CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story presented Omaha Bicycle Co. as Benson's only bike shop. We failed to mention Bike Pedlar, 2723 N. 63rd S., a residence where you can get your bikes fixed and tuned. Apologies.
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Omaha Bicycle Co. is located at 6015 Maple St.
Hours are Tuesday - Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
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Some people walk into Omaha Bicycle Co. confused. Is it a coffee shop or a bike shop?
“I just say, 'Yes,'” said OBC owner Sarah Johnson.
OBC opened about a year ago in Benson (where else?) with a “retail mullet” business plan: coffee in the front, bikes in the back.
Get a frame-up custom build and grab a double-shot espresso on your ride out. Maybe you just want new tubes. Maybe just a mocha. Starting soon, the shop will expand its operation further, offering on-bike coffee delivery.
“Weird ideas work in Benson,” Johnson said, “and it was pretty clear this was where it needed to be. I knew it would probably stick best here because of the energy and the sense of community.”
When OBC opened last Halloween, it filled some retail gaps.
The last bike shop in the area was Spin City. The last coffee shop was Benson Grind, which closed in December 2011.
Though the bike/coffee hybrid is still a bit perplexing to some, the concept had its fans from the start. Before the start.
Before opening, OBC raised its goal of $15,000 through the crowd-funding site Indiegogo. Much of the shop's furniture was donated. Someone built them a deck in the back of the shop for free.
Even the taxidermied squirrel was donated (by Johnson's mom). The squirrel doesn't yet have a name (“freaky squirrel” will suffice) but has already become the shop's de facto mascot. Expect to see a drawing of him(?) on OBC T-shirts coming soon.
Not including “freaky squirrel,” the shop has a staff of four: Johnson, mechanic Vincent Asta (who, like Johnson, was formerly with Greenstreet Cycles downtown) and baristas Jessica Mullins and Katie F-S.
The line between the bike and coffee portions of OBC is hazy, and you'll often see Johnson zipping back and forth, depending on which end of the retail mullet needs assistance. She has to wash her hands a lot.
“I always have either espresso or bicycle grease under my nails.”