In 2021 and early 2022, Oelwein had a few empty storefronts filled with new businesses in the downtown district. Business start-up requests are increasing and new business ideas are being discussed.
Oelwein Chamber and Area Development assists in finding properties, assisting with the revolving loan fund, and referring business owners to business advisors and entities to make opening them easier and more efficient.
At the height of the pandemic, inquiries and new business openings dropped significantly. In 2021, we saw interest increase and positive things started to happen, including:
• Opal and Gray Boutique opened in 2021. Owned and operated by Jennifer Doudney and Jennifer Juchem, the new boutique is located at 22 South Frederick. Clothing for women, children and men, home decor and more are available.
• Hacienda Del Rio has purchased the former Winter Photography building at 101 S. Frederick and is continuing the extensive renovation. The new restaurant will have greater seating capacity, a larger bar and will still offer the large selection of Mexican dishes that has become so popular at Oelwein.
• Karen’s Korner opened in December 2021 at 3 South Frederick. The store offers an assortment of toys, models, gifts and more. Karen Williamson is the owner of the new toy store.
• Martin Gardner Architecture opened in the former Cornerstone Real Estate office at 102 S. Frederick, moving out of Strawberry Point. The head office is located in Marion and employs two people daily in the Oelwein office, with others working outside the office as needed. The company has carried out many local and regional projects and their new location will allow them to continue these services.
• Cornerstone Real Estate moved its office to the newly renovated building at 32 South Frederick, which was formerly the Oelwein Family Pharmacy. In January 2021, the office entered into a partnership with Century 21 Signature Real Estate. The company will continue to serve its customers in and around Oelwein.
• T9 Team Sporting Goods has moved to a new location at 3 East Charles. The store is owned and operated by Tracy and Jami Tafolla. Guns, ammo and more are available.
• A tentative groundbreaking date for construction of the new Kwik Star in the Industrial Park is set for March 16, weather permitting.
• Dollar General built a new facility at 236 First Ave SE and opened the store in October 2021. The new store features fresh produce, a large food selection, interior decor, and more.
• The former Dollar General building at 137 South Frederick was purchased in January 2022 by the Oelwein Event Corporation. The building will be renovated into a new two-storey event center. The first floor will have rental space for 80 to 300 and the second floor will have a seating capacity of 450. Historic features of the building will be renovated and new amenities will be incorporated into the design.
• Get ‘R Fried recently purchased the former Taco John’s building at 841 South Frederick. The building is being renovated and will open in the spring of 2022. The restaurant will have a window with drive-through access and indoor seating. Tracy and Michelle Rupright own and operate the business.
• RISE, Ltd – Construction of a new home that houses 5 residents was completed and ready to move in January 2022. The home on the corner of East Charles and Third Ave NE is ADA compliant, one level, spacious and a great asset to our community.
• Second Chance New and Used is the newest retail store in the downtown Oelwein district, located at 7 South Frederick. The new thrift store will have frequent inventory rotations. The non-profit company will give back to the community through donations to area organizations. Sarah Davis is the owner and operator of the business.