ELK RAPIDS -- Terry Miller plans to pedal around town a lot this summer.

He won't be riding his bicycle for enjoyment, but as a "green" business enterprise. Miller recently launched Green Elk Rapids, a start-up business intended to keep residents off the roads for short trips and reduce their carbon footprint.

"It's one of those alternative transportations that are so popular right now," he said. "Going green is something Elk Rapids wants to do."

Miller will deliver a host of items within the village limits with his bike and trailer. Examples include prescriptions, utility payments, mail, library books, bank deposits, groceries, recyclables to collection bins and trash removal.

Most short deliveries will cost $1, Miller said.

"You can't start your car for that anymore," he said.

Miller made a run Wednesday morning for River Pharmacy, where employees are convinced his idea will take off.

"There are a lot of homebound patients and customers who will benefit from this," said technician JoEllen Paradis. "I think it's great. It is much needed, between the groceries and the recycling."

Pharmacy workers deliver to as many as 20 customers who often wait until the shop closes to receive their medicines. Miller's service means customers won't have to wait until after 5 p.m.

"They are very happy to not have to wait as long," Paradis said.

Certified pharmacy technician Cari Martell expects local residents will use Miller's services for other tasks, including herself.

"We've all decided we want you to do all our personal shopping," she said to Miller.

He also will deliver singing telegrams, gift boxes and flowers for special occasions. Boaters at the marina may need his services as many arrive without a vehicle, he said.

"I think it's a great concept," said Sheila Marker, interim director at the Elk Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. "I think it will set a precedent and hopefully, other towns will catch on."

Elk Rapids retailers can sign up for delivery services and residents can place orders for delivery by calling (231) 499-9445 or visiting Web site www.greenelkrapids.com.

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