People

Pennsylvania Operator Succeeds Through Independence

Lexi Tucker
Posted on February 12, 2020

Mandy Cicero, president of Champagne Limousine Service Inc.

Mandy Cicero, president of Champagne Limousine Service Inc.

PEN ARGYL, Pa. — In a time when industry Facebook groups are the go-to place for operators to answer each other’s burning questions, you should also listen to your gut before making decisions.

Mandy Cicero, president of Champagne Limousine Service Inc., appreciates the ability the Internet gives the members of the luxury ground transportation industry to bounce ideas off each other, but also notes the importance of knowing your market and operating according to its needs and wants.

Staying Busy

Cicero started her career as a parts manager for the third largest BMW dealership in the U.S. She eventually left to get married and have a family while helping her first husband with his used car dealership. She felt she was destined for something bigger and decided to apply for a public utility commission license. It took her two years to get it and involved getting people to support her application. Champagne Limousine Service was officially started in August 1990.

“I needed to make my own money and not rely on anyone else. I wasn’t happy just sitting around,” she says. And sit around she did not. The small family business is now a fleet of nine cars; the perfect size to be able to provide one-on-one personalized service and know Cicero just by the sound of her voice. “Most people will ask for me personally, and I know many of my customers by name and many of their voices.”

Victory Is Hers

Working and succeeding in a male dominated industry excites Cicero. “I like being different and enjoy the challenge. It’s empowering when I figure out problems and have full control over the vehicles I buy. With 29 years in business, longevity tends to earn you a bit more respect. I’m a one-woman business and not a slave to the industry.”

She enjoys her independence and warns against the dangers of “herd mentality.” “Trust your own intuition. That’s how I’ve survived, and it’s served me well.”

Something else she’s learned is you can’t rely on others to give you work — you must go out and win your own clientele. Always own up to your mistakes, be honest, and treat everybody the same no matter who they are, whether it’s a person around the corner going to a doctor’s appointment or the president of a large company.

Stay Different And Attentive

Cicero is happy with her Volvo S90

Cicero is happy with her Volvo S90

Because Cicero operates in a more rural area, every one of her cars is all-wheel or four-wheel drive. She runs a Ford Expedition Max, Volvo S90, Chrysler 300, Lincoln sedans, Lincoln super stretch limousine, corporate style Ford Transit, and one Dodge Pro Master party bus built by Battisti.

While that last one might seem unusual for the industry, she says it’s worked out very well for her. “Don’t just go off what other people suggest. Know your market, do your own research, and don’t rush into doing anything.”

This tactic has clearly served her well as her company is in its 29th year of operation. She attributes this to the attention she gives every client. “I’ll often have people call and say, ‘You’re a little bit more, but you were so nice I feel you’ll take better care of me.’ If you take the time to really talk to them, it can reveal other chances for you to help. They may ask for one type of vehicle but knowing what they need, you may be able to suggest another that would fit better.” Following up and making sure they got what they were looking for will also set you apart.

Cicero says she doesn’t plan on retiring soon as she loves what she does and believes it helps keep her sharp. She advises operators to help one another any chance they get. “You know what it’s like when you need help and you don’t know where to turn. We all have it tough, whether you have three cars or 100.”

Related Topics: customer service, eNews Exclusive, networking, Pennsylvania operators, social media, women in the industry

Lexi Tucker Senior Editor
Comments ( 1 )
  • Mary Ann

     | about 6 days ago

    Fantastic person and great business 👍

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