LeClaire, Iowa – Worth a Visit

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Roger Brooks of Roger Brooks International and the Customer Loyalty Expert says if you’re going to create a business that will bring in tourists, make sure there’s at least two other similar businesses.  LeClaire has taken that advice to heart.

Located in Central Iowa, on the Mississippi River, LeClaire is hope to the Cody Road Historic District.  Cody Road runs along the Mississippi River and has 9 blocks of mid-to-late 19th century architecture that houses the town’s downtown area. LeClaire’s early history is tied directly into the Mississippi River.  Stone quarries, brickyards, grist and lumber milling all created large fortunes and it’s reflected in the residences in town.  (Read more about LeClaire by clicking here.)

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Interior of Antique Archeology

Interior of Antique Archeology

Antique stores, gift shops and junk stores dot the streets juxtapositioned next to restaurants, coffee shops and bars.  They took Roger’s advice to heart and as a result, many people come to town to shop and eat.  They are not disappointed.  Antique Archeology is the home of the American Pickers (as seen on tv) and brings in scads of tourists.  There are two buildings on their property.  The store itself is housed in a square, brick building and when you enter there’s a museum like feeling to it.  Things are arranged perfectly and the space is used very well.  Look up and you’ll see motorcycle vignettes and other entertaining arrangements.  The other building is an old gas station with  small office area that is used for sales and the other side is a one car bay.  Again, you’ll find all kinds of things for sale there. These guys are famous and well loved in the Midwest.  Junkers travel long distances to see them.

 

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We visited Mississippi Cottage Antiques on Cody Street.  They have antiques, and not junk.  The store was located in an old, prairie style home built in 1915 and filled to the brim with antiques.  The house is still 90% original and has tin ceilings and beveled glass windows.  The owner shared many stories of the history of the building, town and valuables included inside.  They also have 6 fine artists that display their work amongst the antiques.  You can read more about this store by clicking here.

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IMG_7505Grasshopper Gift Shop is owned by Kim and she was our host at the Grasshopper Guest House.  Housed in an old Victorian house on a hill overlooking the town and Mississippi River, it’s a treat to wander through the many rooms and grounds.  Kim and I discussed how she chooses the items for sale.  In the earlier days, she went to Market.  Now the vendors at Market come to her.  She has an eclectic taste and beautiful items are everywhere!  When you go to the basement you’ll find a wine cellar too.  President Obama has visited the Gift Shop!  See more information by clicking here.

There are lessons to be learned from LeClaire.  Use what you have and make it special.  Tell your story.  Similar stores bring more shoppers.  Location, location, location.

Did you miss the post about the Grasshopper Guest House?  Find it here. 

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