"Chariton Ben Franklin is a five-and-dime store founded in 1935. I am 21 years old and am the current owner of this great business. We are working hard to help Chariton to become a tourist area and I would like to have Ben Franklin become a local shopping destination. Ben Franklin is located on the north side of the historic Chariton Square which was named as a Main Street District through IA Economic Development Authority and Main Street Iowa. Since our designation as a Main Street community, there is an energetic buzz felt throughout Chariton. We have also recently been awarded a grant to add ten upper level housing units in our downtown and Hy-Vee, Inc., along with the Vredenburg Foundation and other local partners are in the process of restoring our historic Charitone Hotel. All of these projects will add to economic prosperity in our region.
It is my goal to preserve this historic store by restoring the tin ceilings to bring our shopping area back to its original form. Ben Franklin is a solid fixture in our community and a big tourism attraction in Lucas County. This helps the economy as our region attracts bus tours from throughout the state that visit our 100+ year old homemade candy store (Piper’s), has a meal prepared by the Amish or Ukrainian residents of Lucas County and tours the Hy-Vee Distribution Center as Chariton is the home of Hy-Vee, Inc.
We would like to be a leader in Chariton to set an example for other business owners to invest in their physical buildings and to take pride in the historic integrity of our community. As most rural Iowa towns, we are at risk of losing our youth to metropolitan areas. As the youngest entrepreneur in our area, I would like to lead by example and help to mentor young people in our schools on the importance of small business in rural Iowa.
The front of my building is inviting and I feel that the ambiance could be greatly heightened by revealing and restoring our historic tin ceilings through this great “Dream Big Grow Here” program!"
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