Southwest Rides Brings Shop Management Skills to Detroit

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Southwest Rides, a program that teaches entrepreneurship skills to youth through bicycle mechanics and shop management, will open a retail shop next week in Springwells Village in southwest Detroit.

Southwest Rides began moving into its new home at 1824 Springwells in May, says Isaac Gilman, a board member for the youth program and bike shop. He says the new space is considerably larger than its former home — a garage attached to the All Saints Neighborhood Center on Longworth Street in Detroit.

“We realized there was a demand for (a bike shop) in the neighborhood, and we wanted to fill that need while continuing on with the youth program as our main mission,” Gilman says. “It was necessary to be in a garage for a number of years because we were mainly just doing youth programming, but people kept stopping by asking us if we sold or fixed bikes.”

The full-service store will open June 19 and will sell and repair both skateboards and refurbished bikes. Pricing for the bikes will vary based on the work and parts used, but Gilman says youth bikes will likely cost an average of $35-$50, with adult bikes ranging from $50 to $300. “Although, we’re going to aim for between $100-$150 because we do want to provide affordable transportation for people that need it,” he says.

Profits made through the LC3 business, a subsidiary of Detroit-based Urban Neighborhood Initiatives, will be reinvested into the store as well as a neighboring youth programming space that it still under renovation.

“That probably won’t be done by this summer,” Gilman says. “But one way or another, we’re still running our programming this year, whether it’s out of the garage or one of the UNI’s (buildings).”

The store will be open to the public from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. It will be closed Monday through Wednesday, when staff will be busy fixing bikes and skateboards.

To learn more about Southwest Rides, which will host its grand opening in July, visit swridesdetroit.com.

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