Editor’s Note: Recent closures due to COVID-19 prevention efforts may impact this business’ hours of operation.
SMITHVILLE — Serving the community in a cooperative fashion, Damien Boley said he opened the Smithville Bike Co-op downtown in an effort to put his money where his mouth is. As the city’s mayor, Boley regularly encourages local investment in the city’s downtown and business community.
“Someone once told me the mayor doesn’t have a lot of say in a lot of stuff so I tried to do something,” he said. “If we want stuff, sometimes we have to go and do it ourselves.”
The shop is a place where guests and customers can rent, purchase or repair bicycles.
“I started the bike co-op a few years ago online to be a group where people could get together and ride,” Boley said. “I’ve always been interested in the co-op model. … I had originally tried working with another business downtown and that didn’t go very far. Then I started going to the Board of Aldermen meetings downtown and decided to run for office instead and had to put some bike co-op stuff on the back burner.”
After winning the mayoral election, Boley went back to the drawing board for his downtown business about two years later, when the space next to his wife’s business, Kelly’s Nook, opened up. The family also rents the space on the corner for a community theater and coffee shop.
“So, I thought I’d grab the third building,” Boley said.
At the bike shop, visitors will find tools for bike repairs along with resale equipment options, bike rentals, camping equipment, Orange Mud endurance packages and other odds and ends.
“It’s not a traditional bike shop,” he said. “It is more of a community service type of business. … If you want to work on your own bike, you can come in and use the tools to do so.”
In the future, Boley said he envisions having an annual membership fee where members will pay a minimal amount for access to tools whenever they need.
“I’m just trying to add to downtown business,” he said.