Sometimes we are a lot like a little kid who has recently planted a seedling. We get really excited about it and do our best to nurture it, all the while wondering where the fruits and flowers are. This eager expectation, while a natural longing, can sometimes cause us to discount or under-appreciate the necessary growth and changes that must take place in the developing seedling if it is going to grow into a strong, fruit bearing plant. So while our dreams for WellBuilt Bikes, and the Well’s social enterprises in general, are large and ambitious, pausing to reflect on the last three months for this update has been a good opportunity to celebrate everything that has taken place as our seedlings sprout and take root.
On Earth Day, April 22nd, we held our first pop-up shop bike sale at the Sustainable Living Project’s Earth Day event. We sold 8 bikes and got a taste of things to come. It was a beautiful day as we met a bunch of new friends, got to share our story and vision, worked alongside some of our Earn-A-Bike participants, and had the opportunity to help people find their perfect bicycle. For our second sale the following weekend, we were invited to participate in the Seminole Heights 3rd annual pop-up market at Watermark Church! We have been so encouraged by everyone we’ve had the opportunity to share with and are eager to establish a permanent location to really build community around this work. After the first two weekends, the Sustainable Living Project extended an invitation to us to host our pop-up shops each weekend throughout April and May. Not all weekends have seen sales, but with each one we are growing as a team and developing our own systems and capacity. We can not thank SLP enough for sharing their space with us as we grow and learn.
In addition to our Saturday sales we have been able to work with six Earn-A-Bike participants who each volunteered at least ten hours toward their very own bikes. This program is at the very heart of all that we are building as we long to see everyone in Tampa have their own reliable transportation. We have also been able to share about 25 kids’ bikes with refugee children through our friends and partner workers at Love Has No Borders.
Jessica, the “founder and matriarch” of the “Well’s Angels” community and WellBuilt Bikes was invited to be a panelist at a recent Bike/Walk Tampa Bay Event. The event was a great opportunity for us to rub shoulders and share our vision with some of the city’s most avid and influential cyclists. Jessica was given the floor to share her own journey into this world where she found tremendous beauty and diversity among Tampa’s cycling community. It is there that she has been leading and working to see needs met, bridges built, and, by shifting one gear at a time, our city made whole. At this same event, during an awards ceremony for local cyclists, our very own Sean Martin was nominated as Commuter of the Year and Jessica for Bike Advocate of the Year.
Our team has been growing and Chris, one of our crew, just transitioned his work schedule to a part-time job so that he can dedicate more of his time and attention to building up the shop. This kind of ownership, sacrifice, and dedication is typical throughout the Well family but should be highlighted and celebrated as we remember how atypical it is in general. Jon took Chris up to Birmingham a few weeks ago to introduce him to our friends at Redemptive Cycles who have been coaching us all along the way. Plus, it’s so much easier to say “Here, this is what it looks like!” than to try and cast that kind of vision. Chris, we are so grateful for all that you do for, with, and among us!
As we recognize growth of the family, new life, and Jessica as a matriarch, we wanted to share some more amazing news: she is having a baby and due any day now!
As we turn the gears and push the vision forward we do have a few significant needs that we hope you might be able to contribute towards (grease, if you will). We are in the market for a good retail space with plenty of storage where we can establish a permanent location for WellBuilt. We also need to raise a good amount of start-up capital for building out the shop and a community work station. Finally, to help Chris transition to us full-time we are trying to secure at least $1000/mo toward a small salary to make that possible. He is already worth far more than that and his undivided attention will be invaluable to our development. Please consider giving regularly toward this staff support or as a one-time gift toward our start-up costs.
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