Brother Moto, the part tinker-town/part coffee shop motorbike co-op that recently closed its garage doors in East Atlanta Village is moving on — but not exactly by choice. Back in August, founders Bobby Russell and Jared Erickson, when faced with a potential zoning compliance issue, filed a petition to drum up support with the Atlanta City Council. And it worked (for a little bit)! The petition received over 6,000 signatures in a week and drew the attention of councilperson Natalyn Archibong, but it seems that wasn't enough to keep them around.
At issue was a permitted use clause for the EAV commercial district that allowed for only two automotive service stations in the area. The Moto crew argued that since they were a co-op that didn't actually provide maintenance services, just the space for people to meet, the clause shouldn't apply. Erickson wrote in an email to Curbed that city representatives visited Brother Moto almost every Friday for three months. They made requested changes and tried to go above and beyond to appease the city, but, after seeking legal advice, they decided their best option would be to get a special accessory permit or convince the city council to pass a text amendment giving the shop amnesty. Yes, it got complicated.
Despite broad community support, the councilwoman and neighborhood association decided not to support the shop, according to Erickson.
"When it came down to it — EACA [East Atlanta Community Association] as well as the councilwoman for our district decided we would not be a good fit for the neighborhood because of the added motorcycle traffic that we would bring to the neighborhood," Erickson wrote. "Since the neighborhood and the councilwoman decided that they did not want us in EAV we closed shop and started looking elsewhere... We decided it would be better for Brother to move into a part of Atlanta that is happy to have our business."
As it turned out, they had other options. Before the proprietors even knew they would be closing they were contacted a friend to open up temporarily at Citizen Supply in Ponce City Market. "The timing of this just so happened to work out where we have a temporary location for the Holiday season of all of our retail goods," Erickson wrote. Brother Moto stuff will be available as soon as Citizen Supply opens on Nov. 19.
Despite the hassle, Erickson remains positive about what they created. "In the few short months we have been in our current space, we've seen Brother Moto become a destination for motorcycle enthusiasts from across the globe, and we truly believe that we are building something special for the motorcycle community here in Atlanta and beyond," he wrote. "The longterm goal for Brother Moto has always been to offer three things for our patrons: A co-working space, a coffee shop, and retail goods.
"Beyond Atlanta, we hope to bring this concept to the major cities between here and LA. "