Last summer, Ohio City native Alex Nosse biked from Cleveland to San Francisco with a friend. While cycling for eight hours a day, he had plenty of time to dream of finding a job that also fueled his passion.
“It was a light-bulb moment,” he says. “I realized how much passion I had for cycling, and that I wanted to do something bike-related.”
A year later, the avid cyclist has launched Joy Machines, a new bike shop that opened in June on West 25th Street in Ohio City. Nosse and his business partner/mechanic, Renato Pereira-Castillo, specialize in helping bike commuters and others who want to reduce their dependence on cars.
“Most bike shops are more into the recreational and sport side of cycling, but we believe in using the bike as a transportation tool first and foremost,” Nosse explains. “We really want to encourage cycling all across the city.”
Nosse and Pereira-Castillo, who grew up on the same street and have known each other for more than 20 years, decided to locate their bike shop in Ohio City because of its central location and reputation as a bike-friendly community.
“We get people that come into our shop that say, ‘I’ve been car-free for years now,'” says Nosse. “We also get people from all over the region that are drawn here by the West Side Market, Great Lakes Brewery and the restaurants.”
The entrepreneurs were aided by a $9,000 small business start-up grant from Charter One Bank and Ohio City Inc., a nonprofit community development organization that serves the neighborhood. “Our landlord matched it, which resulted in almost $20,000 in savings,” says Nosse. “This accelerated our start-up process — we went from talking about it to opening the shop in six months.”
Joy Machines sells new bicycles and a wide array of parts and accessories. Pereira-Castillo, who has worked as a bike mechanic for eight years in Cleveland and on the West Coast, can repair or restore just about anything on two wheels.
The shop’s walls are adorned with bike-themed murals by Cleveland artist Haley Morris. “We have a big one of the Guardians of Transportation, on the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge,” says Nosse. “Except the car that the statue is holding has been replaced by a bike.”
Fresh Water Cleveland, 6/30/11