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The upbeat news in Cherokee the past several days -- a school bond passage, a 100-acre industrial site certified, and the promise of hundreds of jobs via Iowa Food Group -- had folks here standing a bit taller during the high school's homecoming week.

But, alas, the news isn't all peaches and cream downtown. For that's where Tom Letsche and staff at Letsche's Bike Shop worked to sell the remaining inventory before closing the shop, ending a run of 49 years of business in the heart of the Cherokee County seat.

Charlie Letsche, 78, founded the shop in 1969. Son Tom has owned and operated the store since 1993. "We're selling everything," Tom said. "We're closing soon."

Tom Letsche has taken a position as production supervisor at Wells Dairy in Le Mars, Iowa, and currently commutes 30 miles to work four days per week, often covering weekends. When not in Le Mars, he's back in Cherokee, servicing bike and retail customers while pricing and selling wares that remain in a store featuring 4,800 square feet on two floors.

The decision came after chugging uphill for miles.


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