Pedicab pedals into the sunset

Maggie Allen

Walla Walla Pedi-Power employee Cori Andriola '12 with one of the signature pedicabs. Pedi-Power's tours of art at Whitman, wine country and historic Walla Walla homes come to an end this weekend when the three-year-old company puts on the breaks. Credit: Gold
Walla Walla Pedi-Power employee Cori Andriola '12 with one of the signature pedicabs. Pedi-Power's tours of art at Whitman, wine country and historic Walla Walla homes come to an end this weekend when the three-year-old company puts on the breaks. Credit: Gold
The familiar and pleasant sight of Walla Walla tourists being led around by a cycling enthusiast will soon become an image of the past.

Walla Walla Pedi-Powr, in operation since June 2006, will be shutting down this weekend due to financial problems.

“It has not made any money, and this year has been worst than the previous years,” said Ken Pain, owner of Walla Walla Pedi-Powr. “We were right on the edge of maybe continuing, so this has been a really bad year and we have lost a lot of money.”

“It had been doing well, but with the recession, sales have fallen dramatically,” said Cori Andriola, sophomore and Pedicab employee.

Pedi-Powr offered tours of downtown Walla Walla, art at Whitman, historic homes around North Hall and Palouse and First Street and winery tours.

Credit: Gold
Credit: Gold
The company also made it a point to hire Whitman students. According to Andriola, Paine, who is a WCTS analyst for Whitman, founded Walla Walla Pedi-Powr when his high school-aged son couldn’t find a summer job. He hired his son and young students have been working for the company ever since.

After a difficult first financial year, the second and third year saw improvement. Soon, the sight of pedicabs cycling around town began to blend in to the background.

“People got used to seeing us,” Paine said. “We just sort of just became invisible.”

Paine believes that if people with professional marketing and business skills had been involved with the company, things would have turned out better.

While it lasted, Andriola believes that it provided a positive experience to visitors.

“[People would] comment on how they’re a fun idea and are perfect for Walla Walla,” she said.

Sophomore Roshan Adhikari enjoyed the sight of pedicabs pedaling through Walla Walla.

“The closing of Pedicab is ridiculous and disheartening,” he said. “It added so much to the alternative nature of the Whitman community. It was so hip!”

Paine also loved running the company while it lasted.

Credit: Gold
Credit: Gold
“I have to look at the positives of the business,” Paine said, ¬†“I learned a lot about how to and how not to run a business, I’ve learned a lot about ¬†Walla Walla, and I’ve met a lot of really great people. Among those are the Whitman students I’ve hired over the years. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know them, and finding out about the student side of the place I’ve worked all these years.”

With the company closing this weekend, Paine plans to continue to work for Whitman and visit his daughter, who has been living in Uganda.

During this final weekend, Walla Walla Pedi-Powr will offer tours if one calls for a reservation at 509-386-4957.