Small Town Limousine – Big Town Class


 
By Trish Yerges

When it comes to class, nothing beats arriving at an event in a luxury stretch limousine driven by a professional chauffeur. That’s what Justice Clark, owner of Small Town Limousine of La Grande offers his customers.
 
“Before I bought this limousine, I had never been in a limousine in my life,” Clark said. “I’ve always wanted to be, so it’s great to be able to see the faces on these kids when the limousine pulls up.”
 
Last October, Clark bought the former Show Time Limousine business from Justin Hoyt, and he assumed the business name, Small Town Limousine, in order to retain the vehicle’s existing custom plates “ST Limo”. His vision for the business is simple, to offer an affordable, luxury limousine service to residents of small towns with big town class.
 
“I’ve lived here 38 years, and I just wanted to bring something to the community that they haven’t seen in a while as a service,” Clark said. “As far as I know I’m the only limousine service (in the area). The next closest one is in the Tri Cities.”
Since he started the business, the volume of bookings during his fourth quarter surprised him.
 
“The (booking) arrangements started coming in so fast that I started having to hire drivers,” Clark said. “I’ve only been at this a few months, and I’m semi-overwhelmed at the bookings because I didn’t expect anything to happen until this summer.”
 
However, Clark learned quickly that people love to ride in limousines year-round and before he knew it, his business was in drive, and he was accepting bookings for birthday parties, retirement parties, holiday parties, business parties—almost any kind of social gathering, tour or intimate night out a person can imagine.
 
“We hadn’t even started advertising, and word of mouth spread, so December was a little overwhelming,” Clark said. “It was actually a trying time in December because of the weather we’ve been having here. Granted, it might not be classy, but we had no problem putting on a set of chains (for safety). They got the service they were asking for, and we didn’t miss a single booking.”
 
In late January, Clark did the Winter Formal event at the La Grande High School, and the kids found that very affordable. Unlike some limo services, Clark doesn’t impose a minimum 3-hour booking. He does a lot of one and two-hour events, and his quotes are all customized because he wants to make it affordable to everyone.
 
“I charge $75 an hour, but if you have eight kids riding, it’s just $10 for each kid to arrive safely,” Clark said. “Their parents don’t have to drive them or pick them up. It’s a big deal for the kids, and it’s been fun. The feedback I’m getting is amazing. It’s been worth it so far.”
 
Seven or eight clients can sit comfortably in the limo, and they can enjoy the beverages that come with the service. It’s fully stocked with ice and sodas for the kids. It has two bars inside, and adults may bring their own adult beverages at their discretion.
 
Clark said that his limousine is insured up to 150 (air) miles from the center of La Grande, which will allow trips to the Tri Cities and to Walla Walla for the wine tours. The chauffeurs are always professionally dressed whenever the car is out in public. The drivers all have impeccable driving records and hold commercial driving licenses.
 
Safety is of primary importance to Clark, so on New Year’s Eve, he offered a “safe driver special” for people who wanted to go out, and he was busy that night for 5 or 6 hours.
 
“The police have been fantastic with us because you can only park a limo in certain spots, and there have been lots of times when I had to block traffic to let people in or out,” Clark said. “So they have been fantastic because they know we’re doing a service for the community.”
 
Clark is looking forward to serving clients for Wild Horse trips, the wedding season and later, the Walla Walla wine tours, in addition to all the other gatherings people enjoy throughout the year. His business serves a “broad spectrum of age groups”, including parties of 13-year-old kids to anniversary dates for 80-year-old adults. Limos are a luxury for people of all ages.
 
“There is a learning curve in this business when it comes to how to cater to each group of clients,” Clark said. “The clients have access to everything offered in the car, and everybody has been appreciative and respectful so far.”
 
When clients book their event, Clark discusses their needs at that time. He said there’s a lot of work that goes into preparing for an event, including getting the car detailed, stocked and doing some GPS work to plan the safest route for the weather conditions at that time. After the event and before the next one, there is always some cleanup work to do as well.
 
Overall, Clark has been amazed at how the business has moved forward simply by word of mouth advertising. He knows he is offering a unique experience at an affordable price, and he hopes this will keep his wheels rolling for a long time.
 
For more information or a custom quote, contact Clark at 541-805-8998, or visit Small Town Limousine on Facebook or on their web site at www.smalltownlimo.com.