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Angry Catfish Adds to MN Bike Culture

Published February 26, 2010

With its unique mix of bikes and brew, the Angry Catfish Bicycle and Coffee Bar is the latest hub of Minneapolis’ thriving bike culture.

The shop, located in the residential Standish Erickson neighborhood in South Minneapolis, celebrated its grand opening with an industry and enthusiast party last weekend. Since it was happening during Frostbike, which I was already in town for, I convinced my sidekick (BRAIN Midwest sales rep Barry Kingwill, an up-for-anything great sport) to shuttle us into the city from QBP’s Bloomington headquarters to check it out.

Sure, we missed the annual Pugsly races at QBP, and I was pretty tempted to give it a go this year, but we were rewarded with live music, local microbrews and a vibrant scene at Angry Catfish.

Owner Joshua Klauck opened the shop in January with the backing of a silent partner. Klauck, just 25, has been working at shops in Minnesota since he was a teenager and decided to strike out on his own because “it’s every shop rat’s dream to own their own shop.”

He purchased an abandoned hardware store next door to a popular neighborhood bakery and spent months renovating the space, which had electrical and plumbing problems and no insulation unless you count an old bike box wedged in the ceiling (a sign, Klauck thought).

“We got a good price on the building. I think it’s worth it,” he said as a steady crowd of locals bike commuters streamed in the door. (We were impressed by how many people rode in frigid temps to get to the party. So hardcore. We drove. With the heat blasting.) 

Klauck’s approach is pretty high-end. His showroom displays beautiful bikes from brands like Independent Fabrication, Moots, Colnago, Pivot, BH and BMC. He also supports local companies Handsome Cycle and Twin Six.

Like other shops in Minneapolis, Klauck also does a fair bit of used bike business, buying old frames from Craigslist and refurbishing them.

And the café certainly isn’t an afterthought. Klauck is serious about the coffee biz. He serves only fair trade Intelligentsia Coffee—every drink is brewed to order—and invested in a $12,000 manual espresso machine. Since he just opened and it’s dead winter in Minneapolis, the café is contributing about 90 percent of his revenue now, but he expects that to drop to about 50 percent once the bike business picks up. 

Unfortunately, no pictures from the party, but Josh sent me these from the store. Be sure to stop by and check it out if you’re in the area:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While in Minneapolis, I also got a chance to check out Cars R Coffins, Hurl Everstone’s full service bike shop/café in Uptown. Hurl and the Cars R Coffins brand are well-known in Minneapolis. Hurl launched the brand as the name of an underground fanzine, a sort of precursor to Urban Velo, and it eventually morphed into T-shirts, socks and water bottles. He’d always wanted to branch into a retail shop, and found his motivation four years ago after his father’s death. 

“When my dad died, it gave me the shove. You gotta go for it in life. If it doesn’t work out, at least I know,” said Hurl, who also put in a five-year stint at QBP and worked at Gene O's One on One shop across town.

About 60 percent of Hurl's business comes from his cafe. On the bike side, he caters to the urban, fixed gear crowd and sells refurbished frames, along with new bikes from Surly and Handsome Cycle. Here are a couple photos I snapped at his place:

 

Chatting up a regular

 

 

 

The Back

 

 

 

Hurl keeps a good backstock of industry mags, an attest to his journalism background, no doubt.

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