Here at Hatch Innovation, we believe that the best way to improve our community is to invest in it. Roger Noehren found that investing locally was not only key to him starting and sustaining Citybikes, but essential to growing the community he lived and worked in.
Citybikes has been operating since 1986. The used bike store and repair shop was started with two small loans — one from Roger’s mother, and the other from a former co-worker — and a lot of support from a dedicated community. In 1991, the shop transitioned to operating as a co-op, which is how it’s been running for 25 years, and is now something of a Portland institution.
The impact of local investment can often be the small things: Roger mentions that the man who gave him that initial loan was later hired by Roger to work on his house. A great example of an investment coming back around.
When Hatch and Grapevine Outdoor asked all our friends what would make their community better, Roger knew from thirty-plus years of experience that investing locally would. Over the years he has seen his initial efforts have a lasting impact as his business continues to grow and evolve. Citybikes has been thriving as an employee-run business. “I don’t think it has ever lost money since I left” he jokes.
None of the original owners still work at Citybikes (Roger remains a patron and investor), but the venture is still going strong. With twenty employees and new energy combined with sustained practices, Citybikes has been a stronghold in Portland since before there was a bike-shop on every corner.
For all of last month, a billboard positioned across from Hatch Lab was donated by Grapevine Outdoor. It showcased both the wisdom of an entrepreneur, as well as a location of innovation.