It was Tom Benevento who first had the vision to create a community bicycle shop with integrated programs that offer fair wage, bicycle-related employment opportunities in Goshen, Indiana. Benevento’s original bike shop was run out of a garage in downtown Goshen.
Soon the organization out-grew the garage and relocated to a small empty former restaurant on West Jefferson Street in Goshen. Located between Main Street and Third, the visibility was great! Unfortunately, the building offered no amenities (no electricity, no furnace, no A/C, no water, no restrooms.) However, there were lots of windows to let in sunlight and brighten the shop.
Former Employees of Goshen Re-Cycles recycling collection service
A significant program of CRBP was Goshen Re-Cycles, a bicycle-powered curbside recycling pick-up service started by Tom B. For nine years CRBP hired local men and women to work one half-day per week to collect recycling from Goshen Re-Cycles customers. With a mission to offer fairly-paid employment to people who had a hard time keeping a regular job or who were otherwise unemployed, the Re-Cycles employees rode bicycles pulling 8-ft. long aluminum trailers to transport bins filled with glass, tin, aluminum, office paper, newspaper, plastic and cardboard to the community recycling drop-off location. After emptying the bins, employees would return to town to collect more recycling from more customers.
After five years on West Jefferson, the organization was again bursting at the seams. In November of 2012 Chain Reaction Bicycle Project, Inc. moved to our current location at 510 East Washington Street in Goshen, and we are purchasing the building. Now located in the old Scott Sign Shop on Washington Street between 8th and 9th streets, we have room to work like never before.
Repair stands in the center of the Chain Reaction shop workroom.
Thanks to generous donors, we have been able to install a high-efficiency furnace, replace the building’s roof, add a wooden ramp and entry-way at the main entrance off the parking lot, and install better indoor lighting.
During 2013, as the local economy began to significantly improve, a commercial competitor brought city-wide curb-side recycling collection service to Goshen. Therefore, the Goshen Re-Cycles program of CRBP came to a natural end, and the board, staff and volunteers turned their full attention to running the bike shop and educational programs.
Many hard-working, bicycle-loving people have been a part of the Chain Reaction Bike Shop and board of directors over the years: Tom B., Sara, William, Eric and Eric, Joel, Adam, Joan, Ray, Michael and Mike, Charles, Nick and Nick, Stan, Steve, Evan, and Chet (more honored names will be added to the list as this editor learns of them).
Current staff and board members include Kathy, executive director, Kyle, shop manager, and board members Jeremy, Peter and Jared.