CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly laid out the ownership of The Jewelry Box. 

Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from around the tri-states each Monday. This week, we highlight developments in Dubuque.

A Dubuque jewelry store is preparing to shut its doors after 15 years downtown.

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The Jewelry Box opened at 245 W. First St. in 2005 and has remained there since. But it recently started a store-closing sale, and owner Connie Schute anticipates the business will shut its doors by September.

“I’ve had a lot of fun owning this business. I will definitely miss it,” she said. “Over the years, I’ve met a lot of people and made some good friends here.”

The business sells a wide range of jewelry. It also features belts, purses, tiaras and other accessories.

Shute has owned the business since it started, but for a time, she operated it with her sister and mother. 

The COVID-19 pandemic dealt a devastating blow to the business.

“COVID has put the brakes on a lot of businesses,” Schute said. “People aren’t out and about shopping these days. The fact that weddings have been put on hold has hurt us as well.”

For now, the business remains open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. It can be reached at 563-583-5249.

Jewelry Box resides in a building known as the Montana House, a historic, three-story structure that once served as a popular hotel for traveling farmers.

Dubuque residents Sam and Shelly Murley are overseeing renovations that will create new apartments on the two upper levels and a pair of improved business tenant spaces on the ground level.

Work began in March and has remained on schedule despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have our fingers crossed that the apartments will be done in early September,” Sam Murley said. “The timetable for the first floor is a little more fluid.”

With the impending departure of Jewelry Box, both commercial spaces eventually will be available for lease.

“I think various types of business could go in there and be successful,” Murley said.

SANDWICH CHAIN EYES DUBUQUE

A sub sandwich chain will open a new location in one of Dubuque’s busiest shopping centers.

Jersey Mike’s Subs will open early this fall at 3500 Dodge St., according to owner Aron Lees. It will occupy a vacant space in the large strip mall next to Target.

Lees said the chain is well known for offering fresh ingredients. He noted that employees slice deli meats in front of customers when their order is placed.

The eatery’s history dates back to 1956, when the first location — then known as Mike’s Subs — opened in Point Pleasant, N.J.

The restaurant was turned into a franchise and rebranded as Jersey Mike’s in 1987. It now boasts 2,000 locations that are either open or under development.

Lees and his wife, Camilla Lees-Soerensen, already own Jersey Mike’s locations in Davenport, Iowa, and Moline, Ill.

Lees said the business will employ about 20 people when it opens.

While a specific date hasn’t been established, Lees said he is shooting for a mid-October opening. The restaurant will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days per week.

ACQUISITION PROPELS GROWTH

A Dubuque-based software company announced an acquisition that will allow it to expand its expertise and tap into new markets.

Cartegraph CEO Josh Mallamud confirmed that the company recently acquired PenBay Solutions LLC.

Headquartered at 3600 Digital Drive, Cartegraph offers software and solutions to governmental entities and other “infrastructure owners” tasked with overseeing assets such as roads and bridges.

“Our vision is to create a comprehensive platform that owners of infrastructure can use to manage, operate and maintain their infrastructure,” Mallamud explained.

He emphasized that PenBay Solutions boasted experience in areas that Cartegraph did not.

Cartegraph has conducted the majority of its work with entities such as city and county governments that typically own outdoor infrastructure.

PenBay, on the other hand, has worked extensively with universities that predominantly manage assets within buildings, such as temperature-control and sprinkler systems.

Mallamud noted that PenBay also has experience in “space management” within facilities, a practice that includes situating people in the most effective way possible.

This insight could prove to be particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Universities are trying to reopen with 50% capacity, where students are socially distanced,” Mallamud said. “And they are trying to figure out, ‘How do you do that’?”

Cartegraph was founded in 1994 and now employs 75 people in Dubuque and 125 nationwide.