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Posted on: July 29, 2022

A bike business’ benefits — the power of redevelopment

Farmstead Bike Shop’s co-owner Greg Neis, manager Marty Larson and employee Noah Johnson

When Greg Neis was in grade school, he would ride his bike with his buddies from Apple Valley to Northfield. High Quality Bakery became the group’s mid-point pit stop before heading back home. From 1988 to 1992, he coached the Carleton Cycling Club. Since then, he began making regular Sunday trips from Minneapolis to Northfield with his partner and their daughter. 

“Cycling and Northfield have been tangled up in my life in different ways over the years,” Neis said. “I've just never gotten over the sense of home that I've had here.” 

One Sunday Northfield-trip was different, however. At Imminent Brewing, Neis had bumped into some friends he hadn’t seen in a few years. As the owner of Farmstead Bike Shop in Minneapolis, Neis and the group naturally began talking about bikes. Neis mentioned how he wanted to open another shop, most likely in Minneapolis. But Neis’ friends had another idea in mind — why not Northfield? 

“It all kind of came together here,” Neis said. “It's been a whirlwind 18 months, but we're super excited.”

Neis opened the Northfield location of Farmstead Bike Shop with his partner Brianna Lane in March 2021. 

Marty Larson quickly became Farmstead’s manager. Larson has lived in Northfield for 20 years and has played a part in coordinating the Heywood Ride, a gravel road bike ride throughout the Northfield area in May.

Like Neis, Larson shares a love for cycling and the community. Yet Larson says his favorite part of his job is — 

“Seeing more and more people on bikes,” Larson said. “There are more people out there both recreationally and performance wise.” 

The increase in biking has led to higher demand. Neis says their current location at 310 Division St., gets the job done but feels crowded. A location change to the Fifth and Division streets redevelopment at the end of August will allow for expansion. 

Once they move, Farmstead Bike Shop plans on including more than bikes. A café, Nordic ski equipment and kayak rentals are just a few additions Neis and Larson are excited about. Beyond business, Farmstead Bike Shop sees the switch from a community perspective. 

“We are looking forward to an open, welcoming space that provides a venue for people to be who they are,” Larson said. “All creeds, it doesn’t matter. We want everybody here.” 

Coming from Minneapolis, Neis says many folks from the Twin Cities do not know that Northfield is close by. A shop like this one will attract city tourists, according to Neis. Whether someone comes from Minneapolis or Northfield, Neis says a customer can expect the same level of customer service. 

“We hope they're happy and feel taken care of, feel that we listened to them and feel we figured out a solution for what they were looking for,” Neis said. “The real goal is to enable and empower people to get out on their bikes.”

Neis and Larson plan to uplift Northfield as well. While the location change will surely benefit Farmstead Bike Shop, Larson says they are hoping to serve the entire city. 

“It’s not just about us thriving,” Larson said. “We're also here for Tandem Bagels, and Reunion, and Coco's — we want to see them thrive.” 

Neis has the same outlook. Opening Farmstead Bike Shop in Northfield takes Neis back to where he started — Northfield — where he biked as a kid, coached as an adult and relaxed as a parent. Now, he hopes to pay it forward and believes his bike business will benefit the community.

Farmstead Bike Shop’s co-owner Greg Neis, manager Marty Larson and employee Noah Johnson

No matter the location, Farmstead Bike Shop’s Co-Owner Greg Neis, Manager Marty Larson and employee Noah Johnson prioritize biking’s community element. Photo by City of Northfield, Emma Conway.

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