In 1969, Charlie Letsche decided to open a shop in Cherokee to fix and sell bicycles, and opened his shop in a small building where the Cherokee Laundromat is now located. It was a small business, and occupied only one- half of the building, with a Gulf gas station occupying the other half.
In 1978, Letsche's purchased the Radio Shack line from Holzhauer Motors, and added consumer electronics to their business. Both sides of the business continued to do well, and in 1993, Charlie's son Tom returned to the business, following his graduation from the University of Iowa and four years working at another bike shop in the Twin Cities.
With an ever-increasing line of consumer electronics products, Letsche's found they needed more space, and so it was that they moved to their fourth location, becoming a "Main Street business" for the first time when they moved into their current location at 215 W. Main St.
Charlie Letsche completely retired a couple of years ago from the business he started in 1969, leaving it in the very capable hands of his son Tom. In 40 years the store has gone from a little bike shop with a single employee in 1969 to a large bicycle shop and consumer electronics store with 12 employees today.
Letsche's is one of 10 official RAGBRAI shops in Iowa, supplying official RAGBAI clothing. Tom estimates that he rode on the RAGBRAI ride "maybe six times" in his younger days, and continues to follow RAGBRAI every year now, providing needed services to bikers.
Letsche's has been a family business from the start, and Tom, his wife Amy, and their children Jack, Elisabeth, Heidi and Julia, are all avid bikers and involved in the business in one way or another.
In honor of their 40th anniversary, Letsche's Bike Shop will host the Chamber of Commerce Coffee this Friday, October 9, at 9:30 a.m., and they will also be running a variety of specials throughout the day.
Come on down and see a real Cherokee Success Story - Letsche's Bike Shop and Radio Shack.