CYCLE-RE-CYCLE RECYCLES BUILDING
By LOUISE WREGE - HP Staff Writer | Posted December 9, 2017 | View Original Post
BENTON TOWNSHIP — What started in the garages of two St. Joseph neighbors in 2010 soon blossomed into Cycle-Re-Cycle, which rented space on Main Street near the back of a parking lot in Benton Harbor for $1 a month.
The nonprofit took its next step in growth last week when it bought the building at 159 E. Napier Ave. in Benton Township, which had been a yarn shop, a hardware store and a beauty shop before sitting vacant for several years.
Friends and members of the all-volunteer organization celebrated the new digs Thursday with an open house.
“We want to be about all things bicycle,” Cycle-Re-Cycle President Michael O’Hearn said.
Since its beginning in 2010, Cycle-Re-Cycle has taken in more than 1,800 donated bicycles, recycled more than 10,000 pounds of scrap metal and provided low- to no-cost bicycles to people who use them as their only means of transportation.
“I think this represents a step up in how we can serve the community,” O’Hearn said. “... In the old place, people used to say, ‘I didn’t know you were here.’ I don’t think that’s going to happen anymore.”
Organization members found out a couple of years ago that the property they rented was bought by Whirlpool Corp. to make room for more parking.
Dave Kirshenbaum, a certified mentor from SCORE, said the nonprofit wanted to stay in Benton Harbor but couldn’t find a building the members could rent or buy at an affordable price. He said they contacted him in February to help them find a new location.
His help and expertise went beyond finding a building.
“My assistance with them was analyzing this site, helping them with fundraising, promotions,” he said.
Kirshenbaum said he helped them raise $50,000 to buy the building. Now, they are in the process of raising another $50,000 to renovate the building, which needs a new roof, heating system and lighting. They plan to have the building ready to open in April.
Mackenzie Black, who works at Lake Michigan College, said she came on board as a volunteer six months ago to help the nonprofit build its new website. She said she thought she could help with that real quick.
“Then they started getting the new building, so it became bigger and bigger and more and more stuff,” she said. “Then, I started doing some fundraising and some marketing from there.”
In addition, the building is split into two separate businesses. O’Hearn said they want to put a door between the businesses and create a classroom in the smaller one.
“I’m hoping we’re going to have more volunteers, more programming, and we’re going to sell more bicycles and get more people riding bicycles,” he said. “I know this may sound cheesy, but I really think the more people that ride bicycles, the better this world will be.”
Information on how to donate or volunteer can be found at www.cycle-re-cycle-swm.org and on its Facebook page Cycle-Re-Cycle. Donations can also be sent to Cycle-Re-Cycle, P.O. Box 1022, Benton Harbor, MI 49023.
Contact: lwrege@TheHP.com, 932-0361, Twitter: @HPWrege