Biz Buzz: Spa opens at former Dubuque eatery site; 24-hour gym coming to Maquoketa; barbershop passing on knowledge to next generation

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Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from across the tri-state area. This edition highlights developments in Dubuque and Maquoketa, Iowa.

A new Dubuque salon and spa has opened in a building that previously housed a popular eatery.

Meraki Salon and Spa and Extension Bar opened last month at 1899 Rockdale Road in the Key West area, at the previous site of Neighbors Tap. Owner Cortney Herber previously owned another spa, The Design Studio, in Dubuque.

“I wanted to obviously have my own space instead of renting (a building),” Herber said. “And there are no salons over here in this area, so I wanted to fill that need.”

The name “Meraki” is a Greek word meaning the love or essence someone puts into their work, Herber said. She has been doing hair for more than 20 years.

“I really wanted to be a doctor because I wanted to help people and make them feel good,” she said. “But I was good at doing hair as a young girl, and I like that it makes people feel good. If you feel good and look good, it helps your self-esteem.”

The salon and spa offers a wide variety of services, including salon services, hair extensions, eyelash extensions, manicures, pedicures, facials, spray tans and wedding makeup.

Herber said the property has functioned as many different businesses over the decades, including a grocery store, restaurant and bar. She said she kept all of the historical items that were hanging on the walls showing the building’s history, and she plans to display them in the future at the salon.

However, the salon looks very different from the previous businesses located in the building. After acquiring the space in June, Herber said her husband, Ryan, spent many hours redoing the space to meet the salon’s needs.

“Everybody says how amazing it looks,” she said. “If they saw it before, they cannot believe the transformation in here.”

Meraki Salon and Spa and Extension Bar is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Walk-ins are accepted when possible. The business can be reached at 563-599-8841, as well as found on Facebook and Instagram.

New 24-hour gym coming to Maquoketa

A new gym that will operate 24/7 will open this week in Maquoketa.

Midwest Iron Addicts opens Thursday, Dec. 15, at 18035 Iowa 64, Suite 2, near Theisen’s Home-Farm-Auto.

Owner Austin Bowman also has a Midwest Iron Addicts location in Walcott, Iowa, which opened in 2017. He said he was looking to open a second gym location within a one-hour drive from Walcott.

“My girlfriend, Ashley (River), lives in Maquoketa, so I’m always up in that location,” Bowman said. “The more I kept visiting in the last couple of years, the more I was noticing the great population, the great community base, but they didn’t have what we offer, which is 24-hour access to a gym facility.”

Gym members will be given a key to access the gym outside of staffed hours, which will vary depending on staff schedules. The gym will feature a variety of machines and free weights for people to use, and Bowman also will offer training to clients.

Bowman added that River also will provide child care at the gym from about 3:30 to 6 p.m. or later for parents who need someone to watch their children during their workouts. He said the child care hours might be extended later, depending on need.

“We’re just hoping the community really just accepts it and we get some positive feedback,” he said.

Midwest Iron Addicts can be reached at 319-621-9029 and found on Facebook at Midwest Iron Addicts Gym — Maquoketa, IA.

Dubuque barbershop passing on knowledge to next generation

A Dubuque barbershop is passing along knowledge of the trade to the next generation of barbers, as well as benefiting a good cause.

Barbers Alberto “Beto” Ramos, Jerry Weydert and Libby Freiburger all provide men’s haircuts at 999 Century Drive, near Kennedy Mall. While the shop collectively is called The Gentleman’s Shop, each of the three barbers operate under their own name: Ramos as Beto’s Cutz, Weydert as Mane Event Barber Shop and Freiburger as Fry’s Fades.

The shop has been co-owned since June by Ramos and Ron Avery, founder and CEO of Avery Foundation. The foundation serves cancer patients across the tri-state area.

“It started in the (barber’s) chair,” Ramos said of how he connected with Avery. “We started our relationship in the chair, and then, we got to know each other. I got a business degree at University of Dubuque, and he saw me make a jump in my career. I hope I can continue my career for as long as I can.”

Avery said the idea for The Gentleman’s Shop was to create a good experience for clients beyond just getting a haircut.

“I saw the dedication in (Ramos), and I wanted to help him get started,” Avery said. “You can’t find a good barbershop in town anymore. All of the barbers are retiring.”

The space that the shop occupies previously was owned by Weydert as his barbershop.

“This is a new phase, and I’m passing the torch on to the next generation,” he said.

Freiburger is part of that next generation, having recently graduated from Capri College.

“(Ramos) has taught me so many things, like how to keep the books,” she said.

Also, $1 from all Gentleman’s Shop haircuts goes to Avery Foundation.

“That money directly helps cancer patients,” Avery said. “That’s something these guys are willing to do, since it comes out of their pay.”

The Gentleman’s Shop operates primarily by appointment from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday. Ramos can be reached at 563-690-8242, Weydert at 563-582-6549 and Freiburger at 563-580-6632.