N.Y. Operator Enjoys the Fruits of Winery Trend

Posted on September 21, 2005 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

ELMIRA, N.Y. – During her first several years as owner of Silk Limousine, business was steady, said Belinda Simpson. "However, during the past four or five years, our business has grown with the wineries," she said. "It truly depends on what is going on at the wineries."

These days, it's best to book a limousine well ahead, especially on weekends when special events are happening at wineries. "An average booking should be done two or three weeks in advance," said Simpson.

"But for an event like Deck the Halls, we're booked a year in advance," she said. Deck the Halls is a Seneca Lake Wine Trail event that offers two weekends of wine and food tasting – one in November, the other in December.

Participants receive a grapevine wreath, which they decorate with ornaments from each winery along the trail. They also receive a recipe book so they can duplicate the food combinations at home.

Simpson started her business 11 years ago with one limousine. In four years, she had seven.

"After Sept. 11, I started to sell my equipment," Simpson said. "Business declined. Everything just seemed to die. People weren't traveling by plane, train or limo, but it's coming back now."

Today, Simpson runs four limousines that can carry six to 16 passengers each and has seven part-time employees. An average four-hour trip around the Finger Lakes for a group of eight to 10 costs about $325, Simpson said. Each additional hour costs $75.

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