The NEMAA blog is a platform for us to share our members work and their stories, and a hub for information about the NEMAA community.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Recovery Bike Shop

According to owner and founder Brent Fuqua, Recovery Bike Shop started somewhat by accident. While operating a successful photography business, performing as a musician and working several other side jobs, Fuqua found himself struggling with addiction. After moving into a treatment facility, he spent a great deal of time focusing on his recovery while fixing up old bikes in the garage. This hobby soon turned into a business when referrals continued to pour in, and on January 1, 2011 Recovery Bike Shop moved into its first storefront on Central Ave. in the Eastside Food Cooperative rental space.

“It was pretty clear the universe was at work, it was a perfect fit,” says Fuqua.

Fuqua eventually partnered with friend Seth Stattmiller, owner of Re-Cyle which is the main supplier of parts for Recovery. In the summer of 2013, the business continued to expand. When the Northeast Investment Cooperative (NEIC) purchased a 15,000 square-foot space at 2504 Central Ave. NE, Recovery moved in.

“I believe the biggest factor to our growth comes from the fact that Northeasters tend to stick together,” says Fuqua. “They are hardworking, honest, and fair people, and since we’ve opened that has been our goal – to be honest, fair and hardworking.”

The annual impact of Recovery Bike Shop goes beyond just the Northeast neighborhood and is felt on a global scale. Every year, the company processes nearly 5,000 used bicycles, puts 1,000 new cyclists on Minneapolis roads, ships 1,000 bicycles to Africa, and reduces carbon dioxide pollution by one million pounds.

As with any other small business, Recovery Bike Shop faces its share of future challenges and opportunities. “We’ve grown very fast, but we call that a good problem,” says Fuqua. “In some ways, the opportunities are the same as they always have been, to restore and recycle thousands of bikes each year and be a top notch shop for the Northeast area.”

Recovery hosts four open shops every month, two of which are called “Grease Rag” and are exclusively for women, transgender and femme identified individuals. The staff also hosts an open shop every other week with techs on hand to help the public work on their bikes and teach basic skills.

“We attend some 50 events a year all over the city where we fix bikes for free, and we also donate a lot of items to charity events,” says Fuqua. “We feel strongly that this is a lot more fulfilling and productive than conventional marketing.”

As the company grows, Fuqua and Stattmiller remain committed to the company’s original mission, continue to reach out to new market areas to the north, and constantly look for additional ways to get the word out about their business.

“The main thing that we always like to say in our staff meetings is just to ‘keep getting gooder.’”

For more information on Recovery Bike Shop, visit:

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