But this article was on a completely different idea for a co-op: a co-op for bike riders. As it says in my article for The Mix:
In a time when being green is important - as well as the always important need to get some healthy exercise - what a great idea. This is definitely the place I'll go to now when I need a bike tune-up!
The Hub Bike-Co-op is an integral part of bicycle culture in the Twin Cities. As a worker-owned cooperative for eight years, they have focused on the environment and consumer education. They look at riding bikes as much more than just a recreational activity—bikes are a main source of transit that can improve the world, creating less pollution and waste in the process. The co-op’s supplies are also green, from recycled paper to biodegradable chain lube, and they recycle their tires and all aluminum and steel left over from bicycle repairs.
There were three original founders of the Hub Bike Co-op, and now there are 12 current owners as the business has grown. “We decided it was a very democratic way to run a business, with no hierarchy,” said co-owner Amber Schmidt, “It takes a lot of compromise, but it’s very fair and balances out with all the different personalities.”
The co-op’s philosophy is seen in their business motto: “All types of bikes for all types of people.” Although they see bikes as more than recreational, they also realize bikes can be used for all purposes, whether it is for sport, racing, or for transit. Said Schmidt, “We advocate for using your bike the way you want to use it.”
Besides selling bikes, the co-op is strongly focused on bicycle education. “We offer in-store basic maintenance classes and have smaller events on bike safety,” said Schmidt. They also teach about the different types of bikes. Having three stores (Cedar- Riverside, Minnetonka, and the new store set to open on the University of Minnesota campus this spring), really focuses on individual customers’ needs.
“We even have a do-it-yourself stand at our larger Minnehaha store,” said Schmidt, “You can repair your own bikes there, so you don’t have to go out and buy tools.” The new location on the school campus is also set up for commuters with 24-hour access to showers, lockers, bike storage, and a public computer to look up bike routes and offer bicycling tips.