Heroic Stories highlight the creative experts, craftsmen, and artisans who are the soul of our community’s economy. They’re the laborers of love. From bike repair specialists to custom furniture builders to chalkboard artists, they express themselves through their work and dedication comes naturally. They measure success in the personal relationships with their customers built with a focus on service and quality.In 2004, Sam Reinert started Resurrection Cyclery and turned a passion for bicycles into a career. Nine years later, Resurrection is still a one-man operation dedicated to servicing, repairing, and customizing all types of bicycles. Neighborly service “at neighborly prices,” says Sam. While he is certainly not the only person with a bike repair specialty in Minneapolis, Sam has differentiated himself in a crowded market. He uses re-used, recycled, and restored parts that “have stood the test of time,” Sam says as he lifts a Specialized road bike to the repair stand.
Sam moved into the Seward neighborhood in the mid 1990′s and started going on evening walks. This part of town, close to the university where many students ride bikes, is known as being especially bike friendly. Sam noticed his neighbors leaving unwanted bike parts waiting to be collected with the trash. Sam started gathering the best parts that could be restored and using them for repairs on his own fleet of bikes. He never stopped.
Today Sam still lives in the Seward neighborhood and operates Resurrection Cyclery out of his basement. Local artwork adorn the walls of his compact work space, competing for attention with cranks, pedals, and brake wire.
Considered one of the best bicycling cities in the country, Minneapolis is teeming with cycling enthusiasts. The Twin Cities area is also home to a vibrant community committed to sustainable living. Accessible farmer’s markets, community gardens, and bike lanes are badges of honor. Sam’s approach fits in nicely.
“I’ll do a bike for someone,” says Sam about how he generates customers “And then their girlfriend will see how much fun he’s having on the bike and want one too. Pretty soon they’ll both tell their friends and then come back later for a tune up. If they’re getting a really great service, why wouldn’t they [tell their friends and come back]?”
Sam’s bike repair experience goes back to the 1980′s when he discovered cycling during the BMX craze. As he became a stronger rider he wanted to tune and tweak his bike to “squeeze all of the performance out of it” he could. He took apart his own bike and built it back up with better precision.
It wasn’t until the late 1990′s when he started doing the same thing for his bike-obsessed friends that he thought about making bike repair and restoration more than a hobby. Starting with his neighbors, who already knew him as the neighborhood bike expert, Sam began taking on projects for other people. By providing outstanding customer service at below market prices, his business started to grow organically, by word of mouth.
Sam maintains an impressive attention to detail and prides himself on the meticulous way that he inspects and prepares his customer’s bikes.
“I really make sure that everything is perfect. I like to take each bike out a few times and ride it, just to listen to how it’s riding, to find all the ways that I can make improvements,” Sam says.
It’s hard to find this kind of one-on-one attention at the larger, more crowded bike shops that have to move bikes out the door to turn a profit. Sam can afford to spend more time on each bike. And it’s his old-fashioned approach to his craft and customer service that keep Twin Cities’ cyclists coming back and spreading the word.
“Sometimes, I think that people could get a better bike from me than even buying one new because I’ve spent so much time on it.”
Note from the author on Heroic Stories: Resurrection Cyclery came as a referral to me by a good friend when I was looking for a better tune-up on my bike than what I was getting. Before long, I had referred Sam to my girlfriend, mom, and several friends. Sam, and other word of mouth businesses that focus entirely on customer service as a means to generate new business, was a significant influence on the idea and development of Heroic. Heroic Stories highlight the creative small businesses, experts, freelancers, self-employed, craftsmen, and artisans that are the soul of our community’s economy.