North Minneapolis Bike Shop is working to reopen under new ownership with a big mission – WCCO
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Twin Cities community is coming together to help reopen the only black-owned bike shop in its neighborhood.
Kennis Littleton recently became the new owner of Venture North Bike Walk & Coffee in North Minneapolis after it closed during the pandemic. He hopes to peddle the shop’s mission to empower disadvantaged youth.
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“I think it’s in the name. Are you venturing north, are you? Come see this can be a good place,” Littleton said.
A vision is brewing, behind its pandemic doors.
“Cycling is freedom. It means freedom, it means health. It means having the expression to go where you want to go when you want to go,” he said. “To me, that means representation. To be able to represent the BIPOC community in the cycling space.
It’s something he didn’t see as a kid in Minneapolis. But reopening Venture Bike and Coffee has been a business in itself. The small team needs donations to open this spring and launch programs for children in the community. The previous owner was the neighboring church. He rented it from Littleton after he had a tough financial time during the pandemic.
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“I know we’re building something big to help have a positive impact on the community,” said Emmanuel Walyaula, Chief Marketing Officer.
“Once we get over those hurdles, we’ll definitely be looking closely at the Build-A-Bike program, the bike internship, and possibly summer camp,” Littleton said.
From fixing a bike to fixing a coffee mug, creating positive change is what drives the team toward its reopening goals.
Littleton graduated from the Minnesota Teen Challenge in 2018 and has been sober for more than four years. He has changed his lifestyle and now hopes he can help others.
“Being in this new role as a businessman, and father, husband, all these different things, it fills me up, really. I wouldn’t change that for anything in the world,” he said.
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Venture North Bike Walk & Coffee plans to open April 1. They collect donations to start.