A Taste of Honey owner Stan Mark looks out from one of his company's limousines, a 2003 Lincoln Navigator that seats 14 people. Jim Craven 6/20/2008 - Jim Craven

Transporting people in style in the Rogue Valley

Editor's note: This is one in a weekly series of profiles on locally owned and operated businesses in Southern Oregon.

What do you do and how long have you been doing it? We're the largest limo company in Southern Oregon, providing limousine service and airport transportation. We provide safe and fun transportation for people of all ages and budgets. The company has been around since 1986 and I've been doing it since 2003.

How long have you lived in the Rogue Valley? We moved here in December 2002 from Las Vegas.

What inspired you to go into this line of work? I was looking for something to do and toying with the idea of real estate and saw this limousine company for sale in the paper and said I can do that. I looked at it and decided I will do it. I've been working with kids for years in the music industry and this still allows me to work with young people — it's still the entertainment business. It gives me a chance to play a little trumpet and surprise them with Happy Birthday or play mom and dad's favorite song.

What decision or action would you change if you could do it again? I would have hired a full-time detailer a lot sooner; that's a very difficult job. Since we've had a full-time detailer, this job has been a lot more enjoyable. I used to have the band kids over at South Medford High School detail the cars.

What's the toughest business decision you've made? Purchasing equipment; what kind of limousine and when to buy a new one. Picking one out to fit this market, my fleet and my business plan. It's a lot softer market here than Las Vegas, New York or Chicago. We don't have limousines here on the street every day. You don't want to buy a limo in July, you want to buy it in March, before prom season. The timing is very important.

Who are your competitors? I have two, Express Limousine and American Limousine.

What are your goals? I'd say 98 percent of our business is within a 35- to 40-mile radius. We bought a limousine party bus in 2006 and it's become incredibly popular. We found it online and bought it in Houston. It rents for $110 to $170 an hour and the kids fight over it during prom season. It's also very popular for wine tours and birthday parties. I'd like to have a pick-up truck limo, seating 12 to 14 people. There are people who could manufacture it right here in town.

What training or education did you need? You need to understand how to treat and entertain people, how to care for people as well as how to make business decisions within budget. Hiring drivers is important because they have to be great with kids. Breakage isn't an issue with us. Kids are great, but when people are enjoying adult beverages sometimes they do things they normally wouldn't do. Before we have runs like that, we have what we call "The Talk" with our passengers going over that. It is a concern that is handled before something happens.

What's your advice for budding entrepreneurs? If you are considering going into any type of business or vocation, go into it for positive reasons and go into it because you have some type of affection toward that industry. Love what you do, because if you do what you love, you will love what you're doing.

To suggest an idea for this column, contact reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail

Share This Story