I was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Skateboarding has always been an outlet for me and I spent most of my teen years across the river in Philadelphia at LOVE and FDR skate parks. After graduating from high school, I apprenticed with a small engine mechanic and learned that I loved the technicalities and challenges of getting a motor back in shape. I worked on lawnmowers, ATVs and snowmobiles for over ten years, first in New Jersey and then in Vermont, where I moved to be able to snowboard and mountain bike.
I settled in the small town of Rochester, Vermont and after a few years I was looking for a new challenge and transitioned from small engines to repairing bicycles. I loved living in rural Vermont but really missed skating the streets of a city so after seven years of working on bikes, I designed, built and ran an indoor concrete skate plaza in an old warehouse. The construction took me over four months and 1,300 bags of concrete but it was amazing to see a dream come to life! The park grew into a safe gathering space for many children and teenagers in the region and hosted dances and concerts in addition to providing a space to skate.
Through this process, though, I learned that skating is my personal passion and I would prefer to continue as a mechanic for my profession. After 16 years in Vermont, I felt it was time to return to Philadelphia and I am thrilled to be pursuing another dream: running my own bike repair and coffee shop.
Fishtown Bikes-n-Beans combines two loves of mine: bicycles and coffee. I tune-up and repair any style of bike and also sell single speed bikes plus bike accessories. The bike shop opened in October and this winter I am opening a coffee shop within the bike shop. I’ll be the first retailer in Philadelphia serving Vermont Coffee Co. coffee. I fell in love with this coffee while living in Vermont and I am excited to be bringing it to Fishtown.
When I lived in Vermont, I worked as a mechanic in a shop that had a friendly, comfortable atmosphere where customers felt they each had a personal relationship with their bike mechanic. I am very proud of the similar reputation my bike shop is beginning to garner in Philadelphia. I am able to repair any type of bike right, the first time. I am also able to give solid advice about the choice of bike, the fit, any accessories and so on. A well-loved bike shop in Fishtown recently closed due to the owner’s illness and those living in the neighborhood have been extremely welcoming to me. I can’t wait to become their neighborhood coffee shop as well!
Fishtown is a Philadelphia neighborhood in transition: There is an influx of young professionals as new apartment buildings go up. Biking is a popular form of transportation in this compact city so many customers are bike commuters. The coffee shop will draw bike shop customers but other people from the neighborhood as well.
My immediate goal is to open the coffee shop. My longer term goal is to expand my customer base by adding additional styles of bikes to my inventory. I aim to become known for not just being located in Fishtown, but being an integral part of the neighborhood.
This loan will allow me to purchase an ice maker ($2,000) and espresso machine ($3,000). These are last two items needed to get the coffee shop located within Fishtown Bikes open and ready to pour Vermont Coffee Co. hot and iced coffee and espresso beverages.
The coffee shop is an integral part of Fishtown Bikes-n-Beans’ business plan. The bike shop is busiest in the late spring, summer and early fall. The coffee shop revenue will help sustain the business through the leaner winter months. It will also help to establish Fishtown Bikes-n-Beans as a welcoming, community minded business in the Fishtown neighborhood. As the sole owner, the loan means the world to me–allowing me to open the second part of Fishtown Bikes-n-Beans.