(Photo by Paul Struck)
By Paul Struck, Editor
Things just keep improving in Cherokee's renovated downtown with the announcement last week that Letsche's Bike Shop & Radio Shack Store at 215 W. Main St. is undergoing extensive interior remodeling.
Designed to enhance and expand merchandise display areas and add to shoppers' convenience, the energetic remodeling project includes attractive, all new display cases and shelving, new check-out areas, new fixtures, new carpeting, new lighting, expanded showroom and work areas, and the addition of exciting new products from Radio Shack, Verizon, and Schwinn-Nautilus exercise equipment, bicycles apparel, and accessories.
Business founder Charlie Letsche and owner Tom Letsche of Cherokee have operated the 48x100 store, equaling 4,800 square feet on the main level plus a full basement for storage, at its present location since 1993. Tom returned to his home town 12 years ago to purchase and take over management of the store.
Charlie started the Schwin Bicycle Shop in 1969 in a smaller building he constructed at 937 S. 2nd St. (U.S. Highway 59), which now houses Brown Chevrolet & Buick Body Shop.
He later added the Radio Shack franchise and now, the business also offers the Verizon brand of cell phones and related electronics in the store located in the heart of Cherokee's Historic Downtown Entertainment & Cultural District.
"When I started, it was just me and later I added a part-time person to help me assemble, maintain and repair bikes," said Charlie proudly. "Now, we've got this big store filled with stuff and have five full-time employees and five part-timers. It's been quite an experience. We couldn't have accomplished any of this without Tom."
As testimony to the high regard Radio Shack has for the Letsches' successful operation, the Cherokee franchise is one of just four Radio Shack Stores in Iowa getting such a complete makeover, and now serves as one of the company's newest, high-volume stores.
Also, for the past several years, Letsche's Bike Shop has been designated an official RAGBRAI bike shop, with Tom annually traveling the entire RAGBRAI route servicing bikes along the way.