MULTI-BIZ WHIZ: For instance, many years ago, I launched a valet parking service for a variety of reasons. I thought it would be easy money and could give my employees more hours when driving assignments were not available. There was no one else in town doing it and it seemed like it would pair well with our limousine business and our involvement in large events in our community. I never intended for it to become a huge profit center or be anything more than a sideline business.
Well, 10 years later, it is a completely separate division of our company with its own supervisors, employees, equipment, uniforms, etc. and our chauffeurs no longer work in the valet division.
Brian Fonseca, owner of Ambassador Limousine & Transportation Service in Miami, has recently launched a sideline business selling glassware to other limousine companies. These are not just any glasses. Fonseca customizes the glassware with your logo and a price that equals those of most restaurant equipment supply stores or even limousine parts distributors who offer glassware.
The Miami limousine market is fierce and competitive. In this economy, many are simply closing their doors, says Fonseca’s assistant, Yulissa Chalas, who has taken on the lead role in marketing this new venture. Chalas says the company took notice of logos on everything from water bottles to peanut packages and figured why not put logos on champagne flutes that are regularly stolen from its vehicles by passengers wanting to keep some type of souvenir from their limo ride? Fonseca reasoned that if people were going to steal his glasses, they might as well be reminded where they stole it from each time they see it.
With this in mind, Fonseca set out to find a quality promotions company that could produce the glasses at a price that would be a fraction of what limousine companies nationwide are paying for simple glassware without a logo. Once he had secured such an arrangement, he figured the rest of us should be slapping logos on our glasses as well, and since he already had done the legwork, why not launch a new venture?
During the past two months, Ambassador has launched a major marketing campaign to sell glassware and has become quite successful in its new sideline business, Chalas says.
— Jim Luff, LCT Contributing Editor
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