Biz Buzz: Recent grad opens bridal business; new owners at ice cream shop; cannabis-friendly shed in NW Illinois

Business tidbits from around the tri-state area. This week, we highlight developments in Dubuque and Monticello, Iowa, and Galena, Ill.

A recent college graduate is launching a new downtown Dubuque business that aims to simplify and improve customers’ wedding experiences.

Katelyn Soat graduated from the University of Dubuque in May. At the end of that year, she opened All in One Bridal By Katelyn.

The business sells gowns and other formal attire and offers a wide range of wedding-related services, including photography, videography and DJ opportunities.

“I’ve seen a lot of brides over the years who are struggling with the planning (of their wedding),” Soat said. “It can be very stressful, and I wanted to come up with an all-in-one, one-stop shop for them.”

Soat is no stranger to the fashion or wedding industries.

She grew up participating in pageants and later started modeling. She has been singing at weddings since she was 16 years old and, in 2016, while she was in college, she opened a DJ business along with her now-fiance, Brandon Weber.

After graduating, she wasted little time putting her business plans in motion.

“I knew I wanted to open a business,” she recalled. “I thought, ‘Why not start early?’”

Soat began leasing the space at 955 Main St. — the former home of Pinot’s Palette — in October. She said the location is in close proximity to established bridal shops, including Cheryl-Ann Bridals & Tuxedos and Zazou’s Bridal Boutique & Tuxedos.

While Soat already has many gowns in the space, she noted that building up her inventory will be a multi-month process. As a result, she is not yet offering regular walk-in hours.

She has, however, started selling gowns, and customers can visit the shop by making an appointment ahead of time.

Soat said she owns the necessary equipment to provide a wide range of photography, videography, DJ services and more. All In One Bridal has nine employees who will help her deliver those services to customers.

The business can be reached by calling 563-580-7706 or emailing


A Monticello, Iowa, couple has taken the reins of a longtime ice cream shop and restaurant.

Laticia and Mark Bouska became the new owners of The Cone Shoppe in early January. Located at 140 S. Main St., the eatery serves ice cream, sandwiches, wraps and other food items.

Laticia said she and her husband are the third group to own The Cone Shoppe during its roughly two-

decade run. Prior to taking ownership, the Bouskas were frequent customers.

“We think (the business) is really good for the community,” Laticia said. “It’s a place where people can come together and kids can hang out. When we saw it was for sale, we hopped right on it.”

The Bouskas don’t plan to make any immediate, sweeping changes to the business. However, Laticia said they eventually hope to make some upgrades to the facility.

She noted that this is the couple’s first time owning a business, but said they are relishing the opportunity to “be their own boss.”

“It is both scary and exciting,” Laticia said. “We know there will be some ups and downs, but we think it will be a great experience.”

The Cone Shoppe is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It is closed on Sundays. Laticia said the hours will be extended in the spring and further expand in the summer.

The business can be reached at 319-465-6342.


Inspired by the recent legalization of marijuana in Illinois, owners of a popular Galena bed-and-breakfast have rolled out a new offering for their guests.

A new, 144-square-foot structure dubbed “The Potting Shed” opened last week near Aldrich Guest House, located at 900 Third St.

Aldrich Guest House co-owner Robert Mahan said the shed was specifically designed as a place where guests could consume cannabis. Recreational use of cannabis became legal Jan. 1.

Mahan believes that The Potting Shed is a first-of-its-kind structure among bed-and-breakfasts in the state. So far, it has been a big hit.

“The feedback has been fantastic,” he said. “We have been surprised by how many people are excited about it. Many people have called up, made reservations and said that (the shed) is the reason why.”

Mahan said the structure — which is near the main guest house but not attached to it — gives guests a designated place to consume cannabis. Meanwhile, it ensures that other guests can enjoy their stay in the main structure without being impacted by the cannabis use of others.

The Illinois Department of Public Health does not permit guests to smoke cannabis within the shed. However, they can vape the product or consume edibles in the structure.

Visitors can smoke cannabis on a small patio located behind The Potting Shed, Mahan clarified.

Thus far, he has been surprised by the demographics that have embraced the cannabis-friendly atmosphere offered at Aldrich Guest House. Most of the clients interested in The Potting Shed have been in their 50s or older.

“The stereotype is that cannabis users tend to be young and lazy and unproductive,” said Mahan. “Where we’ve see the big interest is more from the retirement-age crowd.”

Aldrich Guest House can be reached at 815-777-3323.