Back on October 25th, 2006 We have only been in business a few years when we got a visit from John Shindlebower, the Editor of the Business Line of The Spencer Magnet newspaper.
Mr. Shindlebower ran a story on our new company titled “Derby City Limo delivers passengers in STYLE…”
This is the story as printed back then. We are proud to still be providing limousine and party bus service 15 years later.
There is no shortage of vehicles leaving Spencer County daily for a trip into Louisville. In fact, most Spencer Countians make that trip every day for their job and other reasons, so seeing a long line of cars cross the county line is nothing new.
However, seeing the long line of a stretch limo leaving Spencer County on a regular basis may turn a few heads, but it’s been a reality for over two years since Bill and Marsha Davis started up Derby City Limos.
Bill Davis had been dabbling in the importing business for several years when he decided to purchase a small fleet of two older limousines and try his hand in that line of work. It must have been a good fit because business soon took off, and he since has added several other vehicles to his fleet, including one of the newest cars in the state and one of the longest.
The couple moved to western Spencer County about three years ago, saying they wanted to get out of the big city into a more rural atmosphere. They bought some land on Dutchman’s Creek Road and made it their home.
Bill was looking for a line of work that would afford him more time at home, and the limo business did just that.
There were many things to learn along the way, such as the incredible amount of state regulations that govern such a transportation business, and he also learned early on that having just two limos would not be enough. “We learned really quickly that we were under-stocked,” said Bill.
They’ve taken care of that problem, and their recent purchases have reflected the growing trend of providing transportation in bigger vehicles with outlandish style.
Their newest vehicle is a 2006 Lincoln Town Car stretch limousine, which Bill said is probably the newest of its kind in the state. It offers top-notch luxury, offering such amenities as a wet bar, TV and VCR, touch screen controls, sound system, mood lights, and fiber optic lights, all for the comfort of up to ten passengers.
While that’s their newest limo, it’s not their biggest. That title goes to a 42 foot Ford Excursion that can carry up to 24 passengers and has been voted the nicest limo in the Louisville area. It also has fiber optic lights, a quality sound system, two televisions, two wet bars, and enough extras that customers can hold their party without exiting the vehicle.
Bill Davis said that the most popular ride he offers, however, is a 2004 Hummer. This is truly a party on wheels with numerous wet bars, fiber optics throughout, mirrored ceiling, flat-screen television, lights galore, and even a fog machine. This 22-passenger limo is popular among many young people.
Of course, there are more traditional limousines as well, for those who want comfort, luxury, and style but maybe without all the frill.
Marsha Davis said many of the celebrity customers they serve during times, such as the Kentucky Derby, often choose the more discreet-looking models.
The Derby, along with other normal spring events like high school proms, make that season one of the busiest for the couple. She does the bookkeeping, and he coordinates the drivers and maintains the vehicles. He gets help from the couple’s two oldest children, 14-year-old Anthony Carpenter and 12-year-old Lindsy Davis, both students at SCMS.
Of course, there is also the occasional damage, which Davis said he could hold the customer responsible for.
Cleaning the limos can be a time-consuming task, as they need to be spotless for the next client. Since some revelers tend to celebrate with food and drink, it’s no surprise there can be a mess left behind at times.
Many of the drivers he hires for his limo service are school bus drivers. While some of the larger vehicles, like the Hummer and Excursion, require a driver with a CDL, the smaller ones do not. Davis said he also drives for clients as well.
Although there is a retractable privacy screen between the driver’s area and the cabin that is usually kept closed by the customer, Davis said he can often tell when those in the back are having a good time. He said he can usually hear the sounds of music and laughter, and when that leads to dancing, he can feel it.
As with all businesses, there are expenses that will always play havoc with the bottom line. In addition to the high valued vehicles the couple must purchase for their company, they also have taken out a hefty liability insurance policy, and then licenses, fees, and other charges can quickly add up.
Then, of course, there’s the high cost of gasoline. With some of his larger vehicles getting a money-guzzling six or seven miles to the gallon, Davis said fuel costs have hit them hard this year.
The company, like other limo services in the area, really relies on big events like the Derby for a heavy increase in business. With celebrities and high-rollers coming into the area from all over the world, the demand for classy transportation is at a premium. But Davis proved last year that even with much money to be made at an event like the Derby, sacrifices can be made.
He explained that Spencer County High School’s prom fell on the same night as the Kentucky Oaks, a night filled with Derby Eve parties and festivities. School officials had heard that limo services were asking rates as high as $3,000 a night for limo and said there was no way students could afford such fares.
Davis said he was contacted by a school administrator and told of the students’ plight, and he pulled one of his limos out of Derby duty and made it available at the regular rate for the evening. “We lost money because we turned down several clients,” he said, but he expressed little regret.
The limos are quite the experience for kids, either at the prom or like the time last year when Davis provided a limousine to take the SCMS basketball team to their tournament game. Not only did he drive them there, he videotaped the game in the gym and put it in the limo’s video system for the players to watch on their way home.
The Davis’ have built a large building to store their fleet of seven cars, and they’ll be adding a new Hummer, similar to their existing one, come January.
It’s just been two years, but so far the business has proven to be a pretty smooth ride.
To learn more about their business, visit their website at www.derbycitylimousines.com.
Photos by JOHN SHINDLEBOWER
Original source files from 2006 below for reference.