What is Hammer and Cycle?
Hammer and Cycle is a community bicycle shop in Hamtramck providing bicycle repair, services and retail. We’re currently popping up in Lo & Behold Records and Books at 10022 Jos Campau. Our focus is on good honest service and accessibility to bike riders of all backgrounds, abilities and ages.
How did you get started?
Hammer and Cycle started from a conversation about things we could do to improve the city. Hamtramck is a super walkable and bikeable city but there are no operating bike shops in the city itself. We wanted to provide an affordable way for people to get to work and around town.
We all went to MSU and lived in a co-op together. There was a huge bike culture there. Jeff Van Andel, one of our co-founders, has an extensive background working on and building his own bikes. He was the driving force behind us doing this.
Tell us about your experience in Build Institute?
Jason Friedmann, Director of Community and Economic Dev. In Hamtramck, recommended it to us and we had already heard a lot of really good things through friends who had gone through it. The class gave us that extra push in figuring out our finances to see what was really feasible. Our idea got a lot more realistic after we started looking at the details of what we wanted to do.
What was the most helpful aspect of the class?
The best part about the class was having the ability to talk to people from so many diverse backgrounds. We got some great constructive criticism about it and saw a lot of our ideas evolve over the class.
Build also allowed us to figure out that starting on a smaller scale, through temporary retail, will help us do market research, learn about the community and present us with a means to provide affordable, community-oriented services. As a pop-up in Lo & Behold with free rent, we are able to charge much less than we would be if we had our own shop at this time.
We’ve been in Hamtramck for two years and the community there is very supportive. It’s so welcoming to small businesses – there are at least four new businesses opening this summer. We already have the best food in the Metro Detroit area – we need to give visitors a reason to stay once they leave the restaurants. A lot of younger people are moving to the city right now, biking is a huge mode of transport for them. We would love to see bike culture grow in the city.
What are your latest developments after Build?
We just launched a temporary retail and service space inside Lo & Behold in Hamtramck. Our good friend Richie owns the space and we thought it would be a great way for us to get started – getting the word out, building connections and establishing our reputation in the community.
What’s in the future for Hammer and Cycle?
Our long-term goal is to have our own space. We also envision it being a community-gathering place, where we can have a larger education component and regular, organized community rides.