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The town of Lake Jackson, Texas, has changed
since Benjamin Madary moved there in 1998, when
he was only 12. Back then, there was a mall and just
about nowhere else to go on a Saturday.
In the ensuing years, Lake Jackson has seen
explosive growth, and residents even experience
rush hour during the work week.
Despite the town’s expansion, it was still a
leap of faith for Madary to open his bicycle shop,
Cycle Works, in 2016. “Our local area hadn’t had
a bike shop in over a decade,” he says. Madary
needn’t have worried. Cycle Works quickly
established itself both as a successful business and
a community hub. The shop became a place not
just to buy a bike or get it repaired, but also a place
for neighbors to congregate.
To learn how his business could be even more
successful, Madary went back to school at
Brazosport College in Richwood, Texas for a degree
in business. He credits his professors and mentors
for much of his business’ success, so he jumped
at the chance to give back to the school that had
given him so much. “One of my professors reached
out with an opportunity to help get students who
needed transportation used bikes,” he says.
“Attendance was lagging because many students
didn’t have the money for cars, or even a bike, and
Cycle Works partnered with the college, providing
dozens of free used bikes for students.
“The bikes we provide help keep them in school
and give them a chance to graduate so, one day,
they can make their own contributions to the
community,” he says.
POLLARD’S SEW CREATIVE, GLenDORA, CA
Jennifer nobile is many things, but predictable isn’t one of them.
Once a highly regarded professor of educational technology, she lef
academia to join her parents’ small business, Pollard’s Sew Creative, a
sewing shop in Glendora, California.
“With the rise of technology in the sewing industry, I became
intrigued by the opportunity to merge my obsession with technology,
my love of fashion, and my desire for creativity,” nobile explains.
Pollard’s Sew Creative sells sewing machines, plus sewing and
quilting necessities. The shop cultivated its community by educating
people who sew and quilt—and by reaching new audiences.
“My mom believed that sharing knowledge was powerful and
supplying people with techniques, original content, and quality
materials that they could not find elsewhere was essential,”
The second-generation shop owner continues this tradition by
ofering in-store classes, teaching at conventions and trade shows,
and ofering advice online. Pollard’s Sew Creative fosters a nurturing,
friendly environment that welcomes sewers of all skill levels, ages,
and cultural backgrounds. Regulars have been coming to the store
for more than 20 years, more recently joined by a new generation of
needle-wielders eager to learn how to sew, quilt, and embroider.
“These people may not be the type who were walking in before,”
nobile says, “but they’re very creative and enthusiastic. Ask these
young shoppers why they’re at Pollard’s and they will tell you it’s the
hottest new hobby.”
nobile has found a way of giving back to her community by creating
a new one, bringing together
generations and members from
a variety of cultures. “Sewing
is a universal language where
identity and creativity connect
all communities regardless
of who you are and where
you come from,” nobile
says. “Pollard’s is not only
bridging the gap by
reaching sewers of all
speaking the same
language in a new