Operations

Grace Limousine Widens Its New England Service Reach

Posted on October 9, 2013


Grace Limousine owner Michael Campbell (L) and Sheri and Tom Barnes of Avante Limousine closed a deal Oct. 2 that enables all three operators to work in the industry roles they like best.
Grace Limousine owner Michael Campbell (L) and Sheri and Tom Barnes of Avante Limousine closed a deal Oct. 2 that enables all three operators to work in the industry roles they like best.

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Grace Limousine closed a deal Oct. 2 to buy nearby Avante Limousine in West Lebanon, enabling Grace to gain a lucrative suburban Boston client base.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Avante’s management team and staff will continue to operate out of West Lebanon, which will serve as Grace’s headquarters for the northwestern New Hampshire region.

Avante owners Sheri and Tom Barnes will stay on as employees, with Sheri serving as a consultant and operations manager for the company in West Lebanon and Tom working as a lead chauffeur, said Grace owner and CEO Michael Campbell, also a board director of the National Limousine Association.

The deal evolved from a close working relationship between the two companies as well as a friendship between Campbell and the Barnes’. Sheri and Tom approached Campbell about selling their company so they could continue doing the work they enjoy without the rigors of 24/7 demands on owners of smaller limousine operations.

“This is a great win for both of our companies,” Campbell told LCT. “They’ve built a great business and were at a critical mass where they needed to hire more staff or stop growing. It was too much for two people non-stop.

“We’ve been really close and helped each other out on many occasions,” Campbell said of the affiliation between Grace and Avante. “We’ve gone out to restaurants and dinner and enjoyed each other’s company.”

Grace Limousine gains three vehicles as part of the deal, bringing its fleet count to 53 vehicles, up from 42 in 2012. Campbell projects overall annual revenues of $5 million-plus. The company now has 80 employees, including 50 chauffeurs. Grace is based in Manchester, with Avante’s facilities in West Lebanon and another Grace facility in Portsmouth.

This is Campbell’s third acquisition since 2012, consolidating his company’s reach into southeast New Hampshire and the Seacoast region. The area includes many affluent suburbs of Boston, about 50 miles to the south. With Avante’s business books, Grace gains clients from the prestigious Dartmouth University area.

Grace Limousine previously closed deals to buy Ultimate Coach of Manchester on July 31 and McLaughlin Transportation of Nashua on Aug. 1, 2012. Campbell eventually plans to absorb the Avante name, brand and website into Grace Limousine.

“We are in a really great spot, myself and my management team are young, and hopefully doing a lot of things right,” Campbell said.

LCT background article: Grace Limousine Buys Ultimate Coach

Related LCT article 2011: Avante Limousine Chauffeurs President George H.W. Bush

Related LCT article 2010: Grace Limousine Chosen Best In State

— Martin Romjue, LCT editor

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