A hometown Tallahassee business relies on its employees’ muscle-power to turn a profit. That small firm is also helping to organize more local businesses in an effort to preserve the community’s uniqueness.
Most days – and many nights as well – you’ll see a young, bespectacled man of modest stature pedaling his two-passenger pedicab around town.
“I’m Mike Goldstein, creative services director and lead driver of Capital City Pedicab.”
It’s summertime. And Goldstein admits his business isn’t exactly booming at the moment, with only a few cabs serving a relative handful of customers.
“I’ve only got two out today because of summer being what it is. But come football season we’ll have all seven out for sure and now we’re just gearing up for fall.”
One thing that has really helped boost business, Goldstein said, is all the development along the Gaines and Madison street corridors. Plus all the development soon to come on the northern edge of Cascades Park.
“It’s been great from day one, even as it’s been in phases, we’ve really latched on to that along Gaines Street and Cascades. That’s been a big prospective to get business going at nighttime for sure and that’s been a great little asset for us.”
Like the city, Goldstein sees his business growing. So he’s launched a recruitment effort for more pedicab drivers.
“We’ve gotten to the point that we’re growing over the past six years to need the drivers to get the cabs out there. It’s a great way to stay in shape and you get some good cash on a daily basis, so it’s really cool to get out there. We also started this new initiative called ‘Pedal for a Cause,’ where we can do non-profit shares where we have guest drivers who rent out the cabs and then bring in fund-raising for the cause of their choice.”
But regardless of who is doing the pedal pushing, Goldstein insists that his drivers have a good working knowledge of the community. That’s so they can be a credible source of information for riders, whether pointing out interesting sights along the way or answering questions about what the town has to offer. Goldstein said that commitment to the local scene also forms the core of another endeavor.
“Back in June of last year I started a group on Facebook called ‘Locals Supporting Local.’ This is a way for everyone to connect with each other and promote a local feel to get more people to get involved with each other and it’s gotten some good leads for other people in the group and other good things have come out of it, so we’ve kept that going and it’s been growing ever since.”
That ties into and supports existing “shop and live local” initiatives. “Joe Berg has been doing a great job with his new ‘All Saints Culture Club’ and he’s actually using the Warehouse’s open mike on Wednesdays now. So if you need something to do on Wednesday nights, come on out and check it out. It’s a great venue in the little space he has there.”
That space is the former Bread and Roses grocery on Railroad Avenue. With the old Warehouse on Gaines about to be demolished, Berg and several other folks have created a replacement performance space. With that kind of determination to preserve what’s special about the Old Tallahassee in the midst of the city’s sudden growth spurt, Mike Goldstein thinks he and his multiple vocations and avocations are in a pretty good place right now.
“It’s just really cool to be part of the community and see where everything’s going and what’s going on with the city and being a part of it. We’ve done Longest Tables and First Fridays. It’s just being a part of what’s going on and making it happen.”
After which he hopped back on his pedicab and was last seen sailing up Varsity Drive past Doak Campbell Stadium.