Betty Jane Candies retail location
ADDRESS: 1785 John F. Kennedy Road
HOURS: 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
A beloved candy company is scheduled to open its new Dubuque location today.
Betty Jane Candies has moved its main retail location to 1785 John F. Kennedy Road, the former home of IHOP. The company’s location at 3049 Asbury Road will undergo minor renovations as it transitions to serving exclusively as a production facility.
Betty Jane Candies President Drew Siegert said the new building boasts nearly three times the retail space of the Asbury Road location, in addition to more parking and indoor seating options. All this will benefit the growing candy company, which, he said, has been “bursting at the seams,” particularly during busy holiday seasons.
“The demand for our products has exceeded our production capacity, so we needed to create more space for manufacturing and storage,” he said. “By moving retail and our shipping department over here, that’s going to free up a lot of space at our Asbury location.”
On Tuesday morning, Betty Jane employees bustled around the new location, wiping down display trays and unloading cardboard containers filled with sweets and supplies. Others carefully inventoried the boxes containing the brand’s products, from sour cherries and rock candy to caramels and Gremlins.
“This will be our first time having our main retail location as a standalone location, separate from our production facility,” said Retail Manager Alexa Oettinger. “We’re excited for that — really focusing in on the retail aspect here and being true to our loyal customers of Dubuque.”
Siegert said his company purchased the former IHOP building in the spring of 2021 and began renovations last summer, including the addition and elimination of certain walls and the removal of restaurant equipment and countertops. Staff had hoped to open the new location last fall, but material delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to push back the opening date.
Siegert is particularly excited for the increased visibility the new location will offer the company.
“Asbury Road is a very busy road, and we’ve done very well there, but JFK is the main channel of the city,” he said, noting that about 4,000 more cars will pass the new location on a daily basis.
The expanded retail space also will allow Betty Jane to offer its ice cream year-round, although Siegert said staff are waiting for the arrival of a new, larger back door to allow them to bring in the ice cream freezers before launching production.
“That’s a big change, having (ice cream) all year,” he said. “That’ll be great.”
The Asbury Road building will undergo minor renovations as the entire building becomes a production facility. The removal of several walls will allow space for a second chocolate-coating line that will double the company’s production levels.
The new chocolate line, which will be installed in the fall, will be used almost exclusively for Gremlins products.
Siegert said Gremlins-related products, including candy bars and wholesale snack options, have skyrocketed in popularity over the last 18 months. Opening a production line dedicated solely to them will let Betty Jane return to offering some of its other items that have been temporarily discontinued to meet demand for core products.
“Unfortunately, over the last year, for some of our less popular items that we make, we weren’t able to fit them in our production schedule,” he said. “We’ll be able to bring a lot of those products back because we’ll now have the capacity to handle it.”
He said the business is continuing to grow its workforce and recently topped 40 employees.