Twenty four hours a day……what was my grandpa thinking!?!?
Most people think of family businesses as those quaint little mom and pop shops, restaurants, even certain trade businesses like plumbers and electricians. What in the world is a family owned and operated cab company? How does that start? How does that work?
I want to give you a better understanding of how we started. What brought my sister, my brother, my mother and myself to the place we are today, third generation taxicab company owners.
My grandpa was a stubborn man. He could actually be quite ornery. From what I understand, his father was not much different and had built himself up from a chicken farmer to a lawyer with no formal college education, just dogged determination and a set of law books that he read to pass the Virginia Bar Exam. He and his wife, my great-grandmother had my grandpa later in life. He was the apple of his mother’s eye, and so he lived what many would consider to be a pretty good childhood. When he wanted a car, his father made him promise if he got him one he would drive him to work. He would, for a short time, then the car would be wrecked, and he got another, and his dad was walking to work before long. He was spoiled. His mother passed away when he was 18, and his father passed a short few years later. One would think that all his parents had built would have gone directly to him and he would be alright, but my grandpa didn’t get his stubbornness from thin air, it was genetic, and it was definitely handed down. When my great-grandpa died, his will excluded his only son from inheriting anything. It instead passed everything on to his grandchildren, implicitly stating that his son did not know the value of a dollar.
My grandpa, at the time of his father’s death, already had one child and another on the way. Any inheritance he may have hoped for was not going to happen. He had to find a way to support his family. He went to work repairing radios that were commonly used in trucks, taxi’s and homes (think of it as chat rooms, pre-internet). In this line of work he got to know the owners of several cab companies, and soon went to work as a dispatcher part-time. The dispatching part time, soon lead to a position as a manager for a local company. It was a few years later when an opportunity to purchase his own company arose. The Mountjoy family owned a cab company that operated in Prince William County and they were looking to sell it. After my grandfather passed and we were looking through some of his papers, we found his calculations and were able to see exactly how he made his decision. He purchased Radio Cab in 1978. As I mentioned before, owning a cab company is hard work. Being open 24 hours requires that someone be in the office 24 hours. My family was, at that point, also operating the Greyhound bus depot in Triangle, so they multi-tasked the space there to handle both operations. Five cabs don’t seem like a lot, but we soon had to relocate. In total, to this moment, we have had seven different offices, although we have been in our current office for 20 years or more. Soon five cabs wasn’t enough to take care of the whole county, so the fleet increased. Later private owners came to be big part of the company. My grandpa went from a boy cut out of an inheritance to operating his own company with more than 60 Yellow Cabs.
I’d like to finish the story by telling you he retired and moved to an island where he perfected his golf game, but he was prone to sunburn, and while he loved golf, I didn’t think he’s make the seniors tournaments. He passed away in 2004. He did, before he died, finally get the Cadillac he always wanted. I’d like to think that when he got to Heaven, his dad was there waiting for him, ready to shake his hand and tell him that he did it, and he did it all on his own, just like he hoped his son would.
Found this on Joanna’s Desk top after she left to pursue her dream job of High School English teacher.
Ride Share companies have hit our industry hard. We were at the top of our game when this was written and have experienced a significant down turn. Not a family that sits and cries over tough times, we have picked ourselves up, and found ways to make it work (and cried some to be totally honest!). We are still here, providing traditional taxi service and more. Joanna still comes in when she isn’t teaching, Monica is still here helping with day to day operations and although Richie moved on to a job closer to home and family he is still willing to help out when we need him.
We still love what we do and hope that everyone will remember us. A small family owned business that has served the citizens, visitors and guests in Prince William County for over 40 years.
Remember to Shop Small Business and Ride Local!