Hello 2014! 2013 was one heck of a year. When we opened in 2009, we were fresh-faced, newly graduated and facing a terrible economy, with not much more than an idea, a dream, and barely “two nickels to scrape together.” We were somehow approved for a $10,000 small business loan (thanks Cooperative Federal!) and well, we squeezed out every penny from that loan and… with a whole lot of hard work, a bunch of used bikes donated by friends, our own bikes to fill up the space, a few accessories and necessities here and there, we opened up shop!
As repairs came in, slowly we added inventory, and became stocking dealers of our first bike brand (Bianchi). Since then, the shop itself has taken on many iterations — tacking on bike racks, shelving, work benches, and how many hooks!? (Someone should count). We added an Adam (our awesome first employee/mechanic) and tore down the storage room, and started our Thursday Night Rides.
We went to many great bike expos, networked and made friends with other bike shop owners across the country (what a great industry to be a part of!) Then in 2011, an opportunity came along for us to pursue the other half of our dream (a bike shop/cafe) and we broke wall into the space next door. Amidst a crazy Summer season, we built up the cafe, adding much needed square footage to the bike shop, as inconsequential it seems now (we needed that space!).
A few have questioned the whole cafe/bike shop, “What’s with the bikes?”, “…a cafe?” Well, to us, it’s simple — they go hand in hand. We’re all about building bicycle culture, and making cycling more accessible. It’s about creating a space comfortable for not only the many different “types” of cyclists, but for the whole community — we’ve found lots of overlap between bicycle and coffee culture.
Since 2011, the cafe itself has seen many spacial iterations: shelving, storage, and how many refrigerators? Our menu has grown over the years, but we’ve always strived to keep it simple, with high quality ingredients — many organic and locally sourced, preparing everything down to our infused oil and vinegar from scratch in our tiny kitchen.
2013 was a great year — we checked off many of our business goals, and also had our set of challenges (would ‘ya guess, mainly spatially?). At this time last year, Sara was at culinary school, earning her Certificate of Professional Cooking from the New England Culinary Institute — so look forward to some new yummy menu additions! What followed was another crazy Summer bike season balanced with a culinary internship at Elderberry Pond Restaurant, where even Steve spent time harvesting produce from the restaurant’s organic farm. We added bicycle delivery, new bicycle brands, new faces to the Mello crew, and organized another successful Syracross race.
Along the way we’ve met so many awesome people — we are so thankful for our customers, and the great people we’ve worked with, many of whom have become great friends. We’re really proud of the network of cyclists that we’ve seen grow through the community the shop has incubated. We started with 2 employees, and have grown to 12 — with that sales have grown as well.
2014 starts a new chapter — but for now we are looking forward to another Winter of maintenance classes and spin sessions, and new fat bike rides! We’re working on even bigger plans for 2014 and hope that we can continue to grow, serve, and be a part of the community. Thank you to all who have stuck with us along the way, we wouldn’t be here without you!
Steve and Sara