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Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from around the tri-states each Tuesday. This week, we highlight developments in Galena, Ill., and Muscoda and Hazel Green, Wis.
Two years after relocating to the area, a Galena couple is on the verge of opening a new bakery that emphasizes both quality and convenience.
Geoff Karnish and Alex Arroyo moved from New York to Galena in 2019 in hopes of breaking into the town’s thriving bed-and-breakfast industry.
Their run as innkeepers actually sparked an interest in a separate industry altogether.
“We found that what we really enjoyed was the food and the cooking aspect of what we did,” Karnish said. “We made breakfast for our guests every morning and eventually decided we wanted to bring our food and flavors to Main Street.”
Karnish and Arroyo, who worked their final day as innkeepers on Sunday, plan to open Galena Bakehouse at 421 S. Main St. in early August. Extensive renovations are underway within the space, which formerly housed an antique shop.
Galena Bakehouse will feature pastries, cupcakes, coffees, salads and empanadas.
“Everything will be homemade and made-from-scratch, which can sometimes be hard to find,” Arroyo said.
The bakery will not have indoor seating and instead will focus on a “grab and go” model that emphasizes efficiency and convenience.
“One thing we noticed along the way is that there is nowhere to grab a quick bite and just take it with you to a vineyard or a picnic,” Karnish said. “This will be a place where you can run in, get a salad or a quiche and be out in five minutes.”
The bakery will even have picnic baskets available for rent.
Future customers can track the progress of the business and keep tabs on when it will open by visiting thegalenabakehouse.com.
JOB CUTS IN MUSCODA
A major Muscoda manufacturer formally disclosed plans to lay off nearly 90 workers — and a leading economic development official fears the business could shut down its local facility altogether.
Durr Universal recently issued a letter notifying the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development of the company’s plans to lay off 87 workers at its facility at 815 Industrial Drive. The company statement, submitted in compliance with the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, stated that the layoffs “are expected to be permanent.”
The correspondence notes the job cuts will take place in August but adds that a specific date has not yet been established.
Grant County Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Ron Brisbois called the layoffs “a massive blow to the community,” adding that Durr Universal serves as one of the largest employers in the village.
“There wasn’t much indication this was going to occur,” he said. “It was a surprise to me and to the employees.”
Durr Universal is a global provider of custom-engineered acoustic systems and filtration solutions for energy, environmental and industrial applications, according to its website.
Cary Bremigan, vice president and chief operating officer for Durr Universal, penned the original letter to the state. He did not return a phone call from the Telegraph Herald seeking clarity on the total number of employees at the Muscoda facility and when layoffs would occur.
According to Brisbois, only 10 workers won’t be impacted by the August layoffs. Remaining workers would be responsible for decommissioning the facility, Brisbois added. He said he expects the company to put its Muscoda facility on the market in the spring of 2022.
In the midst of a labor shortage, Brisbois acknowledged that the displaced workers would be highly coveted by other employers. But he emphasized that Durr Universal has a “very solid pay scale” and its former employees might struggle to land jobs with the same level of compensation and opportunity.
NEW LIFE FOR OLD BAR
Fifteen years after its original location closed, a local bar and grill is starting a new chapter in Hazel Green.
My Brother’s Place opened at 2040 S. Main St. in early June. Owner Frank Anderson noted that many remember the bar for its decadelong run in East Dubuque, during which it became well known for its lively atmosphere and loud concerts.
“We did live rock ‘n’ roll music,” Anderson said. “We used to get quite a few tickets for disturbing the peace.”
He opened the first incarnation of the business with his brother, Joe, in 1996. The sibling relationship inspired the bar’s unique name.
“We used to joke that when things weren’t going well, we could just blame it on the other person,” Anderson recalled with a laugh. “If there were ever any issues, we figured we could say ‘Well, this isn’t my bar. It’s my brother’s place.’”
Joe suffered brain damage in a crash shortly after the East Dubuque bar opened. The bar still enjoyed a successful run, remaining in business for a decade before it was shuttered in 2006.
Anderson said he briefly opened another bar in Dubuque — also named My Brother’s Place — about six years ago, which only lasted for about seven months before closing.
He believes the new endeavor has staying power.
Hearkening back to the original location, Anderson said the bar once again will emphasize live rock music, with an occasional country performer thrown into the mix. Pool tables and gambling machines within the facility add to the environment, he noted.
Anderson said My Brother’s Place is receiving positive feedback on its menu, which includes sandwiches, burgers and pizza.
“All our food is made fresh; it’s not frozen,” he said. “Everyone has loved it so far.”
My Brother’s Place opens at 10 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Closing time varies, but Anderson said the bar generally stays open until about 2:30 a.m. on weekends. The business can be reached at 608-732-9269.