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"If I teach you how to fix your flat and how to maintain your bike, and you can do it at my place for free, you're going to tell your friends about it," explained Tim Rhone, one of Pasco's three partners. "And then when you want a bike, you're probably going to come to us. It's a longer term approach. It's building a relationship, rather than just going for thesale."
"There's a handmade element to this Nike Gray Joggers place," she said. "I want to be interactive, so if there's a downturn in retail, then I can turn this table into a class space and bump up classesIoffer."
moving into downtown Ojai. A block and a half away, tucked into a space behind a pizza restaurant and a coffee shop is a resource center belonging to the nonprofit Ojai Valley GreenCoalition.
with tools cabled to it, to allow individuals or small classes to work on their bikes without disrupting business inside the shop. Although they estimate the stand will cost $10,000, it's an integral part of their businessapproach.
Deborah Pendrey, who leads the coalition, moved the group into an informal office space to better reach those who might want to learn about energy conservation, water conservation, green building and other environmentalissues.
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"I came to Oak Grove to be an outdoor education teacher," he said. "I wanted the kids to bring their bikes to school so we could go riding, but I found out that a lot of the kids' bikes were broken and they didn't know how to fixthem."
Shoots of green business coming up in Ojai
Pendrey thinks the slow economy in some ways has proved as much of an opportunity as ahindrance.
The shop is already changing some aspects of bike culture in Ojai by running a bicycle rental shop out of the luxurious Ojai Valley Inn Spa. The rental shop opened in November and has 45 bikes of all typesforrent.
"The inn warned us that December and January are the off season, the slowest months, but we've been beating expectations, and we anticipate that we'll be doing gangbusters business over the summer," Rhonesaid.
"If you become more efficient and conserving with energy and water, you're saving yourself money, and a lot of my organization's conversations are coming at it from that angle," she said. "That might be how you best approach people in arecession."
Pasco grew up in Nebraska fixing his own bicycles. He still teaches bicycle repair to students from Oak Grove, but the little clinic he opened out of a shipping container evolved into a shared space for bicycle repairs in a pool shop in Meiners Oaks, and then The MOB Shop, for Bicycles of Meiners Oaks, a larger store acrossthestreet.
Sakai, who teaches at Otis Parsons Art Institute in Los Angeles, Nike Womens Shorts Black
"We want people to be able to roll up, fix a flat, fix their chain, do whatever," Rhone said. "We want to help the community ride and maintain and take care of their bikes. We want to change the bike culture inthistown."
That was in 2009. Now Pasco and three partners are planning to move their business into a long empty lot in downtown Ojai. With the unanimous approval of the city's Planning Commission in November, the former gas station on the lot will become a bike shop in April. Yet teaching people how to fix their bikes, and giving them the means to do it for free, is still part oftheplan.
Wanda Sakai, a former Patagonia designer who opened a sustainable clothing and housewares store called Modern Folk in September in downtown Ojai, also sees business opportunities in the sloweconomy.
plans to offer classes in felting, sustainability, and clearing out and thoughtfully disposing ofclutter.
Five years ago, when Kelly Pasco, a passionate bicyclist, opened a free weekly clinic for bicycle repairs at Oak Grove School in Ojai, he never expected it would lead to a businessopportunity.
"I believe there is a green customer in Ojai," she said. "I think people are more and more and asking for the green version of things, whether it's a service oraproduct."
"People are showing an interest in things like composting and recycling, but it's slow," he said. "People don't change easily. We want everything to change overnight and make the world perfect again, but it isn't going to happen that way, so we just have to pickatit."
Ojai's downtown health food store, Rainbow Bridge, also has placed a sizeable bet on the green customer. Two months ago, the store opened an annex next door for bulk foods, pet products and other items that didn't fit in the main store nearby. Although the large annex has increased sales by only about 5 percent, General Manager Ernest Niglio is confident that it will pay off in thelongrun.
Rhone and his three partners, all devout cyclists, plan to put a stand outside the shop, Nike Joggers Navy
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