Despite the difficult times we are facing today, businesses across Iowa are finding a way to persevere and maintain their service to their communities. Home to a group of one-of-a-kind shops, Dubuque offers some great examples of the strides businesses have taken to stay open.
Located in the vibrant Dubuque Millwork District, mixed in with a stunning courtyard and one-of-a-kind shops, sits Namaste Athleisure. Though the business looks the same on the outside, maintaining its inventory of top clothing collections from across the country, fit for all genders and sizes to move seamlessly from one activity to the next, many aspects of its service have changed in light of COVID-19.
Along with stores across the country, Namaste closed its physical doors early in the summer, and opened new doors online and with curbside pickup. Owner Ann Butzier was determined to do whatever it took to keep the business going as well as maintain her community involvement in advocating for brain health. Her efforts paid off and a came with a bittersweet feeling when Namaste was able to re-open its doors and safely welcome customers back.
Zazou's Bridal Boutique
Despite the current pandemic, couples across the country found a way to keep their wedding celebration on the 2020 calendar with help from bridal boutiques like Zazou’s. With a mission to find every bride her dream dress for the big day, Zazou’s knew the importance of staying open and helping make such celebration possible.
Therefore, owner Jodi Stricker did everything in her power, including rethinking her entire business plan, to keep her boutique open. Zoom and other online appointments replaced the large wedding party fittings that typically took place in the shop. Additional appointments with narrowed down choices were replaced by curbside pickups or mail orders to try each choice. Now, the boutique’s doors are open for a limited number of appointments each day. Though business may look a little different, the mission remains the same: making each bride feel special, no matter their budget.
Cotton Cabin Quilt
For many, quarantine has provided an opportunity to catch up on those unfinished crafts collecting dust in the corner. Mostly known as a destination for quilting clubs throughout the tri-state area, Cotton Cabin Quilt offers a vast array of fabric choices, kits, patterns, equipment and the ever-scarce elastic that has been in high demand for homemade masks.
Though it was forced to close its doors, the shop has been busy filling online and to-go orders for the better part of 2020, helping local quilters keep their sewing machines running at full speed. This includes owner Kathy Regan, a seasoned quilter for over 25 years, whose expertise on each and every item in her shop keeps customers coming back for resources and guidance alike.
River Lights Bookstore
Located on a revitalized block in the heart of downtown Dubuque, surrounded by local coffee shops and eateries is another charming shop, River Lights Bookstore. With hardwood floors and tin ceilings touched by scores of bookshelves filled with novels, magazines, toys, trinkets, games and unique gifts, this little oasis still perseveres today, though it looks a little different.
Before COVID-19, River Lights was home to various book clubs, author signings and visitors looking for a comfy escape. Though the hustle and bustle isn’t the same, owner Sue Davis hasn’t stopped spreading her love of literature throughout the community. Through curbside pickups and mail orders, including a monthly subscription for loyal followers, online author talks and book readings, the spirit of River Lights thrives.
Today, the bookstore’s doors are once again open with subtle safety changes. Immediately upon entering the store, visitors are required to sanitize their hands and don a mask, which are provided if needed. Throughout the day, everything from pens found at the cash register to door handles and counters are thoroughly cleaned.
Hopeful for another successful holiday season, River Lights continues planning for the future. They will soon be rolling out additional shopping options including private appointments where visitors can shop in store before or after hours, new delivery services and a more robust online selection to include gifts and games.