Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sunshine Shuttle has acquired Trumpet Coach, of Chipley, Fla., making Sunshine a major transportation company in northwest Florida.

The recent acquisition also expands Sunshine into a more diverse transportation company in the Panhandle, offering sedans, limousines, vans, local shuttle vehicles, and now, luxury motor coaches. The new arm of Finch’s transportation business is Sunshine Coach. During peak season, the company will employ about 40 workers.

Sunshine began in 2002 by John Finch, the owner of Sunshine Shuttle and Sunshine Limousine, as a secondary business interest. When Finch’s development investments dissolved, he concentrated his entrepreneurial efforts on the transportation company. The company has seen double-digit growth three years in a row, and Finch says he expects even greater things with his latest expansion.

Finch plans to capitalize on the success of the 21-year-old Trumpet Coach and says there are 26 charters already on the books. Trumpet’s last full year showed annual sales of $5 million. “Calls to Trumpet now come into our central office where we use state of the art reservation and dispatch software and equipment. We have people available 24/7.

“It’s a tough business, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s seasonal to some degree but our bills come due every month. Adding the coach business to our already-established line of professional transportation options will allow us to provide year round travel to areas out-of-state as well provide service to our large local customers more efficiently.”

Sunshine works closely with many high-end resorts along the northwest Florida coastline to provide transportation to the three major Panhandle airports. Sunshine also provides ground transportation at Sandestin Beach and Golf Resort, and is the designated transportation provider for Southwest Airlines personnel in northwest Florida. It also has been the official transportation courier for events such as the Destin (Florida) Seafood Festival and the Panama City Beach Jazz Festival.

Finch credits his tough performance standards for the company’s continued success. “I demand the best from my employees so they can provide the best service to our customers. We want to bring the limousine service to the shuttle and motor coach business.”

According to several trade journals, such customer focused business models provide more long-term success and ultimately, larger profits and has brought national attention to the hometown business.

In November 2011, for the third consecutive year, Sunshine Shuttle & Limousine Service was selected for the 2011 Best of Santa Rosa Beach Award by the U.S. Commerce Association.

John was recently selected to hold a board position for the Limousine Association for the state of Florida. Among other achievements, Sunshine Shuttle & Limousine was voted Best Transportation by the readers of Destin Magazine.

“More festivals, tournaments and sporting events are coming to the Panama City Beach area every year, and these events require additional transportation. Sunshine Shuttle & Limousine recent and continued expansion is in direct alignment with this transportation need,” says President & CEO of the Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce, Beth Oltman.

President and CEO of the Walton Area Chamber Kitty Whitney said the acquisition will have a positive impact on the area’s tourism business. "Sunshine Shuttle’s services and programs have been innovative and necessary as our streets become more crowded, especially during peak tourism season. We are proud that our members take very seriously these opportunities in economic growth and development.”