following.
The Vamose Attachable Gym Bag was recognized as one of the top 20 college startups in the U.S. by the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization. Ward said a Kickstarter campaign for his product was launched on June 22, in hopes of raising $5,000 in 35 days. It accomplished that goal in less than a week.
Even before this campaign, there were signs that Ward’s entrepreneurial pursuits were on the track for success. While attending Mazzuchelli Middle School, he helped develop an anti-rollback device for manual wheelchairs.
More information about the Vamose bag can be found at https://vamoseathletic.com.
A new, Dubuque-based bike rental business is giving tourists and local residents alike a new way to explore the area.
Married couple Sherri and John Driscoll launched Dubuque E-Bikes this year. The business rents pedal-assist electric bicycles, which are legal on streets and trails.
The Driscolls hatched the idea for the new business last year during a trip to Decorah, Iowa, where they happened upon a business offering electronic bicycles.
“My thought was, ‘Why doesn’t Dubuque do something like this?’” Sherri recalled. “With the landscapes and the scenery we have here, we thought this would be a great thing to offer.”
The Driscolls coordinated with longtime Dubuque business Bike Shack, which helped Dubuque E-Bikes secure the electric bicycles needed to launch the business.
Dubuque E-Bikes allows customers to rent bicycles by the hour. It meets clients where they are at — whether it be a trailhead or on Main Street — to drop off the bicycles and pick them up.
John Driscoll explained that one must pedal to activate the 750-watt motor, which is concealed within the frame of the bike. The bike has various speeds and settings, which can alter the extent to which the motor assists the rider on his or her journey.
Since launching the business, the Driscolls have encountered a wide range of clientele.
The bikes have been rented to local residents and to tourists, some of whom wish to explore natural landscapes via trails and others who want to use the bikes to navigate downtown areas.
Dubuque E-Bikes can be reached at 563-599-1268 or by visiting dubuqueebikes.com.