by Kingdom on June 12th, 2020
“Rich City Rides Coop Bike Shop” a local cooperatively black-owned bike shop located in Downtown Richmond CA. The shop has grown consistently over the past five years and is currently experiencing new heights in business, customer foot traffic and community engagement. At the start of March the shop was off to a good start, just finished remodeling and upgrading the shop, developing new systems to better support and market to more customers, and establishing a culture where employees and customers feel encouraged and informed. These tasks took a toll for the beginning of 2020, but just as the shop was set to reopen with a new look and purpose the world took a hit when it was ordered to ‘Shelter in Place’ nationally by the government and at that time we saw the shop, other businesses and families prepare for the worst as we’ve never seen anything like this take place and expected things to change for us all.
During this time frame the shop really doubled down on its values and recommitted to the people of Richmond even more then before. Even with being shut down the owners of the bike shop would still show up to the shop to brainstorm and figure out what can they do to serve those of us in need, and in those moments the idea to support the local school district by serving lunches to families in need outside the shop or “The Grab & Go Station” was born. Helping more than 200 families a day handing out free food water and milk to all those in need, and like one of the owners said in a instagram post “Kiss My Brakes, Covid”, we’re still here, the shop never once feared anything more than not being here for a community that has always showed up, supported and been there for them. Rich City Rides through COVID19 has sustained its relationships with the people who are impacted the most by hosting these giveaways every week and upgrading the online store for the safety of consumers.
Almost a month in and with the success of the ‘Grab & Go” station the shop was still relatively busy. It took some time to readjust to the economic climate but once the city labeled Rich City Rides as an essential business, and the shop was able to implement safety procedures for shoppers and would be customers by making sure only a few people were allowed in at a time, face masks at all time, free accessible hand sanitizer, and making show customers waiting outside had tea or water the shop really started taking off, and pulling in more support than ever before!. In overall they developed an increase in sales and customers that produced 345% worth of overall growth and production in May or “Bike Month” which made it the best bike month in shops in half a decade history. This was not by accident, we spent a lot of time prepping the shop to be able to take on this type rush and be able to meet the demand of serving more customers and staying true to their vision and values. Last year we spent a lot of time focusing on marketing and outreach and through that we were able to pull in more customers from the outer communities while still digging deeper and connecting with our long supporting customers here in Richmond. Also when the shop decided they wanted a “new” look, that would be more appealing to the customer, we set aside a budget plus logistical support to help them do it in an affordable yet stylish and communal manner. With new wood flooring, a wall to seperate the service area, windows and seasonal art work the shop made sure to make it a community owned win, people came and volunteered and hired local talent when the project insisted on it, the shop takes pride in saying “We did this!” meaning the Coop plus the community that they serve. And to this we say, if there’s a way to be successful and still stay true to your values, this is that way.
We at Cooperation Richmond look at a business from top to bottom to make sure everything is set to make the business successful and able to meet the demands of the communities they serve. Working so closely with Rich City Rides has been a learning experience for both of us and a blessing. We’re so proud to usher in this new wave of bike enthusiasts to a shop they can trust that has their best interests in heart, and that we can look to for guidance and proper cooperative development that shows the power in coming together as a Coop and supporting one another through any crisis we may face collectively as a community.
As support of the community has risen. Cooperation Richmond has spent time with the owners and invested in making the shop profitable and able to compete with the bigger named shops in the industry by recreating and mapping out the vision of the owners to serve more people, attract more customers and still connect to the immediate community. Also, with attracting more bike enthusiasts and higher salary consumers the shop has seen an increase in sales this year of 150%.