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Where will our future take us?

Help us envision new space for Sharing Wheels

By Kristin Kinnamon, Board Member

Whenever the weather – and shop – turn cold, when volunteers and customers working on bikes bump elbows in our crowded work stands, when new customers wander in from the alley with a dazed look saying “I finally found you,” when bike donations block the entry or dirty hands cry out for washing (but there’s no sink), when the summer heat turns our space into an oven – when those things happen, we dream about a bigger, better shop space for Sharing Wheels.

We’ve been in our current, low-rent space in the Broadway Mall building since 2005. 

Two years ago, we seriously considered renting additional space here in this building. Or at least making major improvements to the garage and entrance to better welcome customers.

Unfortunately, after putting significant effort into those potential changes (figuring out work flow, pricing glass doors, giving tours during a December open house), we concluded that the Broadway Mall Building (built in the 1920s) is not the place for us to grow and pursue our vision of “A Snohomish County where anyone can ride, fix or recycle a bicycle.”

What kind of space do we need to accomplish that vision? That is the first question our Board hopes to answer with your help in 2024. We need to define:

  • Size – How many square feet do we need for our programs and services?
  • Function – What types of activities do we need to plan for (such as walk-in repairs, volunteers, classes)?
  • Features – We love having a garage entrance for rolling bikes in and out. What other amenities do we want to retain or add in a different space?
  • Location – We like being bikeable and close to transit. Do we need to be in Everett?
  • Budget – What can we afford in terms of rent, utilities and other costs, including moving?

Our Board of 8 volunteers does not want to answer these questions alone. Everyone reading this, everyone who’s ever bought a part or given us a bike, every local bike shop, and every leader in the community (elected or not) is considered one of our stakeholders.

We want your input.

There’s a big piece of butcher paper in the garage right now, waiting for you to write down your ideas. We’d also invite everyone to our annual meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17 at the Sno-Isle Food CoOp.

Along with electing board members, we’ll be seeking volunteers who can help us pursue our goals of 

  1. Defining what we need in a space with stakeholder input
  2. Gathering data on rental and lease availability and costs, space-sharing and government support opportunities, and what we can afford
  3. Sharing our needs with community groups and leaders to build support and leads

Please participate in planning for our future. If you can’t make it to the meeting, feel free to email your thoughts to Executive Director Christy Cowley, ccowley@sharinghweels.org Thanks for supporting Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop.