Operations

Trolley Service Good Fit For Florida Couple's Ventures

Posted on June 7, 2018
West Palm Beach operators John Critchett and Paget Kirkland Critchett celebrate the acquisition of Molly's Trolley from retiring owners Molly Stahlman and Bob Spagnol, Wednesday, June 6, 2018 after formally announcing the deal (photo courtesy of Molly's Trolley)
West Palm Beach operators John Critchett and Paget Kirkland Critchett celebrate the acquisition of Molly's Trolley from retiring owners Molly Stahlman and Bob Spagnol, Wednesday, June 6, 2018 after formally announcing the deal (photo courtesy of Molly's Trolley)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Palm Beach Tours and Transportation and Kirkland Event and Destination Services announced a deal June 6 to acquire Molly’s Trolley, a 15 trolley operation that serves local events of all sizes.

Palm Beach Tours is owned by John Critchett while his wife Paget Kirkland Critchett owns Kirkland Event.

Strong Local Businesses Unite

Founded in 1996 in Pittsburgh, Molly’s Trolley began with two vehicles, and moved to West Palm Beach in 1998. Since then, owners Molly Stahlman and husband Bob Spagnol have grown it to a fleet of 15 charter vehicles along with six trolleys the company manages for the city of West Palm Beach. Molly’s serves local festivals, corporate events, conventions, and weddings throughout Palm Beach County.

All three companies will operate independently under their respective names and brands.

Molly’s Trolleys are a visible part of Palm Beach’s charm for local events, and the wedding transporter of choice for about 300 brides traveling from The Breakers to Eau to residential events and the convention center. The trolleys have also carried festival goers to Sunfest, ArtiGras, the Palm Beach Boat Show, and the Seafood Festival.

“Thank you Palm Beach County for making it a great ride,” Stahlman said in a press release. “People cannot help but smile when our trolleys pull up.”

Popular Community Events

Along with the fleet of fully-air-conditioned charter trolleys, the sale includes the Northwood warehouse facility and the 21 Molly’s team members of drivers, mechanics, cleaners, coordination, and auto body specialists. The Critchetts are committed to maintaining the same family feel as they have nurtured in each of their businesses. Collectively, they will now lead more than 50 local employees across Molly’s Trolleys, Palm Beach Tours and Transportation, and Kirkland Events.

The acquisition started evolving in December 2017 when John Critchett showed up with a holiday basket for Stahlman, Spagnol, and their team. Stahlman asked Critchett if he knew they were looking to retire and sell the business. He went home that evening and discussed the idea with his wife, Paget, and it seemed like too perfect of a fit to not seriously consider. Like the owners of Molly’s Trolley, the Critchetts have been in the transportation business for 20 years.

Family Business Origins

John started Palm Beach Tours and Transportation (PBTT) in 1999, and it now runs a 24 vehicle fleet of executive sedans, vans, SUVs, and minibuses with a team of 30 workers. Paget founded Kirkland Event & Destination Services (KEDS) in 2006 as a global destination management company whose clients cover nearly every industry and association. It handles private, corporate, social, and/or charitable event programs for client groups ranging from 20 to 2,000 guests.
 
“Mom and Pop quality, reliability and heart — these are values that Paget and I celebrate and we are thrilled to continue the tradition,” John Critchett said. Paget Kirkland added, ““If guests need to get from one place to another there’s nothing more fun than a trolley. It adds playfulness and joy to any event. We love this business in every way. It is the perfect next chapter of the professional journey we have enjoyed here in West Palm Beach!”
 
Stahlman admits letting the business go is not easy, but they are overjoyed that the Critchetts are Molly’s Trolleys new guardians. “The business has been ‘our baby’ and now we are thrilled what great new parents are stepping in to care for it and our team here.”

Source: PBTT/KEDS press release
 

Related Topics: business deals, business growth, family businesses, Florida operators, mergers & acquisitions, special events, tourism, Trolleys, weddings, working with event planners

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