When Redeemer Lutheran Church opened an after-school program many years ago, reflected Pastor Kelly Chatman, a young girl in foster care come up and asked, “Is this a church or a magical place?” That image stuck with Chatman, especially when Redeemer first opened Venture North, a retail bike and coffee shop in North Minneapolis, something that hasn’t existed there for many years.

Recently, the Minneapolis StarTribune named Venture North the “best bike shop for a cause” in the Twin Cities. “It’s an innovation, with an emphasis on being part of the neighborhood,” said Chatman. “It attracts the imagination.”

The shop now employees young adults from its Harrison neighborhood, offering skill training in a growing industry. And, in a section of the city that often has insufficient economic energy, Venture North provides a trusted gathering space for neighbors, explains Chatman. He says that other engagements with the congregation, such as neighborhood block parties, have led to the commercial success of this shop.

People can participate in Venture North by purchasing a bike there, making a donation of an unused bike, or leading neighborhood bike rides. For more information, visit http://venturenorthbwc.org/ .