WINTERSET AND NEVADA, Iowa — In October, two central Iowa towns learned their iconic Ben Franklin Stores, would be closing.

Sheila Smith worked in the Ben Franklin store in downtown Nevada for 45 years.

We got word that Fred (Samuelson) had decided he was going to retire and we would be closing the store, and he’s had the store for 52 years,” said Smith. “It’s not a job, it’s a family.”

In the town of Winterset the same story is unfolding, as the long time owners, Dave and Judy Trask have decided to close the store and retire.

“We had an opportunity to sell the building to people interested in coming to town,” said Dave Trask. “With the time we’ve been here, we wanted to take advantage of something good for the town, and good for us as well.”

“We have had the nicest people walk through these doors from all over,” said Smith of the customers at the Nevada location. “It was something people could count on, for shopping and for a kind word of faith, if you’re having a bad day you can say hey this happened.” 

Both stores are hearing stories of customers’ memories from over the years.

“We’ve heard stories this week from adults that were children,” said Judy Trask. “They would come to visit grandma and grandpa, they would be given a $5 bill and go and shop, and have a good time and those memories stuck.”

The Trasks know all about the company that will follow in their space on the corner of Court and John Wayne Drive. However, they can’t say who the company will be, other than it will be a good fit for the square and a good fit for Winterset.

The new company will get possession in January, and then remodel the space. Neither Ben Franklin Store has named an exact day they will close.