'Taxi!' now being heard in Park Rapids
In this uncertain business environment, one could rightfully claim he or she had struck gold if they had to chuck their master plan out the window, hire extra help and increase inventory two weeks before the official opening.
Such was the case for P.R. Taxi. Owners Rick Holman and Laurie Becker were so swamped with clientele, the two brand new vehicles they purchased for mass transportation out of Park Rapids were already taxed to their limit.
"We kept 40 people off the road," Holman said of their first official weekend of business.
Come fishing opener this weekend a third vehicle and driver will join the fleet.
Holmen had planned on driving the black Dodge Grand Caravan nights; Becker would take the day shift in her fiery orange Chevy Sonic. They were both hopping over the weekend, particularly the hours between 10:30 p.m. and 2:30 a.m.
Hubbard County's new taxi service has been in demand.
"The phones have been ringing off the hook," said Kendra Holman, a dispatcher and office manager/transportation coordinator. She wears many hats, all likely equipped with headphones.
"We put a lot of thought into how we're marketing this business," Holman said. The business uses the colors of the Park Rapids Panthers. Fluorescent orange business cards are eye-popping announcements on area business counters.
Although the mainstay of the business will be the late-night crowd, Holman prefers not to dwell on the alcohol aspect, hauling drunks home.
As a bartender at The Royal Bar for four years working nights, he said he saw the need for a late-night licensed and designated driver.
But he and Becker also want tourists to "enjoy everything the area has to offer" without the fear of being pulled over on the way home.
They can haul passengers to crowded events (they're planning on Moondance Jam) so attendees don't have to hassle with parking.
He is in the process of contracting with various businesses and hopes to get a casino shuttle up and running, to provide wedding transportation, to service the hospital.
"We provide safe, reliable transportation," he said. "We're door-to-door, not curb-to-curb."
He and Becker will walk patrons to their doors, especially the elderly and handicapped.
P.R. Taxi travels from Osage in Becker County to Nevis, Emmaville down to Menahga in Wadena County.
There are group and metered rates, measured by odometer miles.
But Holman warns customers not to wait until the last minute to call. In order to maximize efficiency, he suggests planning ahead for that ride home.
And, if a rider has overindulged on pizza, pasta, tacos or beer and feels the need to purge, the service offers free buckets.
You take your upchuck bucket with you as a souvenir.
The number is 732-1237.