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Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from the tri-states. In this week’s edition, we highlight developments in Cuba City and Lancaster, Wis., as well as Bellevue, Iowa.
Citing a confluence of challenges, a popular Cuba City restaurant has shut its doors temporarily.
Nick’s Cafe has been closed since Easter. However, owner Bobby Shabani emphasized the shutdown is not permanent and said the eatery plans to reopen on May 5.
Throughout the past year, supply-chain issues and resulting food shortages have made it difficult to restock certain ingredients and menu items, according to Shabani. Even more worrisome has been the inability to keep the restaurant adequately staffed.
Nick’s Cafe typically employs 15 to 19 workers. Heading into Easter weekend, however, the restaurant was down to just a few employees. Shabani learned on Easter Day that some of these workers wouldn’t be returning and decided to temporarily pull the plug on his business.
“We could have kept the doors open, but we ran the risk of having bad service,” he said. “If you give customers bad service once or twice, you can lose them forever. That is not the kind of operation I run.”
Shabani instead opted to take a break, using the time off to revise the restaurant’s menu and beef up its staff. He said five new workers have been hired.
He also is remodeling the kitchen so it is easier for new staff members to navigate.
Shabani opened Nick’s Cafe with his father, Nick, in July 2003. His father retired about seven years ago.
Cuba City Economic Development Director Bob Jones emphasized that Nick’s Cafe frequently has garnered awards for offering the best breakfast and lunch in the county. He noted that it is among many businesses struggling with workforce issues.
“There are a large number of businesses that are having trouble hiring workers,” he said. “It is particularly hard in the restaurant and food-service industry.”
Nick’s Cafe is located at 119 S. Main St. and can be reached at 608-744-3424. Beginning May 5, it will be open from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. seven days per week.
BANQUET HALL EXPANDS
After making significant upgrades, a Bellevue business is ready to take on a busy wedding and event season.
Horizon Lanes & Hall, 970 N. Riverview Drive, recently completed improvements to its banquet hall and event space.
“It was a total renovation of the inside and front of the building,” said Jared Feller, who co-owns the business with his fiancee, Brandy Dierks.
Horizon Lanes & Hall serves as both a bowling alley and a banquet and event space.
Feller called the decision to remodel the banquet area a “spur-of-the-moment thing” and said the renovations were conducted over the course of a month.
Crews removed a garage to increase the usable space within the facility, raising the indoor seating capacity to about 500 people. Workers also conducted a series of aesthetic upgrades on the interior and added a large overhang on the outside of the building, where there is extra seating.
As people grow more comfortable gathering together in person, Feller said, there is a big season in store for events.
“It is going to be a really busy wedding season,” he said. “That was the determining factor for doing this.”
The business also hosts anniversary parties, benefits and other large events.
Feller has owned Horizon Lanes & Hall for about three years. Shortly after taking over the business, he oversaw improvements to the bowling alley portion of the business, where he created more seating and a party room for birthdays.
The business can be reached at 563-872-4441.
NEW HOME DECOR STORE
A new store in Lancaster has added a different dimension to a business that has been in existence for more than a century.
Eastman Cartwright Home opened its doors at 129 N. Madison St. on Saturday.
“We have a bunch of cute, take-and-go items,” said Design Director Linda Schacht. “We have furniture, home decor, lighting … anything you can think of for inside the house.”
The new offering continues the evolution of Eastman Cartwright, a lumber business whose origins trace back to 1919.
Linda’s husband, Will, owns Eastman Cartwright Lancaster, representing the fifth generation of his family to lead the company. Originally from Chicago, Linda moved to southwest Wisconsin a few years ago and began making her own mark on the business.
In late 2019, she spearheaded the opening of a furniture store and interior design company, dubbed Eastman Cartwright Home, that operated out of Eastman Cartwright’s lumberyard in Lancaster.
The new location on North Madison Street marks another step forward for that vision, establishing a separate storefront in a busy shopping district where customers can find unique items for their homes.
“It is close to a lot of other shops, and there is a lot of drive-by traffic and walking traffic,” Linda said. “I think it is a great location.”
Schacht emphasized that the store will regularly update its inventory and provide new items for residents to peruse.
“It is forever going to be changing,” she said. “We don’t want everybody to have the same things in their homes.”
She said she is grateful to her husband and his family for supporting her new ideas for the 102-year-old business.
“They’ve been really supportive and willing to grow in a new direction,” she said. “That’s really the reason this was able to happen.”
Eastman Cartwright Home is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The business can be reached at 608-723-2177, and customers can learn more by visiting eastmancartwrighthome.com.