Rylynn McQuillen: Fig Leaf


Age: 34.

Owner of: Fig Leaf, 345 Bluff St.

Years owned: 29. (Her mother, Ellen Liberg, owned it prior to McQuillen taking it over.)

What does your shop offer? We are a lifestyle shoptique, which is a blend of items to peek the curiosity of many — clothing goods, bath goods and home goods. We have a museum of items carefully curated to make sure customers have the most-wanted items. We want them to collect their pieces, so when they open their wardrobe or enjoy a new piece for the home, it truly brings joy.

Family: Happily married to husband, Mac, for six years. We just added our little one to our family to make us the three musketeers. We officially adopted her in June. Siddaly is 4.

What inspired you to open your business? When retail runs in your blood, it’s hard not to follow in the footsteps of the trailblazer before you. I saw my mom live her passion every day. The love for the small business is something that grows within your soul. Family businesses are everything to us. My grandmother, grandfather, great-grandmother and two uncles are all self-employed. So, it truly runs deep in our veins.

What do you believe is the most unique aspect of your shop? So many have an online presence for their stores, but ours is truly one you have to come in to get the real experience. We create an atmosphere for you. A true experience. Plus, we love catching up with you over a nice glass of wine, too.

What will your shop be offering for the holiday season? We always focus on shopping local and small for the holiday season. Our loyal clientele really shows up for us during the season. They love getting unusual things for their friends, families, co-workers, etc. We always have Santa Claus on our front porch on Small Business Saturday — the day after Black Friday. This year, it will be Saturday, Nov. 28. It draws a big following for the kiddies to see Santa. We also have the Cable Car Square Luminarias. That’s always the night after Thanksgiving. The Luminarias go out at 4:30 p.m., around Bluff Street, then Santa makes his appearance around 6 or 6:30.

What do you enjoy about the location of your shop and the camaraderie of women who also own businesses in Cable Car Square? As we say, the Fenelon Street Elevator is the Eighth Wonder of the World. It really draws a tremendous amount of foot traffic. So we, as business owners, feel we are in the right spot for tourism, as well as centrally located for our locals as well.

It truly is such an adorable neighborhood. Fig Leaf sends people all over to the other shops to make sure people don’t miss out. I tell them what is special or what I like about each and every one of them.

This little neighborhood is consistently growing for Air B&Bs as well.

It’s such a great location for all the events, venues, restaurants and festivals in downtown Dubuque. We are getting together to talk about some fun events to start for each season of the year. Stay tuned on our Cable Car Square Facebook page.

What is your favorite holiday tradition? Wow, where do I start?

On Thanksgiving, I always go home a couple of days earlier and help my mama get ready for the big holiday. We drink wine, catch up, laugh and sample all the fixin’s. She makes the best homemade stuffing, hands down. We gather around before dinner and say who me miss that couldn’t be with us, and that makes us really enjoy the moment we are in.

At Christmas time, we bake cookies for Santa the night before, and my dad always reads, “The Polar Express.” We have never missed a year. Family is my most favorite part of all.

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