Time for a break.

Plan B shutdown?

If you’ve come into our space recently, you’ve probably heard that we’ll be shutting down for the foreseeable future. It’s true. In fact, because of our regular Mardi Gras break, our last regularly scheduled Open Workshop shift will be Monday, Feb. 24, 2014. Also, we’ll be having a Mardi Gras bike sale from 4-6pm on Wednesday, Feb 26th where we’ll be selling complete bikes, beaters, incomplete projects, and components at competitive prices. After that, we’re gonna spend a week or two moving almost all of our equipment and supplies into a storage unit.
What’s going on?

We lost our space. As renters, this is always going to be an issue and with the ever-changing (gentrifying/boutique-ing) face of New Orleans, it’s an issue that will come up for us repeatedly if we do not own our own permanent space. Our imminent temporary shutdown also signals the beginning of a new era for us. We want to take this time to re-structure and re-conceptualize what we do while looking for a permanent home. Here are some salient facts that we will address as an organization:

-We seem to be a victim of our own success. We’re one of the busiest community bike projects in the country and are more often than not at or over capacity. Because we don’t charge for stand time or membership, less than 2% of our revenue comes from donations or usage fees. This is shockingly low. It would be wonderful to raise awareness of this and encourage more community (fiscal) support that would allow us to remain grass roots and independent. Supporting memberships with added benefits may be one way of resolving this issue.

-We’ve incubated other projects regionally and supported them both materially and with guidance. We would love to continue doing this as we believe that the work that we do is necessary in promoting healthier, self-sufficient communities.  Again, raising awareness of the impact of this portion of Plan B’s mission would ensure further support; we’ve just got to get the word out there.

So, what’s the plan, really? 

We’re going to start a crowd-funding campaign in the near future. It’s been in the works for a months, but you’d be amazed how much work goes into producing a small film to go with the campaign. If the campaign’s successful, we hope to raise enough funds to put down a down-payment on a building and build it out to suit our needs. What we’re hoping for is a mixed use building that’s climate controlled with office and meeting space as well as industrial/workshop space. Why? We want to offer space for other organizations at affordable rates if necessary, including BikeEasy and Ride New Orleans (who are also losing their space – they’re in the same building as us). The end result is that we’re going to take a break and see if the campaign works out. We’re keeping our fingers crossed and hoping for your support.

How can I help?

Did your rich, extravagant uncle just die and leave you a semi-industrial building in an attractive location? If so, please give it to us. Otherwise, we appreciate any kind of help and community involvement. Some of the ways you can help are:

-Help us move. We’ll be moving tools, equipment, stands, etc into storage a few days after Mardi Gras. Have some free time? Drop us an email.

-Donate or commit to donating. If you’d like to donate, we’re a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. You can get a tax-deduction and feel lovely about it. Also, if you’re interested in helping us seed the crowd-sourcing drive as we open it and get yourself some sweet premiums, please drop us a line and we’ll make sure you know about it before we launch.

-It may take us a while to buy a building. We really don’t like resting on our laurels. If you know of a perfect temporary situation with low, low rent that you think would help us serve communities in need, let us know. Also, if there’s a building you want to sell that may work for us, get at us!

-Donate bikes! Yep, we’ll still come get your bikes. Just drop us a line.

Is that it?

Pretty much. We plan on coming back stronger than ever with even more classes, a cleaner climate-controlled space where it doesn’t rain inside, and expanded services. It’s gonna be awesome.

Questions, ideas, wanna help? Please email nolabikeproject@gmail.com