Prom season is one of Gary McKeon’s favorite times of the year. “The kids call up and they’re all excited,” said McKeon, who owns Joshua Limousine Service with his wife, Belinda. “It’s a lot of fun.”
The McKeons started the business in 1995, naming it after the fourth of their five children. They eventually located the business on eight acres formerly used as a school bus garage on Stoddards Wharf Road. The site was centrally located between Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, and the casinos remain their biggest customers.
Good years followed for the limousine service. And then, in 2009, the economy tanked.
“The recession was tough,” said McKeon, who worked 11 years as a Ledyard police officer in the 1980s and early ’90s, and also served as fire chief of the Mashantucket Fire Department.
“In 2009, our business was down by 30 percent, although part of that was that we had been doing so well in 2007 and 2008, and we really weren’t paying attention. So the whole economy thing really gave us a butt-kicking.”
More recently, things have been looking up, he said. “We restructured and rebounded last year and got back 10 percent,” he said. “What we’ve tried to focus on is creating an atmosphere of customer service.”
The business provides a full concierge service that includes making dinner reservations, purchasing tickets to a show, etc., and also offers packages such as baseball trips that include game tickets. Weddings, which really start to pick up this month, are also important part of the business.
But there is nothing like prom season. Ledyard High School’s senior prom is Saturday night.
“We have 22 vehicles, and we’re sold out,” McKeon said. “We sent six or seven vehicles to the junior prom last weekend.”
An eight-passenger limo is $510, plus tip, McKeon said, adding that part of what he likes about prom season is keeping the bank happy.
But the father four Ledyard High graduates no doubt likes to be reminded of when his kids were younger and going to prom.
The funny thing, he said, is that his kids never went to their proms in limousines. “They used to ride in limousines all the time, so for them it was no big deal. They drove themselves.”