Back in June of 2007, ecoShuttle was still in its “idea/planning phase”. At the time, we were working on getting the word out, creating buzz, and getting all our ducks in a row in order to have a successful business. I was busy trying to get us involved with different festivals and trade shows so we could actually have some demand prior to opening the doors.
So, I called the organizers of the Waterfront Blues Festival and asked what the process might be to get a booth. The person I spoke with didn’t think marketing our business would be a fit for the festival, but there might be another opportunity for us to get involved. They had some issues with their other transportation provider so would we like to transport the bands?
Heck yeah! But we didn’t have any vehicles…I told her I’d get back to her after talking with my partners. With less than a month to go before a major service, our first service, we bought a van, had it decaled and inspected, and were on the ready to go…barely!
That year we transported the Neville Brothers, Koko Taylor, Pinetop Perkins, the Blind Boys of Alabama, and so many more great artists. (You can see a full list by clicking here: http://www.waterfrontbluesfest.com/Festival-Info/History#2007). I remember sitting on the grass working on our business plan between runs, only taking time off to go be a bartender and dance to some of my favorite bands. We made such a good impression on the festival organizers that we were invited back again the next year as their sole transportation provider!
Over the five years that followed, we’ve experienced gains and losses, we moved our business from our tiny one bedroom apartment in the Brooklyn neighborhood to an actual office with a big bay garage and ample fleet parking (our Brooklyn neighbors did not appreciate a growing number of buses taking up their valuable street parking), and most importantly we’ve learned a LOT! We’ve transported famous people and made some great friends with repeat clients, all of whom are VIP’s. The owners have all been married (two to each other) and now are expecting babies. Time and hard work has certainly treated us well!
We have also developed a wonderful relationship with the Waterfront Blues Festival and have met some truly wonderful, amazing people in the Blues industry. We are extremely grateful to be able to celebrate our fifth birthday at Blues Fest this Fourth of July weekend. We’ve grown from a few owners and one van to a staff of 26 and a fleet of 10 buses. While we won’t be able to throw a big party (too busy transporting rock stars like Steve Miller), we will be celebrating under the fireworks. Come join us! You’ll find us at Tom McCall Waterfront Park, July 4th-8th. http://www.waterfrontbluesfest.com/
P.S. Fiona is back on the blog these days. Mark has taken a more managerial role here at ecoShuttle and will guest blog periodically.