Biz Buzz Tuesday: Local winery marks 5 years; Dubuque design agency expands; local casinos expand hours

Lee and Karie Ostwinkle are co-owners of O So Good Winery in Dyersville, Iowa, which has marked its fifth anniversary. PHOTO CREDIT: NICKI KOHL

Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from around the tri-states each Tuesday. This week, we highlight developments in Dyersville and Dubuque, Iowa.

A local winery marked its fifth anniversary on Monday.

Instead of merely admiring how far they have come, the owners of O So Good Winery in Dyersville are fixing their attention on what comes next.

“We see a good amount of growth ahead of us,” said co-owner Karie Ostwinkle. “We’re always aiming to add more stores or enter more markets, to do something to expand a bit more.”

Karie and her husband, Lee, operate the winery out of their Dyersville home, which includes a tasting room and a production area.

But Karie said it is becoming clear that the winery is “outgrowing” that arrangement. The couple plans to move O So Good Winery to a new location, either in Dyersville or a surrounding community, at some point this year.

O So Good Winery currently sells its products in about 25 retail locations, including all three Dubuque Hy-Vees. The Ostwinkles plan to partner with additional retail sites this year and establish a presence for the first time at farmers markets in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. They already have found success selling their wines at markets in Dubuque and Davenport, Iowa.

O So Good Winery makes 40 kinds of wine. Karie said the offerings range from dry to sweet wine, with some port- and dessert-style creations further rounding out the selection.

Karie said she and her husband bring distinctive skill sets to the table: She handles bookwork, marketing and sales, while Lee is the primary winemaker.

When the Ostwinkles started the business, they viewed it as a hobby that would help them explore their interest in wine. A half-decade into the endeavor, they exceeded their own expectations.

“It’s more work than we thought, but we love it,” Karie said.

O So Good can be reached at 563-599-1262, and customers can learn more at Osogoodwinery.com. The winery is located at 803 Fourth Ave. SE in Dyersville.

DESIGN AGENCY TO EXPAND

A Dubuque-based design agency is expanding its footprint and soon will augment its workforce.

Gigantic Design Co. is adding 1,500 square feet to its existing space in Schmid Innovation Center, 900 Jackson St.

The extra space will allow Gigantic to create a new photo and video studio and carry out additional work related to printing — and add staff.

“We are going to add some folks in the next year, and we needed the extra space to do that,” said Sean Murphy, a partner with Gigantic. “This project makes sure we are ready for these hires.”

Gigantic provides design services and strategic guidance for clients aiming to enhance their digital brand. The company hopes to hire a developer, a designer and a social media manager.

Gigantic’s expansion was possible because its neighbor in the building, RF2 Furniture Warehouse, decided to leave 900 Jackson St. and open a new location on Railroad Avenue.

It was founded by Murphy and Tom Culbertson in 2015. The business initially operated out of Culbertson’s basement but moved to the Millwork District shortly after its launch.

Gigantic Design Co. can be reached at 563-599-7033 or by visiting GiganticDesign.com.

CASINOS RETURN TO NORMALCY

Dubuque casinos are once again embracing the round-the-clock hours that they offered prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Q Casino remained open throughout the past weekend, opening at 7 a.m. Friday and not closing its doors again until 3 a.m. Monday.

“When we looked at the numbers, we thought this was the right move,” said General Manager Brian Rakestraw. “(Prior to this weekend,) there were still people here when we closed on the weekends. We found that the people who are coming out are wanting to stay a bit later.”

Rakestraw said the casino will continue to remain closed for the time being from 3 to 7 a.m. on weekdays.

Rakestraw emphasized that Q is still taking steps to enhance safety, including deep cleaning and encouraging social distancing.

The industry in general is attempting to return to form after massive disruptions caused by the pandemic, which included more than two months of shutdowns at both Dubuque casinos last spring.

Marty Maiers, marketing director for Diamond Jo Casino, said that casino returned to 24-hour operations throughout the week in mid-February.

“We wanted to find the right time to (extend our hours,) and at that point, we wanted to go 24/7,” Maiers said.

Both casinos are still far from a complete return to normalcy, however.

Maiers said three Diamond Jo restaurants — Woodfire, The Filament and Subway — have reopened. But the casino’s buffet, sports bar and live entertainment venue remain closed.

At Q Casino and Hotel, the indoor music venue — known as Q Showroom — also remains closed.

Q has reopened its sports bar and Houlihan’s restaurant, but Farmhouse Kitchen remains closed.