East Dubuque CBD store opening today

DJ Loeffelholz (left) and Joe Loeffelholz are co-owners of River Bluff Collective in East Dubuque, Ill., with their sister, Ali Gansemer (not pictured). Photo taken on Friday, March 5, 2021. PHOTO CREDIT: NICKI KOHL

EAST DUBUQUE, Ill. — East Dubuque natives DJ and Joe Loeffelholz have high expectations for their new cannabinoid retail store.

On Friday, the two owners were putting on the finishing touches for the interior retail space of River Bluff Collective, 673 Sinsinawa Ave. in East Dubuque.

The location previously housed a Subway restaurant, but it now will feature products derived from the leafy green plant cannabis such as lotions, bath bombs and dog treats. It opens today.

“We found out that this location was going to be available, so we just jumped on it,” DJ said. “We’ve always planned on opening up a physical space for our business, and we know that now is the right time.”

The two brothers, joined by their sister, Ali Gansemer, founded River Bluff Collective as an online seller of specially made cannabinoid products. Proponents of cannabidiol — often referred to as CBD — claim the products can reduce anxiety, reduce the frequency of seizures and relieve pain.

DJ said online sales remain strong and River Bluff Collective products are sold in about 40 locations throughout the tri-state area, but the owners still wanted to see further growth via a physical location.

He noted that the cannabis industry is growing in the area, with a recreational cannabis store opening today in Galena and another proposed to open in East Dubuque by April.

While River Bluff Collective does not possess a state license to sell recreational cannabis, Joe said the business intends to eventually secure one. The store also sells a variety of cannabis accessories, including bongs and vape batteries.

“We want it to be a one-stop shop for buying cannabis products,” he said.

DJ said he welcomes the influx of new cannabis-based businesses, arguing that their presence will help to normalize CBD among the general public.

Advocating for the benefits of CBD products has remained a primary goal for the company since its inception. As part of this effort, Joe said, the new retail location will feature a window that allows customers to personally view CBD products being produced in the back of the store.

“We want to remove any stigmas and show that we have an honest product,” Joe said.

He added that the business will hire five to 10 employees to operate the location.

Mayor Kirk VanOstrand said he welcomes River Bluff Collective and any other cannabis-based businesses to the community.

“I think it’s phenomenal,” he said. “The product seems to be a big hit, and if they want to come to East Dubuque, then we are open for business.”