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Biz Buzz shares business information from all three states. In this edition, we highlight developments in Dubuque and Dyersville, Iowa.
A Dyersville-based company will expand over the coming year by adding a new state-of-the-art greenhouse and capabilities to manufacture similar structures.
FarmTek, a division of Engineering Services & Products Co., plans to open a $3 million, 37,000 square foot greenhouse this spring.
“These structures typically range from 10 to 15 acres,” said Martina Bockenstedt, general manager of FarmTek. “We are looking at a facility of just under an acre as a demonstration facility where we will grow our own produce to sell locally.”
The structure will be a Venlo greenhouse, a type of greenhouse that was mostly made in the Netherlands.
“We will be one of the first in the United States to have this type of greenhouse,” Bockenstedt said.
The greenhouse will be all glass, unlike the film or polycarbonate used in FarmTek’s current greenhouses, she said. The new structure will also have taller side walls to create a better growing environment.
Strawberries, leafy greens and tomatoes will be grown in the new greenhouse and sold, Bockenstedt said. FarmTek has already sold produce grown in other greenhouses to local restaurants and schools.
FarmTek employees will use the space for research and development projects, as well as a demonstration space.
This spring, FarmTek plans to remove some of the current demonstration buildings to make room for the new greenhouse. We expect the project to be completed by the first quarter of next year, Bockenstedt said.
In addition, FarmTek has ordered new equipment to manufacture similar greenhouses for customers. We expect the equipment to be delivered by mid-summer.
Five to 10 additional employees will be hired to help run the on-site greenhouse and make some for customers, she said.
Bockenstedt said the company sees demand for this new style of greenhouse, especially as more and more people strive to eat locally.
“The locally grown food movement continues to grow, and we see an opportunity here to really have a new product to offer customers,” she said. “We’re seeing more demand in the United States than we’ve ever had.”
FarmTek can be reached at 563-875-2288 and farmtek.com.
Dyersville Lounge Enhances Historic Space
A Dyersville salon recently reopened after renovating its historic space.
Uptown Hair, 220 First Ave. E., was closed for more than four weeks during the renovation. Before the closing, owner Keri Knipper said, another four weeks of work were done in the company’s back office, although the salon remained open during that time.
“We are thrilled to be open again and to have our dream salon,” she said.
Knipper said that when she started running the show three years ago, nothing in the space had been updated since the 1970s. stylists, had not been altered since the 1950s.
“I ended up buying the building last March,” Knipper said. “That was sort of my goal: to own the building first, then remodel it.”
The main change was to remove a wall that split the salon space in half, so a stylist wasn’t always alone on the other side of the business.
Knipper noted that she also made sure to keep the building’s historic touches, including bringing in barber chairs from the 1970s and reusing much of the furniture in the new space.
“This building has been a barbershop since 1895, and we wanted to maintain its integrity,” she said.
Uptown Hair is open at different times every day of the week, as well as Saturdays by appointment. Appointments can be made by calling 563-451-8488.
Dubuque native brings the party stuff back to his hometown
A Dubuque native recently brought her business back to town to bring something unique to parties and events in the area.
Traci Yeo returned to Dubuque this year and brought her business, Royal T Princesses and Superheroes, with her. Customers can have a character, like a Disney princess or a superhero, come to an event and participate in live voice performances, photos and crafts.
“It’s kind of like you book us in and provide the space, and we do all the partying for you, plus the food,” Yeo said. “…Parents are thrilled to have this stuff here in Dubuque. It’s something different for the holidays.
Yeo started the business after touring with the National Theater for Children for a few seasons. She has a degree in musical theater from Clarke University.
“I wanted to try and find something to do that would integrate musical theater and my degree with sustainable work because theater jobs come and go,” she said. “I’ve heard of princess companies before, and realized Dubuque doesn’t have any, and went from there.”
Royal T Princesses started in Dubuque in 2017, but Yeo said bookings were slow at first. She then moved to North Carolina, taking the business with her.
Over the years, Yeo said, she added more characters to Royal T’s roster, including Disney princesses, “Toy Story” characters and superheroes.
She added that if she was far enough in advance, she could prepare costumes for any character a client wanted. Yeo makes many of the character costumes herself, as she previously worked in the costume shop while a student at Clarke.
Since returning to Dubuque, Yeo said, she has had an overwhelmingly positive response and has always booked events.
“I used to book in North Carolina pretty regularly,” Yeo said. “It was successful there. I was a little scared that I wouldn’t be able to come here, but I was so excited to bring this business back to the city I love.
Royal T Princesses and Superheroes can be reached at 563-451-7168 or by email at [email protected] The business can also be found online at facebook.com/RoyalTPrincesses and on Instagram @royaltprincessparties.