Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from around the tri-state area. This week, we highlight businesses in Dubuque, Galena, Ill., and Lancaster, Wis.

Cindi Erikson spent years crunching numbers for large corporations.

With the recent launch of a new business in downtown Galena, she is steering her life in a new direction.

The Galena Territory resident opened Chew Chew Cookies last month at 319 S. Main St. in Galena, Ill.. She acknowledged that the small business is a significant departure from her previous line of work.

“I did accounting working for IBM and Flexsteel,” she said. “I used to work in corporate America, and one day, I said, ‘Enough.’ I wanted to do something different, and I decided to take the leap and do it.”

Chew Chew Cookies serves 15 different varieties of cookies, all of which are made on site. Other homemade treats include lemon bars, raspberry bars and brownies.

The company’s moniker is largely inspired by a model train that occupies a five-foot-by-20 foot space in the store. Erickson said the large train gives children something to look at while their parents are perusing the variety of treats or making purchases.

Chew Chew Cookies is located in a space formerly occupied by quilting shop Phat Quarters. The store is next to Skidmore Art Gallery, which has been operated by Erikson’s husband, Mark Skidmore, for about eight years.

So far, Erikson’s business has been a hit.

“We feel like this fills a nice niche in a tourist town,” she said. “We’ve also been really pleased to see that the locals keep coming back. That is a good thing because you can’t just rely on the tourists to be successful.”

Chew Chew Cookies is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. The business can be reached at 815-777-3500.

CONVENIENCE STORE EXPANDS

A major expansion at a Lancaster convenience store resulted in a new look and a sizable increase in inventory.

New Horizons Supply Cooperative gas station and convenience store recently completed a 2,000-square-foot expansion at 319 U.S. 61.

District Manager Mark Otto said the extra space allowed New Horizons to add a larger beer cave, install new bathrooms, increase shelf space, add seating and bring in a variety of new products. In addition to adding new space, crews renovated the existing parts of the store.

Improvements to the exterior also lend a new look.

Otto said the renovation and expansion cost more than $1 million.

He noted the project was completed around Memorial Day weekend. A ribbon-cutting and grand reopening event commemorating the improvements was held Friday.

Otto believes the upgrades were well worth the time and effort.

“When people walk in and see the changes for the first time, you can definitely see the ‘wow’ factor on their face,” he said.

Based in Fennimore, New Horizons is a member-owned cooperative that supplies bulk diesel fuel, fuel oil, gasoline and propane to farms, homes or businesses. It offers eight convenience stores across southwest Wisconsin.

The Lancaster store is open from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. It can be reached at 608-723-3777.

APPAREL STORE OPENS

Operators of a new store on Central Avenue hope that an emphasis on customized clothing will help them build a customer base in Dubuque.

CAPA, which stands for Central All-Purpose Apparels, opened its doors this spring at 1533 Central Ave.

Owner Harvey Robinson said the business specializes in screen-printed hats and shirts, as well as a variety of other apparel. The business offers affordable clothing for men, women and children, Robinson emphasized.

He noted that the store also sells candy and comforter sets.

Robinson acknowledged that the store has faced some challenges when it comes to attracting foot traffic. He said he is focused on renovating the building’s exterior in hopes of drawing attention from those traveling through the corridor.

“We have had our ups and downs,” he said. “But as we move along, I am seeing progress.”

CAPA employs four workers. The business is open from 9 a.m. until midnight seven days per week.

Residents can learn more about the business by visiting facebook.com/CAPApparels.

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