Matt and Cari Harrison wanted to give back to their hometown of Willard, Missouri, and fill a void in its outdoor community. So, they decided to open Frisco Bicycle Rental, a full-service shop located at the Willard Trailhead of the Frisco Highline Trail. The 35-mile trail is Missouri’s third-longest rail-trail, connecting Springfield to Bolivar, Missouri.
“It runs right through the heart of Willard,” said Cari. “The trailhead is a popular access point for cyclists and runners.”
The Harrisons have logged countless hours biking and running the Frisco Highline Trail since they vowed to be healthier and spend more time outside five years ago. Initially, both took to running, but an injury led Matt to start cycling and mountain biking. Cari splits her time between running and mountain biking.
“As we became more involved in the local running and biking communities, we noticed a dedicated shop to support and drive the sports was missing,” said Matt. “The closest such shop is about 30 miles away.”
While participating in trail work days, they got to know the director of the Ozark Greenways, a Springfield-based non-profit that owns the Frisco Highline Trail and nearly 30 other local trails.
“We wanted to give back to the community and an organization that has helped us, and nearby Springfield families, grow,” Cari said. “So, we started talking with him about the idea of opening a bike shop near the trail. Ozark Greenways liked the idea but didn’t want to permanently disrupt the trail.”
The Harrisons found a unique solution: joining two 8- by 20-foot railroad shipping containers.
“Willard has a strong railroad history, and containers from a railroad company made sense,” Cari said. “Matt’s putting his construction and metalwork skills to work by custom-cutting windows and doors for the shop.”
When Frisco Bicycle Rental opens this spring, it will offer new bike sales, service and rentals for cyclists; a bag drop for trail runners; and a convenience shop with snacks, drinks and food. They plan to turn the roof into a deck/overlook for trail users to take a break and soak in the views.
One thing you won’t find at the shop, though, is a shop dog.
“We have an Australian Shepherd, but he won’t be at the shop,” Matt said with a laugh. “He’s loveable but barks at everything and everyone.”
Author: Nick Brennan is a contributor to Terrain Magazine.