Teen launches pedi­cab com­pany

The Oakdale Leader - - NEIGHBORHOOD VALUES - By BREE BURKITT

CEDAR CITY, Utah — There’s a new small busi­ness owner in town.

Caleb Nel­son can’t drive a car just yet, but the 14-yearold is al­ready the owner of Romeo’s Rick­shaws, a bur­geon­ing pedi­cab ser­vice. The Cedar High School fresh­man spent his sum­mer va­ca­tion ped­al­ing guests, meet­ing with ad­ver­tis­ers, hir­ing staff and set­ting sched­ules for his eight em­ploy­ees.

“It’s just re­ally fun,” Nel­son said ex­cit­edly. “In­stead of sit­ting at home play­ing on my phone or what­ever, I get to talk with all of these dif­fer­ent peo­ple from all over the place and just be in that fun at­mos­phere.”

What began as a pass­ing con­ver­sa­tion quickly turned into a full-time project for Nel­son — much to the sur­prise of his fa­ther, Cedar City real es­tate agent and ho­tel owner Steve Nel­son. The idea for the pedi­cab first emerged when the el­der Nel­son was dis­cussing pos­si­ble down­town projects with his wife and the man­ager of one of his ho­tels. As a mem­ber of the His­toric Down­town Eco­nomic Com­mit­tee, the real es­tate mogul had been de­vel­op­ing strate­gies to draw more visi­tors and res­i­dents to the down­town area.

He didn’t re­al­ize his son had been lis­ten­ing in on the con­ver­sa­tion un­til he came home one day to a Pow­erPoint pre­sen­ta­tion pitch­ing the idea of a pedi­cab busi­ness. But he wasn’t en­tirely con­vinced, so he pro­posed a deal — come up with 50 per­cent of the money needed to pur­chase two pedi­cabs for $10,000 and he would part­ner with his son to get the busi­ness go­ing.

“Those things aren’t cheap,” Steve Nel­son said. “I fig­ured that would si­lence him and there was no way he could pos­si­ble fig­ure out how to do that.”

But his son found a way to raise the money by sell­ing the spa­ces on the sides of the pedi­cabs to down­town busi­nesses and restau­rants for ad­ver­tis­ing. In just a few weeks, he had sold $5,000 in ad­ver­tis­ing, meet­ing his end of the deal.

So the fa­ther and son duo went in as co-own­ers of the busi­ness. They pur­chased two new pedi­cabs from a com­pany in Colorado and got the go-ahead from the city. Within a few weeks, Caleb Nel­son was ready to go with two brand new rides and a staff of eight em­ploy­ees — who were also his friends.

As a cross coun­try run­ner and soc­cer player, he didn’t need much phys­i­cal train­ing to pre­pare to pull up to three pas­sen­gers through the streets of down­town Cedar City. Each cab is out­fit­ted with dif­fer­ent gears and ca­bles to make it eas­ier for the ped­aler, but it’s still a work­out when head­ing up­hill or when trav­el­ing long dis­tances.

He did need to learn some ba­sic rules of the road, though, be­cause pedi­cabs are tech­ni­cally reg­is­tered as cars. Caleb Nel­son’s mom re­quired the young staff go through a ba­sic train­ing so ev­ery­one would know how to prop­erly sig­nal and turn.

Romeo’s Rick­shaws was ready for busi­ness on the open­ing night of the Utah Shake­speare Fes­ti­val in June. To cap­i­tal­ize on the Shake­spearean theme, Caleb Nel­son worked with his grand­mother to sew white El­iz­a­bethan-style shirts for each of his em­ploy­ees.

“Since I had my shirt, peo­ple picked up it is part of Shake­speare pretty quick,” he ex­plained. “So, all of the tourists who come for that were, like, ‘this is so cool.’”

PHOTO CON­TRIB­UTED

Caleb Nel­son, 14, launched a pedi­cab busi­ness this sum­mer fer­ry­ing visi­tors around Cedar City.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.