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Letts-Fletcher/Western Grocer in Past Times

March 31, 2014 - Mike Donahey

To many a Marshalltonian, Iowa Wholesale Supply was the only occupant known in the stately, four-story building at the corner of Main Street and South Second Avenue, officially known as 14 S. Second Ave.

But IWS moved to 3110 S. Sixth St. some time ago.

And long-time owner Lew Miller is gone, having sold the business and moved to Coloradao.

However, seniors, historians and others know well, that a by-gone business, an icon, Western Grocer Co. once conducted business at 14 S. Second Ave.

Constructed in 1898, the solidly built structure was financed by Marshalltown entrepreneurs Thaddeus Binford, G.F. Kirby and F.J. Woodbury.

Letts-Fletcher Co. was the first occupant, conducting business from 1898 to 1901.

In 1901, it sold its business to Western Grocer Co.

In its heyday, Letts-Fletcher had 44 employees in several departments, and in a years time handled upwards of 500 carloads of merchandise, in addition to smaller shipments.

Its four floors and basement were completely stocked with thousands of articles that made up its wholesale grocery stock.

Cheese, coffee, corn, soaps, syrups, sugar, tomatoes and more made up its huge inventory. Western Grocer continued selling those products, and more, after they purchased Letts-Fletcher.

Double fire proof vaults were built in both the basement and first floors to Letts-Fletcher, and later Western Grocer Co., valuable records.

Read more about the Letts-Fletcher Co., and the Western Grocer Co., while finding out what the future holds for the 116-year old building in the April Past Times, inserted in the April 6 edition of the Times-Republican.


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