Operations

From Lemon To Luxury: A Young Operator’s Success Story

Lexi Tucker
Posted on August 30, 2017

Anton Kirichenko, owner of Motor City Limousine
Anton Kirichenko, owner of Motor City Limousine
DETROIT, Mich. — Anton Kirichenko, owner of Motor City Limousine, has worked hard to get where he is today, and all in just 10 years. In 2006, he came to the U.S. as a part of the Work & Travel USA program for foreign students. He wasn’t necessarily drawn just to “The American Dream,” but to the entire American package: The scenery from the East to West Coast, the people, and the multiple opportunities that awaited him here.

New Home, New Calling

In 2007, Kirichenko decided to move to the U.S. permanently. “The United Sates is such a great country and the people are so happy and kind. I packed up my belongings, and after years of visas, I got my green card and then became a citizen,” he says. Ever since his first visit, he knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur because it fit his personality.

He started working as janitor, and also had a side business buying and selling cars. “I had an acquaintance who was driving an old, beat-up Town Car for a limo company, and I thought to myself, ‘If that’s luxury transportation, I know I can do better,” he says. Believing there were more opportunities in service than sales, he took all the money he had and invested it in a not-so-beat-up Lincoln Town Car. Unfortunately, it ended up being a lemon.

Luckily, after borrowing some money he was able to purchase a second Town Car which ended up running just fine. At this point, he knew nothing about the industry, but resolved to learn from any mistakes he made along the way. “I think the best way to put it is the harder it is, the faster you learn,” he says.

Kirichenko having fun with his staff
Kirichenko having fun with his staff
Expanding Fleet, Expanding Horizons

The company officially started in 2012. It now runs 17 vehicles, including SUVs, sedans, stretch limousines, and Sprinter vans. “Now that I think about it, in the beginning we probably should have been Motor City Transportation since I started with a Town Car, not a stretch,” he observes.

Motor City Limousine’s clientele is 70% corporate and 30% retail. Kirichenko is working on a new website, and will purchase the company’s first few party buses and mini coaches next year. “We’ve been farming out quite a few bus trips, and I’d feel more comfortable having them as a part of my own fleet instead.”

Helpful Inspirations, Helpful Advice

Kirichenko credits his success to meeting and learning from his business partner, Konstantin Shirokinskiy, who has since sold him his share of the company. “He brought vision to the company and encouraged us to constantly strive to be the best and biggest we could be,” he says.

His advice to other aspiring operators and small business owners is to get out from behind the wheel and start marketing as fast as possible. “Otherwise, you’ll remain that small fleet operator who has to do everything himself, including drive non-stop,” he says. “Stop working in the business and start working on the business.”

Related Topics: customer service, Detroit operators, LCTFast40, Michigan operators, Millennials, minority-owned businesses

Lexi Tucker Associate Editor
Comments ( 1 )
  • Lawrence Robinson

     | about 9 months ago

    Starting my own thing. I was thinking the same thing before I read this. Glad to know I was on the right track.

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