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Posted on: July 1, 2022

Cycles and community — Ben Witt’s connection to Northfield

Ben Witt smiles outside his shop, complete with a large patio and freshly planted flowers.

Biking has taken Ben Witt to amazing places. From Sechler Park to the West Coast, Witt has enjoyed the people he has met through riding. Now, bikes have taken Witt back to where it all started — Northfield.

Witt grew up in Northfield, along with his wife Meg. They decided to raise their two boys here, where Witt says they choose to live a pretty small life on purpose.

“Northfield’s fantastic,” Witt said. “We wanted to work in our community and be a closer-knit part of our community.”

Almost two years ago, Witt opened up Heath Creek Cycles. The shop fixes, creates and sells bikes and sits right behind Division Street. Seven blocks away from Witt’s home, the shop is easily accessible yet somewhat tucked away. While Heath Creek Cycles calls Northfield home, the shop’s services extend beyond the local community.

Witt carries and sells cycling products created by fellow bikers and works with customers from across the country. Some customers have sought him out online, and he will never meet them. Other customers have been Carleton kids looking to replace a flat tire. Yet, no matter where someone comes from, Witt wants people to be treated the same.

“I think regardless of what the business is, people do business with people,” Witt said. “You should come here and feel like you were taken care of and heard and respected.”

Community drives Witt’s other passions as well. He has attended Rice County Commissioners meetings, advocated for additional green spaces and supported the Mill Towns Trail project.

Currently, the trail has three unconnected sections. Once Mill Towns Trail is complete, it will extend 25 miles and connect Northfield to Faribault, Waterford, Randolph and Cannon Falls. While Witt doesn’t believe the trail will bring his shop an influx of customers, he does see the trail benefiting the community.

“It's fantastic, both from an economic development standpoint and as a community resource,” Witt said.

Ultimately, Witt wants other Minnesotans to see Northfield for what it is — home. Northfield is where he grew up, met his wife and opened his business. He continues living here with his family for a reason — there is something special about living small on purpose. And when the Mill Towns Trail is complete, Witt is ready to hop on his bike, ride down the trail and show others what Northfield has to offer.

Ben Witt smiles outside his shop, complete with a large patio and freshly planted flowers.

Ben Witt smiles outside his shop, complete with a large patio and freshly planted flowers. Photo credit: City of Northfield, Emma Conway.

Ben and his wife Meg have two boys, Liam and Wes.

Ben and his wife Meg have two boys, Liam and Wes. These photos intentionally hang behind the cash register at Heath Creek Cycles to remind Ben why he chose to start his business and raise his family in Northfield. Photo credit: City of Northfield, Emma Conway.


El ciclismo ha llevado a Ben Witt a lugares increíbles. Desde Sechler Park hasta la Costa Oeste, Witt ha disfrutado de la gente que ha conocido gracias a la equitación. Ahora, las bicicletas han llevado a Witt de vuelta al lugar donde empezó todo: Northfield.

Witt creció en Northfield, junto con su esposa Meg. Decidieron criar a sus dos hijos aquí, donde Witt dice que eligen vivir una vida bastante pequeña a propósito.

Northfield es fantástico,” dijo Witt. “Queríamos trabajar en nuestra comunidad y estar más cerca de ella”.

Hace casi dos años, Witt abrió Heath Creek Cycles. La tienda arregla, crea y vende bicicletas y se encuentra justo detrás de la calle Division Street. A siete cuadras de la casa de Witt, la tienda es de fácil acceso, pero está algo escondida. Aunque Heath Creek Cycles es el hogar de Northfield, los servicios de la tienda se extienden más allá de la comunidad local.

Witt lleva y vende productos de ciclismo creados por otros ciclistas y trabaja con clientes de todo el país. Algunos clientes le han buscado por Internet, y nunca se reunirá con ellos. Otros clientes han sido chicos de Carleton que querían cambiar una rueda pinchada. Sin embargo, no importa de dónde venga alguien, Witt quiere que la gente sea tratada igual.

“Creo que, independiente de cuál sea el negocio, la gente hace negocios con la gente”, dijo Witt. “Deberías venir aquí y sentirte atendido, escuchado y respetado”.

La comunidad también impulse otras pasiones de Witt. Ha asistido a las reuniones de los comisionados del condado de Rice, ha defendido la creación de más espacios verdes y ha apoyado el Proyecto Mill Towns Trail

Actualmente, el sendero tiene tres tramos sin conectar. Una vez que Mill Towns Trail esté terminado, se extenderá 25 millas y conectará Northfield con Faribault, Waterford, Randolph y Cannon Falls. Aunque Witt no cree que el sendero vaya a traer a su tienda una afluencia de clientes, sí ve que el sendero beneficia a la comunidad.

“Es fantástico, tanto desde el punto de vista del desarrollo económico como del recurso comunitario”, dijo Witt.

En última instancia, Witt quiere que otros minnesotanos vean Northfield como lo que es: su —hogar. Northfield es el lugar donde creció, conoció a su mujer y abrió su negocio. Sigue viviendo aquí con su familia por una razón — hay algo especial en vivir en pequeño a propósito. Y cuando el Mill Towns Trail esté terminado, Witt estará listo para subirse a su bicicleta, recorrer el sendero y mostrar a otros lo que Northfield tiene para ofrecer.

Ben Witt smiles outside his shop, complete with a large patio and freshly planted flowers.

Ben Witt sonríe fuera de su tienda, con un gran patio y flores recién plantadas. Crédito de la foto: Foto de la becaria de comunicación, Emma Conway

Ben and his wife Meg have two boys, Liam and Wes.

Ben y su esposa Meg tienen dos hijos, Liam y Wes. Estas fotos cuelgan intencionadamente detrás de la caja registradora de Heath Creek Cycles para recordar a Ben por qué decidió abrir su negocio y criar a su familia en Northfield. Crédito de la foto: Foto de la becaria de comunicación, Emma Conway

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