FAIRFIELD, Ohio — After a bad experience on his wedding day 14 years ago, Eric Boeppler of Fairfield said he knew he wanted to get into the limousine business. Without elaborating too much about the specifics of that day, Boeppler said his limousine for the event basically "was falling apart."
"We joked on our honeymoon about starting a limo company," he said, recalling a conversation with his wife, Lynn. Boeppler and his wife started A Savannah Nite Limousine Service in Fairfield several years later, in 1999, naming it after their youngest daughter, Savannah, and the city in Georgia where Lynn lived for several years.
They have grown the company over that last several years into one of the largest in the area, he said, with a fleet of more than 40 vehicles, about 20 of which were acquired when he bought out two competitors in the last two years. Although the dip in the economy has caused a slight slowdown during the past year, Boeppler said he still did sales of $1.5 million last year. In 2008, he expects that figure to double as he predicts the economy will recover enough that consumers will spend more on luxury services.
Specializing in the exotic and unique, Boeppler said he can provide service to varied customers ranging from a group of up to 30-plus party-goers to airport transport for VIPs or groups. With a limo fleet that includes luxury stretch vehicles such as Lincoln Town Cars and Cadillacs for weddings and formal events to oversized vans and SUV-style limousines for parties and large corporate groups, Boeppler said his cars offer all the latest details and amenities.
Boeppler describes these customized cars as Las Vegas-style limos, with features such as fiber optic-lit ceilings, karaoke microphones, bars, disco-style, lighted floors, and high-end stereo systems. Some of the luxury vans and limos even include large-screen televisions and hardwood floors.
In addition to vehicle choice, Boeppler said he takes pride in the service his company offers. Taking the time to sit down with clients and work out the best vehicle and package for their event, plus seeing to all the details on the day of the event, are reasons customers come back, he said.
On her wedding day, Kim Pollark of Mount Washington, said it was exactly A Savannah Nite's service that she remembers because it was one less thing she had to think about on that busy day. "They were very thorough," she said. "Their service was impeccable. I was not worried at all."
For brides, A Savannah NITE will offer services such as color coordinating all the napkins and glassware in the car to match the bride's chosen colors, provide a red carpet for her to step on as she exits the limo and place a just married sign on the back of the car. "It was perfect," said Pollark, who rented two white limos for her wedding in February.
Whitney Ramsey, a senior administrative assistant for Novartis Pharmaceuticals in Mason, said she calls A Savannah Nite between 15 and 30 times per year to provide corporate transportation to and from the airport and to various events. "They just make it easy," she said. "They are very understanding and accommodating. They make you feel nothing's ever a problem. It's worry free."
Comments like these are what Boeppler said he and his wife work hard to earn, sometimes spending more than 18 hours a day on the job. Even their four children come in occasionally to help with tasks such as preparing marketing materials and cleaning and stocking the limousines to go out for their rentals.
"This is a very personable, very hands-on business," he said. "If someone calls at three in the morning, I have to be bright-eyed and bushy tailed. But I think that's what sets me apart from everyone else."
Boeppler said his chauffeurs are contractors who work on a project basis but who have all completed training courses and been certified by the National Limousine Association. In addition, chauffeurs comply with Department of Transportation regulations that require background checks and random drug screening to ensure safety, said Boeppler.
Another safety measure the company employs is satellite tracking, he said. Equipment installed on the cars makes them traceable at any moment from a computer or cell phone so that Boeppler and his staff know where the cars are at all times. To take a break from the fast pace of the office, Boeppler said he works in the company garage doing mechanical and repair work on the limousines.
"I use working on the cars as a way to relieve stress," he said. "My dad owned a gas station when I was young and I worked there every day after school. That was when full service gas stations meant full service. I got a lot of my sense for this business from him."
Source: Cincinnati Enquirer