Biz Buzz: Spoon company opens in Galena; men’s clothing store planned; Main St. renovation in Maquoketa

Paul Pendola, owner of Galena Spoon Co., demonstrates how a wooden spoon is carved at his store. PHOTO CREDIT: Dave Kettering

Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from around the tri-state area. This week, we highlight developments in Galena, Ill., and Dyersville and Maquoketa, Iowa.

A new Galena business offers an array of handcrafted products that bring a personal touch to one’s kitchen.

Galena Spoon Co. opened its doors at 201 Hill St. last week.

True to its name, the shop features a variety of hand-carved wooden spoons. Owner Paul Pendola also uses his own two hands to create a variety of other kitchen items, ranging from spatulas to cheese boards.

In a sense, these products are defined by the things that are not used to make them.

“The spoons are made entirely by hand,” Pendola said. “I don’t use any modern power tools to make them.”

The carving process generally begins with a single piece of freshly fallen wood.

Rather than turning to modern technology, he makes the spoons using an ax, a straight knife and a hook knife.

“The process doesn’t require physical space or expensive tools,” Pendola said. “What goes into it is a lot of technique.”

Up to this point, Pendola spent the bulk of his career working in the hospitality and tourism industries. About six years ago, he began carving objects out of wood.

He found that handcrafted spoons have earned a big following.

“They’re very sought after among professional bakers and chefs, who typically don’t use them in a commercial setting but love to use them in their homes,” he said.

Pendola also spends time passing his knowledge along to others. He teaches carving classes out of a cottage at 306 S. Prospect St. in Galena.

Galena Spoon Co. also sells items from other crafters, including wooden bowls created in Holland, Mich., and ceramics from a potter in Atlanta.

The new business is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and it is also open “by chance and appointment.”

Customers can learn more by calling 224-209-6409 or visiting galenaspoonco.com.

MEN’S CLOTHING STORE COMING

Four years after opening a successful women’s clothing store, Dyersville-based entrepreneur Jennifer Recker is setting her sights on a new venture geared toward the opposite sex.

Recker said she plans to open Haberdash Outfitters this fall at 109 First Ave. W in Dyserville. By focusing on men’s clothing, Recker believes she is tapping into an underserved market.

“I believe there is a void here in Dyersville,” she said. “For men who have to go to a wedding or another formal event, there is nowhere near to buy a nice shirt and a nice tie. Instead, they have to go out of town.”

Haberdash Outfitters will primarily focus on men’s clothing and accessories. It also might have a small selection of higher-end items for women, including shoes.

Recker launched her women’s clothing store online in 2016 and opened her first storefront within a salon in 2017. That store, which operates under the moniker J & R Fashions, is now located at 207 First Ave. E in Dyersville.

Even during a pandemic, Recker has been pleasantly surprised by the success of her venture.

She said online sales through the business have grown throughout 2020, and she has now shipped items to every state in the country.

Support from local residents also has been strong.

“During this year, I think people have really gotten back to shopping local,” she said. “Some people haven’t wanted to travel far this year (to shop), but I think another factor is people just want to support local businesses.”

CONTINUING MOMENTUM

The renovation of an aging building in Maquoketa is adding to a sense of momentum in that city’s downtown.

Members of the Maquoketa Chamber of Commerce recently celebrated improvements to the Taubman Block building, located at 110 S. Main St. Over the past year, a husband-and-wife duo has turned the crumbling structure into a freshly renovated building with a pair of new apartments and commercial spaces.

The massive undertaking marks the first major project conducted by 563 Properties, owned by Emily and Andrew McCready, of Dubuque. The new business, which focuses on property development, is an offshoot of the couple’s existing architecture business, 563 Design.

Emily said the couple recently worked on facade renovations in Maquoketa.

“We loved all the opportunity we saw,” she recalled. “We felt Maquoketa was ready for some movement on Main Street, and we got excited about that.”

The McCreadys eventually discovered the Taubman Block building, which was “in a complete state of disrepair.” Over the past year, they have reimagined the structure.

Two apartments have been created on the upper levels.

A large space on the ground level, once used for retail, has been transformed into a pair of commercial spaces. McCready said one space will house Maquoketa Brewing, which is poised to open late this year.

While the other space hasn’t been leased, she is hopeful to fill it with some kind of eatery.

“We’re hoping for a food partner to complement the brewery space,” she said. “It would be great to have some synergy between the two.”

563 Properties can be reached by calling 563-500-6160.