Biz Buzz: Coffee Tree

Coffee Tree partners Ada McLaughlin (left), Katherine Bidanset and Kristine Bidanset stand in front of their future coffee house Monday in Lancaster, Wis.

Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from across the tri-states. In this week’s edition, we highlight developments in Dubuque and Lancaster, Wis.

Owners of a soon-to-open coffee shop in Lancaster hope their business will be known not only for its menu items but also its hospitality.

The Coffee Tree will open next month at 223 W. Maple St. in Lancaster. It will be co-owned by James and Ada McLaughlin and their daughters, Katherine and Kristine Bidanset.

Katherine said she hopes the business will be a place where everyone feels comfortable, including younger residents in town.

“There isn’t a place for people to gather and hang out, especially for young people looking for somewhere to spend time after school,” she said. “We’re really hoping that this can be a great gathering spot.”

The Coffee Tree will fill a storefront formerly occupied by a clothing boutique. Kristine acknowledged that transforming the facility for its future use has been a time-consuming process, which has involved the creation of new restrooms and buildout of a kitchen.

Ultimately, however, she believes the coffee house will thrive in a location that generates a high volume of foot-traffic.

“It is downtown, right off the square,” she said. “From what we’ve heard, people in the downtown are really excited about this.”

James McLaughlin believes the business’s menu items will gain a big following in Lancaster.

Beverages will include espresso-based coffees, teas, smoothies and homemade hot chocolate. The business will also serve a variety of a pastries and paninis.

“We’re going to have fresh-made, high quality products and we think people will really enjoy that,” McLaughlin said. “It will be nice for people to have access to that here in town without having to travel 20 miles or so to find it.”

The Coffee Tree is aiming to open its doors in late October, according to McLaughlin.

CARRYING ON THE TRADITION?

After more than two decades operating an assisted-living facility, a Dubuque resident is on the verge of retiring from the business.

However, she is hoping somebody can carry on the tradition she has established.

Mary Callahan Elliott has owned and operated Seventh Heaven elder group home for 21 years. Located at 1321 Tomahawk Drive, the home has provided care for more than two-dozen individuals over the years.

Elliott said she cherishes the connections she has made with those people, noting that many guests are reserved and quiet at first, before ultimately becoming comfortable there.

“When they come here, they are in a cocoon,” she said. “But the longer they are here, the butterfly eventually comes out and they just thrive.”

Elliott credited her husband, Francis, for working closely alongside her and helping the business become a success. While she personally is stepping away from Seventh Heaven, she hopes to “turn the keys over” to someone else who wants to keep the operation running.

“If I had a calling to be in the business, there have to be others who feel the same way, who feel they have a calling in this regard,” she said. “It makes it hard to even think about closing the doors without reaching out to see if there’s someone else who wants to carry this on.”

Seventh Heaven can be reached at 563-557-9110.

MILLWORK MOVE

After 25 years in the same downtown location, a Dubuque financial planning firm is preparing to move to the Millwork District.

Steele Capital Management, currently located at 788 Main St., will move to The Dupaco Voices Building at 1000 Jackson Street early next year. Construction on the new space is already underway and officials anticipate Steele Capital Management will occupy the structure in April.

Steele Capital Management was founded in 1996 and has operated out of its Main Street location ever since. The impending move comes amid other noteworthy changes at the firm.

Michael Doyle, currently the vice president of advancement and treasurer at Loras College, will formally take over as the firm’s president on Dec. 31. In that role, he will report to CEO Mike Steele.

Doyle, who already is working in limited capacity with Steele, said the move to a larger space is a necessity as the company moves forward.

“In the space we’re in right now, we are full,” Doyle said. “We plan to grow, both in terms of employees and assets under management and we know that, in order to do that, we need a new space that provides that room for growth.”

Steele Capital Management currently has $2.7 billion in assets under management and employs a dozen people in Dubuque, as well as eight outside representatives in markets throughout the Midwest.

The arrival of Steele Capital Management will mark another significant development in the evolution of what was once known simply as the Voices building.

In early 2019, Dupaco Community Credit Union announced plans to invest roughly $37 million into the redevelopment of the structure, located at the corner East 10th and Jackson Streets. The building now serves as Dupaco’s operations center, and employees began occupying the facility in December.

Dupaco Chief Marketing Officer David Klavitter said he’s excited for Steele to join the space.

“I’m glad another entity can realize the vibrancy that this space will add to their business,” he said. “There’s nothing else like it. And if somebody wants to propel their business forward, this is the place to do that.”

Doyle confirmed that the Steele building at 788 Main St. has been sold but did not provide specifics on the future of the structure. He noted that Steele Capital Management will remain at that facility until it is ready to move to the Millwork District location.

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