It’s not every day you encounter a small business with such a unique combination of components as: 1) a core product offering of handcrafted, made-to-order bicycle bags, 2) an owner who attentively sews these wares out on the showroom floor, and 3) an adjoining bar and café that sells an array of locally sourced treats to hungry bicyclists.
Welcome to The Spindle, one of many eclectic small businesses within Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, and part of a thriving, close-knit community of entrepreneurs who are pursuing their passions.
For brothers and co-owners Sharif and Ezz Hassan, The Spindle is a natural reflection of both their individual strengths and shared interests, not to mention the simple need for a place in the neighborhood that offers honest expertise from people who ride bikes.
“To be successful in any small business, you need three things: patience, humility, and passion,” said Sharif during a recent visit, emphasizing the latter trait. “Otherwise you’re not going to follow through with it all the way.”
It’s this shared passion that’s not only kept them in business, but growing well beyond the initial vision of a small shop serving only handmade bike bags. Indeed, The Spindle opened in 2013 as an extension of Ezz’s burgeoning hobby of sewing custom-made bike packs. Over the years, it has evolved into a neighborhood institution and gathering spot, especially after the shop further expanded its offering to include The Spindle Kitchen in 2018,serving coffee, beer and a range of healthy dishes sourced from local farmers and vendors.
This ongoing commitment to the surrounding community is a point of pride for Sharif and Ezz. Visit The Spindle’s website and you’ll find a comprehensive calendar of upcoming rides and events that they help organize and participate in. And while Ezz is busy making the bags, Sharif is regularly making the rounds within and beyond the neighborhood to check in on friends, family, and patrons.
“Sharif’s really good at bringing the community together,” Ezz maintains. “He goes out on a lot of rides, and I think it’s nice to have someone out there in the community who’s really genuine.”
Of course, that leaves Ezz with the formidable task of fulfilling all the orders that come in, which is why you’ll find him dutifully attached to his sewing machine during business hours – and often times, overnight and into the early hours of the morning.
“If you find something you really like, you have to do it all the time,” Ezz explains. “And when you make something and hand it to a customer who’s really excited about it? I don’t think there’s anything better than that, because you’re giving them an item they’ll have for the rest of their life. That’s why I feel really lucky.”
Balancing the around-the-clock demands of a business like The Spindle may not be for everyone, but Sharif and Ezz wouldn’t have it any other way. For them, it’s an opportunity to not only pursue their passions, but also create a lasting legacy with each other.
“This is a fulfilling lifestyle,” Sharif says. “Being able to engage with the community and to work with my family on a daily basis is the definition of fulfilling.”
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