Opportunity brought Lyle and Charlotte Helm to Story City in 1963 when they purchased their own small business. ByLo Food Mart (where Dawn’s is located today) was a reflection of the community selling strange sounding items like lutefisk, lefse, and kringla — all foreign to these Des Moines natives. Within two years, the grocery store grew and moved to a larger building, the current Nucara Pharmacy location. Helms’ embraced the community and lasting friendships soon formed. In 1965, Lyle was one of the merchants who founded Scandinavian Days and was named mayor in the mid 1970’s.
In the early 1970’s, the dream of Story City having its own golf course became a reality. River Bend Golf Course had a humble beginning by today’s standards with an original clubhouse the size of a large closet. Neither Lyle nor Charlotte were avid golfers. They both worked too many long hours in their business. But they soon found golfing with friends a great way to relax, especially the get togethers following a round of golf, often called the 19th hole.
Retirement from the grocery business brought another opportunity. Lyle became the River Bend Golf Course Clubhouse Manager in 1980 with Charlotte assisting. The Helms used their business experience to grow clubhouse operations with food and beverage sales and take promotion of the course through tournaments to a whole new level. Lyle was forever the promoter recruiting golfers from all over Central Iowa to come play golf in Story City. And while they were here, they were welcome to get gas, eat a meal and go shopping.
After ill health forced Lyle to retire in 1985, Charlotte took over as manager until 1991. She saw River Bend continue to grow as golfers from across Central Iowa discovered the friendly, 9 hole course located along the Skunk River. Charlotte could be found doing whatever needed to be done, from repairs, to ordering donuts, to organizing league schedules. Tournaments were long, but fun-filled days full of friendly competition and often a steak fry afterwards.
The 11 year relationship between the Helms and River Bend Golf Course was a win-win situation for both parties. During this time, the clubhouse was expanded and cart sheds were added as River Bend continued to move forward. The shelter by the #8 tee box was built by Lyle as well as planting one of the big willow trees in memory of Charlotte.