Recovery Bike Shop started quite by accident. Brent Fuqua, in the midst of operating a successful photography business, performing as a musician, and holding several other jobs, found himself struggling with addiction and watching the pieces come down around him. In 2008 he sought help. While residing at the Progress Valley Men's Center near Lake and Lyndale in Minneapolis, he literally went out to the garage to work on his own bike and think about where his life needed to go. After accepting the fact that he had lost everything he had ever worked for and realizing that his life needed to be restarted from scratch, the defining moment came: "I'm just going to focus right now on taking care of this one bike and do that well. When I am accomplishing that, I will branch out from there."
After finishing his own bike, Brent focused on the other bikes at Progress Valley that needed repairs. Some of these were resident's bikes, some were leftovers from residents past. Very quickly Brent found tremendous joy in helping others and watching people ride the bikes he had repaired. Soon people began dropping bikes off, and it wasn't long before there were too many to store at Progress Valley. Brent began selling bicycles on craigslist.
In the summer of 2009 Recovery moved to a garage in Uptown and more miracles began to occur. People that had received Brent's help began giving his phone number to their friends. Fixing and selling bikes became a full time job. In the spring of 2010 Brent quit his minimum wage job. Brent's brothers in recovery continued to come by, help out at in the garage, and earn bikes.
With the business in full swing as a one man operation, Northeast resident Mike Smeija suggested that Recovery move to a retail space near Central and Lowry. On 1/1/11 Recovery Bike Shop moved into the space in the Eastside Food Co-op's building. Amazingly, with no money, Recovery had a storefront. Then another miracle happened.
Brent had become friends with the owner of Re-Cycle, Seth Stattmiller in the early days of Recovery. They had stayed in touch and swapped stories. Re-Cycle was the main source of parts for Recovery, being just a few blocks away from the garage. In less than a week Re-Cycle stepped in with the extra resources Recovery needed to launch that spring. Seth's knowledge of operating a retail bike shop and Brent's experience caring for everyone who entered the shop proved to be a successful combination.
As Recovery prepares to move into a 10,000+ square foot building it's good to look back at how far we've come. Ian Aizman interviewed Brent when he was still in a 150 square foot garage. "What made me the most proud, is that when I listened to what I had to say back then, and what we are doing now, our mission is the same," explains Brent.
Our promise to you is that our mission, "Helping our friends enjoy their bikes," will never change. We hope you enjoy this little piece of Recovery history: