it comes in cycles... simple clean shop with 5-12 happy people working at stands with 2-3 vols helping as needed... then boom, shop is over full, 3 hands reach for one chain tool, small kids want help now! so...
a year ago we formalized a 'bikewell' program. if you want to build a bike from the 'well' (our sideyard stocked with everything) we ask that you take a class and volunteer 2 hours. 5 different vols teach the classes that are offered 3 times a week. 3 vols run the vol. night. the class covers basic bike laws, basic maintenance, and a _shop orientation_. this one change in our program has brought just enough 'order.'
we do have a nice sitting/conversing area too. like austin, we have about 12 stands, and some share tool boards.
a solution we would like to see someday: open many more hours, like 10am-7pm daily. but we are all-volunteer like many others. i'm off at city meetings all the time advocating for a connected bicycle infrastruture. but it does work- we trust about 20 people with keys to the shop, and they get it done. sure we lose a tool now and then, and maybe someone that did not take the class gets a sweet bike. we bend 'rules' a lot, and try to stay fair to all. each person that comes thru the door is a relationship not a customer.
our donation jar brings in about $600 a month- just enough to cover $500 rent and $100 utilities. tools are always being donated, or bought with extra shop funds and small neighborhood grants.
-average 30 visitors per 4 hours open shop session
-average 3-5 vols running each 4 hour shift (4 shifts per week)
-inside space 2,000 sq ft., outside 1,000
-given away 4,000 bikes since '96
-50 green loaner bikes in circulation ($10 deposit, comes with lock, light, basket, fenders) (in process of getting them all sponsored by local businesses- for $100 a year business gets a small logo on basket, or they can decorate the bike)
-one section of the shop is 'Pedal Technology' for trailer building, etc.
-'people's projects' get tagged (name, date, phone) and can stay at shop for 2 weeks, then it can go back into the 'well'.
-we have an annual 'festival of cycles' that is like one huge open shop session- we bring all stuff to a park, invite mechanics and musicians, and we all help each other build bikes that people ride away. (4/19/08)
-we have 4 'log books' at the front of the shop: guest book, checkout log, bikewell log, financial log
-i can send more info or e-docs of anything in this email...
-bob giordano free cycles missoula