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Friday, December 01, 2023

New bike delivery serves coffee to downtown businesses

Sweetwater Organic Coffee Company recently added pedal power.

A utility bike equipped with a small trailer began making deliveries last week for the fair-trade coffee roaster, located at 1331 S. Main St.

Since then, it’s been making its way to local businesses and to the farmers market. During Fest 12, the trailer was downtown providing samples of Sweetwater’s custom ALL Blend, inspired by a punk band playing the festival.

“It’ll be all around town,” said Mike Weaver, a production manager of Sweetwater Coffee, which creates custom blends and sells wholesale and exclusively certified organic coffee.

Joe Ergle, the company’s 24-year-old bike delivery rider, rides out of Sweetwater Coffee on Tuesdays and Thursdays to make the deliveries.

The first 248-pound delivery on Oct. 29 included stops to downtown corner store Pop a Top, Harvest Thyme, Sweetwater Branch Inn and UF campus. Ergle made a second trip to haul a large order for Ward’s Supermarket.

He said he put campus last on the route because he needs a light load to maneuver in the high pedestrian traffic.

Sweetwater Coffee collaborated with Kanner Karts Bicycle Trailers to source trailers for the delivery service, Weaver said.

Steven Kanner, who started the trailer-manufacturing company in August 2012, built a custom trailer for Sweetwater Coffee with signs installed on the side and a rear hitch that will allow additional trailers.

“My biggest passion is utilitarian cycling — showing people that a bike can be used for more than carrying people,” Kanner said.

He said he’s excited to see how the trailer works for the coffee company and hopes it inspires other businesses to do something similar.

A version of this story ran on page 3 on 11/5/2013 under the headline "New bike delivery peddles coffee to downtown businesses"

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