Search for new location underway
The Good Life Community Bike Shop, a part of the downtown cycling community, will lose its location in Eau Claire Market on Feb. 24 due to its lease terminating after three-and-a-half years.
Jonny Barrett, store founder and director, said though there isn’t bad blood between the shop and the mall’s director, the shop is stuck finding a new location.
“We’re really trying to communicate and get involved with other small grassroots organizations… to open their doors for collaboration to make even better community-building initiatives happen,” said Barrett.
The Good Life, in being more than an ordinary bike shop, is run by donation and focuses on leftist political ideals, which involve being openly inclusive to the gay and lesbian community, encouraging civic engagement and rallies, and hosting shows and fundraisers with its community partners.
The Good Life prides itself on its “focus on being really inclusive to people from all socio-economic backgrounds,” said Barrett, which helps encourage those who are of low-income or no-income to own and maintain their own bikes.
“A lot of our clients who have seen tougher times have often said that they see the shop as sort of a family atmosphere,” said Barrett. “It’s somewhere safe where they can go and know people, and feel useful and valued. We need to be close enough so we’re still an effective support for those folks.”
Lena Elliott, a greaser – or bike repairperson – who started as a summer student in May, said she’s continued working there past her term because of her passion for the shop, and is excited for the move.
“We can find a better and bigger space in order to expand any way we want and just make it even more accessible to people, and have even more facilities,” said Elliott.
Barrett and Elliott both agree that an ideal new location would involve more than doubling the space of their current location to at least 2,000 square feet, owning the location instead of renting, keeping its building wheelchair accessible and sharing the building with a few other community groups.
Produced by: Riad Kadri and Kyle Napier (April, 2011)
If it can’t secure a new location by their closing day, however, The Good Life’s back-up plan is to keep an open spot where the cycling community can still maintain its bikes. The Good Life’s members have also been holding meetings to assess the possibility of owning their ideal location, which they say would require fundraising and asking the City of Calgary for grants.
“We’re just trying to cover all the bases so we don’t end up with no plan and our pants down,” Barrett said.
Rick Kubik, a retired technical writer for key oil sands projects, has been volunteering with The Good Life for two years, and has found it to be an integral part of the downtown cycling community.
The shop’s move will affect both couriers, casual cyclists and cyclists from the homeless community, said Barrett.
“Any person can come in just to buy a used bike, or fix their old bike,” Kubik said while assisting and teaching a patron how to fix her shifter and brakes.
Patron Marian Ghadostik said that although it was her first time visiting The Good Life, Kubik took his time and learning how to fix her bike was “easy to understand.”
“The location right now for me is great, and I would use them again, definitely. They were very generous,” she added.
Devon Hutt, Eau Claire’s property manager, did not return several phone calls seeking comment, but did thank The Good Life for their patronage in the letter outlining their lease termination.
The Good Life will be holding a fundraiser for new venue space on Feb. 2 at 9 p.m at the Broken City Social Club.