James Brown, CEO of El Paseo Limousine in Santa Clara, Calif., which recently acquired Phil Restivo's Le Grande Affaire Worldwide Ground Transportation.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — El Paseo Limousine recently purchased the 25-year-old company Le Grande Affaire Worldwide Ground Transportation, also of Santa Clara.
The move helps El Paseo streamline operations, increase retail business, and increase the overall fleet count to 85 vehicles serving the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley. The acquisition was something El Paseo’s CEO James Brown had been eyeing for a long time. “We have been trying to put this together for about three years, and in the last six months it all came together,” Brown said.
Le Grande Affaire was headed by Phil Restivo, who Brown said decided to go into retirement from operations and focus on other lines of work outside the limousine industry. Le Grande Affaire has operated in the Santa Clara and Silicon Valley region for 25 years.
As owner of Santa Clara-based LimeLite Coach Works, Restivo is well-known in the industry for stretching a wide variety of exotic and luxury vehicles into limousines. In past years, he would display the eye-grabbing stretches at trade shows next to his signature chocolate fountain. Restivo amassed a sizeable fleet of custom stretches at Le Grande Affaire and built up a steady clientele of retail work. Restivo was listed in the May LCT Fact Book as President of LimeLite, and the company is listed as active on multiple online business reference guides.
El Paseo is taking ownership of 13 vehicles from Le Grande Affaire, which includes sedans, SUVs, a Tesla S, Sprinter Van, and custom double-axle pink Hummer stretch. Brown is excited about the new venture, saying business has increased by 40% since the acquisition, bringing total trip numbers up to nearly 200 a day.
“We figured it was a no brainer,” Brown said. “Le Grande was very big in retail work, and we’re very big in corporate, so we’re able to bring it together.” Brown said the Le Grande Affaire brand will remain, and that the companies will run as two separate entities, but with some crossover.
“It gives us the ability to have more chauffeurs on the road, so if there’s an El Paseo trip going to the airport and a Le Grand trip coming back, we can use the same vehicle,” Brown said.
Brown hopes to advance the consistent retail work of luncheons, weddings, nights out, and bar tours that have made Le Grande successful, as well as continue to cultivate the corporate side of the business with El Paseo Limousine.
“We have acquired an exemplary group of chauffeurs, office staff, and sales team from Le Grande,” Brown said. “We’re excited to see what the future holds.”
— Tim Crowley, LCT senior editor