Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from the tri-states. This week, we highlight developments in Dubuque, Elkader, Iowa, and Galena, Ill.
A Dubuque restaurant recently closed its doors, but many of its employees and menu items have migrated to another eatery in the city.
The Point Cafe, 2370 Rhomberg Ave., closed a little more than one week ago, according to former employee Angelica Flores. She said the decision to close that location was made after the property’s landlord requested an increase in rent from the restaurant owners. Randy Klauer, of Klauer Development, who owns the property, disputed that depiction today, saying he actually discounted rent during the pandemic.
The Point Cafe was owned by Ozzy Ramadani, who opened a new restaurant, Papa Ozz, at 3340 John F. Kennedy Road in August.
Flores is among multiple employees from The Point that started working at Papa Ozz. She said many customers also tried out the new eatery.
“As soon as the word got out that we were closing (The Point), a lot of regulars have come out here and supported us,” she said.
Flores added that Papa Ozz is in the process of incorporating many of the menu items from The Point into its offerings.
“We already had a few menu items here (from The Point),” she said. “Now, we are trying to combine more of the menu into Papa Ozz. We’re still trying to adjust everything and accommodate both menus.”
Papa Ozz offers a wide range of breakfast, lunch and dinner items, with popular dishes including the Italian beef, gyro sandwich, pizza and a variety of pasta.
The restaurant is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days per week and can be reached at 563-556-2359. Customers also can order at papaozz.com.
FILLING OUTDOOR NICHE
A new business in downtown Elkader will tap into the community’s breadth of outdoor activities.
Gear Elkader will open in mid- or late April and sell kayaks, paddles, fishing supplies, hunting gear and a variety of other equipment.
The business also will roast and serve its own coffee, according to Mike McShane, who will operate the business along with his wife, Kathleen.
Mike believes the homemade coffee is just one more thing that will distinguish the business from competitors.
“We know that we are competing against big box stores, and when you are doing that, you have to be unique or you will lose,” he said.
Mike said more than 90% of the products sold at Gear Elkader will be manufactured in America, another point of distinction.
Kate Lower, interim executive director for Main Street Elkader, noted that the Turkey River runs right through Elkader and the many people living in Elkader or visiting the community look for outdoor recreation items.
“We haven’t had a store like this in the past,” she said. “This will give people a chance to support a local business instead of buying their (outdoor recreation items) online or at a place like Cabela’s.”
Gear Elkader will breathe new life into a property formerly occupied by Elkader Coast to Coast, a hardware store that closed in February.
Lower said she is pleased that the property will be inhabited by a new business so quickly.
“(Coast to Coast) was a great family business and had been there several years,” she said. “Sometimes when a business closes in a small town, it can take a long time to fill that space. We’re glad that wasn’t the case here.”
Mike McShane said Gear Elkader, which will be owned by his wife, will not have the full line of hardware products that its predecessor did. However, it will sell lawn and garden supplies and offer key-cutting services.
NEW GALENA GYM
A local entrepreneur with an extensive training background recently opened a new gym in Galena.
The Fitness Foundry is located at 11358 Industrial Drive and offers group classes, personal training and access to cardio equipment and weights, according to owner Jasmine Stoewer.
For Stoewer, her new role as gym owner seems like a natural fit.
“For my entire life, I have always been an active person, someone that worked out and took care of my health,” she said. “With this business, I can have a positive impact on somebody else.”
In addition to playing sports throughout her life, Stoewer has worked with elite athletes and obtained multiple degrees that prepared her to operate this business. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from the University of Dubuque and ultimately returned there to earn a master’s degree in business. Stoewer also has served as the general manager at other gyms and worked with the University of Northern Iowa football team as a strength and conditioning coach.
The Fitness Foundry’s opening comes just a couple of weeks after Galena Fitness closed its doors. Stoewer said some of her members transitioned from that gym, while many of her members were unaffiliated with that enterprise.
So far, she has been pleasantly surprised by the wide net cast by her fitness facility, noting that many of her customers have come from outside of Galena.
“Members have been coming from all over,” she said. “We have had people from Dubuque, from East Dubuque, Hanover, Elizabeth and Menominee. It has been great to see that.”
Stoewer said each person who tours the facility is treated to a complimentary “equipment orientation” that allows them to get acquainted with the various strength and cardio machines and learn how to use them properly.
“That is so important to make sure people are getting the most of that equipment and also avoiding injury,” she said.
The Fitness Foundry offers members access 24 hours per day, seven days per week. The location is generally staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.
Interested customers can learn more or secure a membership by calling 563-213-6729 or visiting fitnessfoundrygalena.com.