The newest sensation in transportation
A charming, big city trend is riding into Detroit Lakes.
"We're called Eco-Transporter," said co-owner Natalie Foltz, with a warm, welcoming smile.
Foltz and her husband, Yanko, (whom she calls her "life partner") are fresh onto the scene with what is commonly known as a "pedi-cab" service.
The two take turns riding a specially made bicycle that pulls an old-fashioned-style carriage for two behind it.
"We think it's something that's really going to add to the ambiance of the area during the summer," Foltz said.
Eco Transporter is a pedaling taxicab service that is popular with pedestrians in many big cities now, but Foltz says their operation will focus a lot on tour packages for people wanting to take in the beauty of the Detroit Lakes area.
"We will do rides like a taxi, but I think with so many tourists here in the summer, there will be a lot of people who will want us for the tours."
Foltz and Yanko came up with the name themselves -- a name that both makes sense and promotes their love of nature.
"We want people to experience seeing the trees and the birds and the squirrels and feeling the sun and air on their skin," said Foltz.
The couple also has a love of people, and says they want their new business to help others enjoy life to the fullest.
"When you create things with love, you really feel like you can help a lot of people, who otherwise, wouldn't be able to enjoy the outdoors," said Yanko, "like physically challenged people or older people who have trouble walking -- we want them to be able to experience the outdoors like this, too."
The Eco Transporter has a weight limit of 600 pounds, including the driver.
This not only helps the frame of the bike, but the pedaling drivers as well.
"It's really not so bad, though," said Foltz, "especially once you build up your cardio vascular and your muscles," as Yanko added, "The only time I feel it a little bit is when I go around the lake."
The 10-mile lake tour is one of five packages offered through Eco Transport. The "Around Detroit Lake" package includes stops for a total of four drinks and one appetizer at different bars or restaurants along the way, which ends up lasting about two-and-a-half hours. It costs $160.
Another is the "Flower Garden" tour package, which Foltz says she will specialize in.
"We'll stop and get some coffee or tea in town, and then go to three different beautiful gardens." It costs $49.
The "Romantic" Tour package is for couples wanting to ride in a little sweet bliss.
"You get to choose a place to have dinner, and then we'll stop at another place to have dessert and two different places to have drinks," said Foltz, "and then we'll stop at that scenic overlook by the Holiday Inn where the couple can share in a dance and a lovely flower."
During that time, the "romantic couple" can also take advantage of the "Paparazzi Service," where Yanko or Foltz will take pictures or video of the occasion for mementos. The price is based on which restaurant is chosen.
The "Party Tour" Package takes riders to four different bars along the Washington Avenue and West Lake Drive strip. The cost is $69.
"There's no drinking alcohol on the Eco Transporter, though," said Foltz, "that's why we stop at places."
Finally, since Foltz and Yanko believe in "living in the moment," they also offer a "Create Your Own" package.
"It's all up to your own imagination here," said Foltz, "You can bring a child or a pet along, and we could take them to the Dairy Queen and then to a couple of parks or something."
The price is figured at the time of the reservation. Foltz and Yanko will also do weddings.
"We'll take them from the church to the reception if it's in town, and we'll have the little pop cans behind and decorations," said Foltz.
Yanko says their operation can also help business workers relax during stressful days.
"They need to open another door so they can relax and clear their mind, or let other ideas and inspiration come to them in the fresh air," said Yanko.
The Eco Transporter is complete with headlights, taillights, blinkers, a little bell, a horn and a satellite radio for some cool, sweet ambiance. The couple even has a smart phone that allows them to take credit cards right on the spot, making it a convenient business on wheels.
If all goes well, and demand for the Eco Transporter is high, Foltz and Yanko say they would love to buy more units and hire "drivers" for them. But for now, it's just the two of them, and it's "go-time."
"We'll be out here seven days a week as long as the weather is good," said Foltz, "so we hope everybody likes it; it should be a nice time."
To make reservations or to get information, visit facebook/Eco Transporter or call 218-849-2834.