Iowa Will Soon Have Only One Ben Franklin Store Remaining

by Brian Wilson
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There will soon be just one Ben Franklin store left in Iowa. Fifty years ago, there were more than 100 Ben Franklin stores in the state, but there’s a store closing sale underway at the Ben Franklin in Eagle Grove — and the Ben Franklin in Sheldon will be the last one operating in Iowa. Phil Warnke says he and his wife were relatively young when they bought the store in 1991.

The original Ben Franklin chain went bankrupt in 1996, but Warnke has been paying a licensing fee just to be able to keep the name on the building.

Warnke says when the Ben Franklin company went out of business 27 years ago, that actually helped his operation because as a franchise, his store had to buy and stock company products.

The Ben Franklin store on the town square in Winterset closed in December after 83 years in business. The owner of the Ben Franklin store in Nevada retired last November and the store closed. The Ben Franklin store in Eagle Grove announced its “store closing” sale on Facebook a few weeks ago, but has not set an end date.

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