Montgomery Business Journal

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DRIVING FOR DOLLARS

Concierge Services expands lunchtime service

March 2015
By David Zaslawsky   
Photography by Robert Fouts

Although the overwhelming majority of revenue for Concierge Services Inc. comes from driving people to the airport, David Sadler’s face lights up when he talks about his downtown Montgomery trolley service.

After launching U-Go Montgomery, the free lunch trolley service last year, Sadler has been working with downtown restaurants on a free delivery service at lunchtime. He hoped to have five restaurants participating, and on specific days, he would deliver lunches from a designated restaurant that would offer a special to-go menu on their websites. He said that Dreamland Bar-B-Que, Sa Za Serious Italian Food and Scott Street Deli were expected to be three of the participating restaurants.

“We’re real excited about that and they (restaurant owners) are real excited about it,” Sadler said. “Now, when people don’t come out, they can still do business.”

He hoped to start the free delivery service in February with his electric cart. The service is in response to the colder weather when fewer people were riding his free lunch trolley service. As the weather warms up, Sadler will be picking up more and more downtown lunch diners. The lunchtime service is offered from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

The only thing holding Sadler back is having multiple electric carts. He is looking for corporate sponsors for the carts and hoped to have a second one before March. “We’re just a moving billboard,” he said, referring to a company’s name plastered on the cart.

His long-term goal is five or six electric carts. “The goal was to have these carts move people around downtown absolutely free because parking is always an issue,” Sadler said.

“It’s literally going to be a service for anybody that comes downtown.”

Sadler said that Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange asked about using the electric carts for downtown events. During the Montgomery Biscuits’ season, the cart was used to shuttle fans to Riverwalk Stadium from various parking lots. “It’s basically a free taxi service,” Sadler said. “People may tip. We’re going to provide the service – it’s needed.”

There is another use for the electric cart and that is historical tours around downtown that was launched late last year. Visitors are taken on a 13-mile, 75-minute tour of Civil War and Civil Rights Movement sites. The service, called “Meet Montgomery,” has replaced the trolley. It is by reservation only and costs $20 to $25.

Once the firm adds carts, Sadler will be able to designate some vehicles for tours and others for the lunch service.

What pays the bills for Sadler is the black-car service to the airport. Sadler started the company in 2007 with one vehicle – a Cadillac Sedan – and he was the only driver. He now has four part-time drivers and four vehicles: Equus, Genesis, Suburban and Escalade.

He said some Montgomery visitors “are used to seeing a certain type of vehicle. We are trying to bring that mentality or that image to Montgomery,” he said. “It’s a little more upscale and reservations only and a little more personable.” That division of the company is called CSI Ground and the phone number is (334) 538-6383.

This year, Sadler is trying to expand his corporate clientele. His company did transport some Alabama Power employees during Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley’s inauguration in January. The large corporations “don’t really realize that we are actually here and there is a black-car service available at an affordable rate,” he said.

Airport service is between $20 and $40 and there is also an hourly rate of $45 to $75 depending on the vehicle. The firm used four vehicles to drive the Alabama Power employees to the various inaugural events. Developing a relationship with Alabama Power was important, Sadler said. Some of his passengers that day said they did not know there was a black-car service available in Montgomery.

“Because of the demand, we now have elderly clients that we’ll take to get their hair done – to give them independence,” Sadler said. “It’s literally a door-to-door service. The only difference between us and a taxi is that you have to make a reservation with us. We do everything. We’ll take you to the grocery store.”

Other services offered on the firm’s website include transportation to business meetings and events and weddings.

With an Equus in his fleet as well as a Genesis, Sadler hopes that will help with driving Hyundai executives. “I’m hoping it will expand the market,” Sadler said. He does use a van to transport groups of Hyundai employees to the airport.

The license plate on the Equus, the top-of-the-line Hyundai vehicle, says: “Mr. CEO.” It’s a reminder for Sadler who told himself years ago that he did not want to work for anybody again. “That’s my vision board.”

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