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Southwest Rides bridges bicycles and business in Springwells

Southwest Rides is opening its first bike/skateboard shop in the heart of the Springwells neighborhood this week, but the founders behind the new venture are looking at making a bigger impact than just sales.

"We see this as more than just a bike shop and a skateboard shop," says Isaac Gilman, board member of Southwest Rides. "We want to provide options for kids."

The low-profit limited liability company (L3C) began as a youth program that focused on teaching inner city kids life skills like entrepreneurship. The idea is to teach kids the ins and outs of working in retail, holding down a job, and running a business by working at the retail store.

"Our big thing is making a big impact on young people's lives in a sustainable way," Gilman says.

The new shop is set to open in a former cyber cafe at 1824 Springwells on Thursday. The cyber cafe is moving to the second floor of the building. The shop will feature repair services for bicycles and skateboards, while also selling bikes, skateboards, and other assorted paraphernalia. It also aims to sells goods from local businesses.

Southwest Rides currently is looking for a seventh member of its advisory board. It also has two employees and one young person serving as an apprentice. The organization is looking for young people from the Springwells neighborhood in their mid-to-late teens to early 20s  to serve in the positions it offers.

"We are looking to bring on two more young people as apprentices to the shop," Gilman says.

Source: Isaac Gilman, board member of Southwest Rides
Writer: Jon Zemke

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