Categories, schmategories. The owners of one of Oakland’s newest businesses are more interested in following their hearts than in neat definitions.
At Homespun Bikes’ sparse, stylish storefront off Lakeshore Avenue you can buy bike accessories and enjoy the mechanic services of co-owner Ami Puri. But you’ll also find hand-forged garden tools, organic plant starts, hand-stitched hats and locally-made body care products. There’s art on the walls and a grey-water sink, too.
It's safe to say this is not your typical bike shop.
Since Puri opened Homespun with life- and business-partner Jesse Quattro in November, the pair has hosted classes in kombucha-making; beer-brewing; and hand-crafted herbal body care — not to mention bike maintenance classes in partnership with Spokeland, a new community bike co-op.
“The store is evolving,” says Quattro. “It’s a daily conversation.”
For years, the pair dreamed of opening a business that reflected their vision of what they wanted to see in the world, especially more justice around food and transportation. They considered a cafe and imagined a bike-powered laundromat in the Castro. One day this fall, Puri noticed the small storefront for rent on Wesley Avenue. The brainstorming began.
The couple decided to focus on what they know and love. For Puri, who prefers gender-neutral pronouns, that was bikes and gardening. Quattro considers herself more of the musician and artist. In just three months, they renovated the space (including altering and preserving the storefront’s distinctive sign) and opened for business.
Though Homespun’s offerings may seem eclectic, Quattro says it’s all about a “holistic picture of sustainability.” That includes growing food, preserving a harvest and getting around by bike.
And education is important. In addition to the sliding-scale workshops, Puri makes a point to invite customers behind the counter to watch and learn about fixing their own bikes.
In the future, Quattro says they’d like everything they sell to be locally crafted.
“We dream of an Oakland that has a bike factory,” she says. “That would be amazing.”
494 Wesley Ave., Oakland
Noon to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday
Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday
Closed Monday and Tuesday