Learn more about treasured local nonprofit Lowertown Bike Shop in this Q&A with Operations Manager Crystal Sursely.
How long has Lowertown Bike Shop (LBS) been in business?
Eleven years this May!
Why did you decide to open a nonprofit cycling business?
LBS became a nonprofit because we wanted to create an organization to support our community. The biggest benefit to being a nonprofit is that we can ensure our mission is carried out well into the future, and we have room to expand how we serve our community.
What is your mission and how do you carry it out?
LBS is dedicated to providing sustainable transportation options using recycled bikes and parts. We also provide educational opportunities to promote health, safety, environmental awareness, and connectedness within our community. We work hard to carry out our mission by offering bikes for all budgets, providing both new and used options and products. We work with our community to offer classes and events and provide training opportunities to our volunteers. We also have a large recycling program, through which we’ve saved literally tons of bicycles from ending up in a landfill.
Have you always been located in Lowertown?
LBS stared in 2011 in a small basement/garage space in the Jax Building, also located in Lowertown. We moved to Union Depot four years ago, in May. Being in the middle of a beautifully renovated transportation hub increases our visibility and helps us reach more people, regardless of how they get around.
Can you speak to your values surrounding community and multimodal transportation?
We are very fortunate to be located in the center of a transportation hub with access to light rail, buses, and trains, but our community still needs more access to safe infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians. As awareness grows around climate change, it is our hope that our Saint Paul community can move away from oil dependence and have access to safer infrastructure. Affordable multimodal transportation alternatives are paramount to making this change happen.
What products and services do you offer?
We offer a complete range of services from bike tune-ups to overhauls, custom builds to fittings. Flat fixes, adjustments, and quick repairs can usually be taken care of while you wait and are very affordable. We have a large selection of both new and used bicycles and products for all price ranges.
What makes LBS unique?
We strive to provide bikes that fit a person’s individual needs. We are not about pushing brands or certain riding styles, but instead focus on finding the right bike for you. Our location in a beautiful, historic train station is also wonderfully unique.
What kind of events do you host?
Every year we host an Earth Day Bike Ride where we partner with other local businesses. We also host group rides throughout the summer and have been known to throw a party or two for our community. We are always looking for ways to reach out and have fun!
Our Community Partners are small, independent local businesses that have been hit especially hard by the effects of COVID-19. Join us in solidarity and show your love for our community by continuing to eat, drink, and shop locally.