In 1969, Lynn and Sally Stiles wanted to start a drug store and decided Muscatine offered the perfect location for it. They opened a store downtown, and for twenty-five years they ran a successful business that served many people throughout the community. When the hardware store owner next door got ready to sell her business, the Stiles happily purchased it, as people would come into their store at all hours asking for repair items.
Along with running their business, the Stiles offered support to the Muscatine community by helping to found the Youth Sports Foundation. An athlete since his elementary school days, Lynn always enjoyed playing football. Concerned that Muscatine did not have any youth football programs, Lynn and Jim Miller began working together to get together to acquire the equipment and coaches needed to get a football program started. Their efforts led to the creation of the Youth Sports Foundation in 1995.
Over the years, the Youth Sports Foundation has grown exponentially and now offers cheer-leading, girls’ volleyball, and track and field, as well as touch and tackle football programs for kids in third through seventh grade in more than 300 communities in Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Through all these changes, Lynn still enjoys watching, “the kids grow up and go through our program and then play in high school and college.”
In addition to lending their support to the Youth Sports Foundation, the Stiles also have done a lot to nurture the arts in Muscatine. Looking to give young artists an outlet, Sally Stiles and two of her friends created Artists in Action, a studio in downtown Muscatine. For twenty-five years, artists of all ages could explore many different creative media and have a space to perform and display their works.
Sally also helped to get Writers in Action started to inspire creative writers in a similar way. She happily reports that the group continues to operate to this day.
Over the past fifty-one years, the Stiles have come to love Muscatine and feel proud to have helped it grow in so many ways. “It’s friendly and very supportive of families,” said Sally. “It’s really cooperative and crosses all borders,” she added.