I joined a group in 2009 working towards starting a community bike shop. It took two years of meetings once a week to get the co-op started, mostly because the democratic process is difficult. The co-op is non-profit, is sponsored currently by the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, and is very successful.
My advice would be to put aside at least a year to get it started, get together a team of like minded individuals, and keep the core group very small to start. Make sure the talents of your team are varied and that everyone gets heard in terms of the direction the non-profit is going. The paperwork is going to be the hardest part to get done, as it takes a long time to file and get response back. That’s why Spokeland is sponsored, so that they could be non-profit while they wait for their non-profit status to be approved. 7 months ago