Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from the tri-state area. This week, we highlight developments in Dubuque and Peosta, Iowa, and Platteville, Wis.

A long-running auto shop is settling into an expanded facility in Peosta.

Willis Auto Body recently moved into a new building at 8514 Deerwood St.

“It is about double the size of the building we were in before,” said manager Jeff Willis. “Plus, it is a newer, more modern building. It’s a nice upgrade. We’ve had a lot of compliments on it.”

Willis Auto Body offers a variety of services, including collision and dent repair and painting.

With a larger space, the business plans to hire a new employee in the near future.

For the time being, however, Willis Auto Body remains a two-man, father-son operation.

Jeff’s father, Mark Willis, opened the business in May 1985 on Rockdale Road in Dubuque. Jeff joined the business about 13 years ago and has worked alongside his father ever since.

“We enjoy working together. We haven’t killed each other yet,” Jeff said with a chuckle.

Willis Auto Body previously operated on Burds Road in Peosta. Last fall, the company moved to an existing structure along Deerwood Street, where it temporarily set up shop until a new facility was ready to go.

Now in the new building, business has been rolling in.

“This is the busiest we have been in five or 10 years,” Jeff said.

While they have benefited from bringing in new customers, Mark Willis said, many clients have been coming to Willis Auto Body for years.

“We’ve got a lot of repeat customers,” Mark said. “I treat the cars like they are my own. I think in most shops, you are just a number. Here, it is more personal.”

Willis Auto Body is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The business can be reached at 563-583-9329.

LOOKING AHEAD

The owners of a popular grocery and retail store in downtown Platteville plan to retire. However, they hope a new era of ownership will guide the business forward.

Jayne Dunnum, co-owner of Driftless Market, 95 W. Main St., confirmed that she and the three other owners have put the business up for sale.

“We’re at the point now where most of us are in our 60s,” she said. “We want to move on and do other things.”

Dunnum and the three other co-owners — Robin Timm, Heidi Dyas-McBeth and Bill McBeth — opened Driftless Market in 2008.

In addition to selling groceries, the business serves as a popular lunch spot. Dunnum noted that the shop also sells items such as essential oils, clothing and local art.

She is proud that Driftless Market has played a vital role in the community.

“We have been a mainstay and become one of the anchor businesses on Main Street, the kind of business that is so important for Main Street to have,” she said.

That realization is a big part of why the current owners hope to pass the torch to new ones. Dunnum said multiple people already have expressed interest in purchasing the business.

In the meantime, the current owners are in no rush to close up shop.

“We are here, and we continue to operate the same way we have always operated,” Dunnum said. “We’re hoping for a smooth transition.”

Driftless Market remains open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed Sundays.

The business can be reached at 608-348-2696.

NEW TENANT IN HISTORIC BUILDING

A Christian nonprofit organization with an international reach is completing its move to a historic location in downtown Dubuque.

Emmaus International has moved about a dozen of its employees to the organization’s new home at 1640 Main St. Executive Director Terry Wilson said the remaining four workers will move to the location in the coming weeks.

“We’re very happy to be here,” said Wilson. “It’s a much bigger space, and we have more room to move around. It’s also the first time we have owned our own building.”

The organization produces Bible correspondence-course content and other resources both for individuals and churches. It was originally a department of Emmaus Bible College but was spun off into its own organization in 2002.

Prior to moving to Main Street, the organization rented space at the Emmaus Bible College campus along Chaney Road.

Employees in Dubuque conduct marketing and administrative work and create content for Emmaus International’s Bible correspondence courses. This comes in the form of printed books as well as online courses.

The new facility will feature an audio- and video-recording studio that will produce content and assist with training efforts.

Emmaus International has a physical presence in more than 100 countries, and its products are translated into multiple languages.

The building at 1640 Main St. previously was occupied by Hoffmann-Schneider Funeral Homes and Cremation Service.

Funeral home co-owner Jim Schneider emphasized that the business continues to operate at its other location at 3860 Asbury Road.

Cutting down to one location simplified operations, he explained.

“We love the old building, but it really wasn’t getting a lot of traffic anymore and really wasn’t necessary for us to have,” Schneider said. “(Closing that location) seems to have worked out well for us and for (Emmaus International).”

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