A shop that sells coffee, tea, quality bikes and adventure outfitting might seem like an odd business combination.
But if you have a passion for all four, it makes perfect sense.
“I love people, bikes, coffee and tea, and nature,” says owner Jesse Amo. “I wanted to do what I love and have a positive impact on the environment.”.
Soulshine Cyclery already is having that impact by planting trees in the Ecuador’s Mindo Cloud Forest and plans to work with local lake associations on water quality projects, promoting health and wellness through cycling and other outdoor recreation.
A former aquatic biologist, Amo was drawn to the Hackensack area by its beautiful lakes, rivers and forests, and the amazing trails and forest roads that make it “a playground on a bike, board or on foot.”
In January 2019, he decided to combine his passions into a business venture. Hackensack seemed ideal because not only is it right on the Paul Bunyan Trail and midway between the Paul Bunyan and Heartland trails, it’s also on the shores of Birch Lake and close to Woman Lake area lakes.
But it takes a lot of perseverance, buildout, research, hard work and willingness to learn to turn even the greatest idea into bricks-and-mortar reality. That’s where Amo’s love of the outdoors and riding a bike, combined with his Army combat veteran experience, served him well.
“Returning from Iraq, I immediately began planning cycling, paddling and hiking adventures,” he reflects. “The peaceful tranquility and healthy activity was life-changing.”
He was part of an active cycling community in Fargo while finishing his degree at North Dakota State University and gained a great appreciation for cycling.
During college, Amo spent his free time building and servicing bikes and volunteering at the community bicycle workshop. Not only does he love people and the environment, he says he likes working with people “who put all the love and care they have into their craft.
“The perfect business model!”
Soulshine Cyclery offers quality bikes— Minnesota brands Surly, Salsa, All City, ICE Trike-UK, and Cleary kids’ bikes, sales and service by appointment, utilizing the best parts and accessories. He also offers trips and adventure outfitting and planning.
The coffees and teas he serves are chosen with special emphasis on excellence, organic and environmentally-friendly growing practices, and fair trade to ensure that farmers have good working conditions and earn a fair wage.
Whether it’s bikes or coffee, the thought and attention to detail are what makes Soulshine Cyclery unique.
“We source excellent products that we have experience with,” he explains. “We insist on working with companies that have great products, employ great people and provide great working conditions.”
Soulshine Cyclery has something for everyone, whether it’s a new bike, stand up paddle (SUP), or wakesurfing board, or an espresso drink or tea.
But the best way to appreciate what he calls “this eclectic space” is to stop in.
“Wed love to meet you, serve you a cup of coffee, and share adventure stories — or plan adventures to come. The opportunities are endless, and we would love to discover them with you.”
As the sole owner, it’s almost guaranteed that Jesse Amo will be there. If you’re lucky, you’ll also get to meet his mom, Rhonda, who helps out in the shop and shuttling customers.
Soulshine Cyclery is located at 137 Hwy. 371 in the middle of Hackensack, open every day in the summer except Tuesday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.