Standing Stone buys bikes for workers

Ashland's Standing Stone Brewing Company has purchased bicycles for all employees who promise to ride them to work at least 45 days a year.

Seventeen workers today flocked to Ashland Bicycle Works and picked up their 24-speed Kona bikes, emblazoned with the Stone's head badge, hops vines and the words "Standing Stone Commuter."

The group rode the blue bikes to work in a "bike parade," uniformly extolling Stone co-owners Alex and Danielle Amarotico, who invested more than $7,600 in the bikes for employees who have more than 1,000 hours on the job. The Amaroticos said they will buy bikes for another round of workers in the spring.

"It's very exciting. It's awesome to work for a company that's so interested in sustainability," said waitress Katie Nowacki. "I'm going to use it every day to get to work and college. Everyone should bike. It's kind of unnecessary to have a car unless you leave town."

The bikes cost about $450 each and earn a state Business Energy Tax Credit of 35 percent, said Amarotico, adding that the city Traffic Commission agreed to eliminate a 15-minute parking space in front of the establishment to make room for a long bike rack.

"It's simpler and, honestly, it's easier to ride a bike to work," said bartender Michael DuBois. "It's one of the coolest things any employer has ever done and it reduces our carbon footprint. We're all very excited."

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