Grand Avenue Delivers in Timely Style

Posted on Jun 29, 2016

Jun 29, 2016

Anticipating client needs is key, says Carl Haley, Grand Avenue owner says

When Carl Haley set out to build a transportation company in 2009 the U.S. economy was less than sluggish but Music City movers and shakers knew Nashville was poised for tremendous growth.

Carl, a Nashville City Club member, and his partners had just sold AIM Healthcare, a payment auditing company, to a division of UnitedHealthcare. Carl’s chauffeur, who drove him on occasion, approached the subject of launching a transportation company. Carl was intrigued and set up meetings with leading health care executives, the NCVC and other official and unofficial regional leaders to test the idea. The Music City Center was to open and major companies were ready to hire when the economy improved.

“At the time, there really wasn’t another company that could scale with Nashville’s expected growth,” said Haley. Competitors were small and unconsolidated. Music City’s ground transportation sector had not yet begun to tap into social media, mobile apps or online scheduling. Carl sensed the potential and he and his partners started Grand Avenue with five vehicles.

Grand Avenue booms with Nashville

The timing was perfect. In less than seven years, Grand Avenue Worldwide has grown to a fleet of 42 vehicles, not including access to Gray Line of Tennessee’s extensive fleet of 60 motor coaches and multiple mini buses. Teaming up with Gray Line made strategic sense; all employees work side-by-side seamlessly and efficiently, maximizing sales opportunities and referrals.

“Our core business is transportation, or what some call black car service, we have incredible local affiliates that help us handle volume and capacity in peak periods,” Carl says.

And Grand Avenue has volume. On a random Wednesday in June, the company had 150 trips scheduled. State of the art logistics software, incredible chauffeurs and a well-seasoned operations team keeps the wheels turning and pick-ups on track. A single customer deciding to use the vehicle for an extra hour could affect the rest of the day. “The expectation from our customer is that the service will be perfect,” Carl says.

City Club knows service, too

Carl brought to Grand Avenue broad experience in logistics, sales management and IT. Before joining AIM, he worked as the Director of Operations at SallieMae and also served as a U.S. Army Special Forces Green Beret.

In his 10 years as a City Club member, Carl has held board meetings, training events and hosted countless business meals at the venue. NCC and Grand Avenue share the ethic “service above all else,” he says.

“You have to know your client and what their needs are.”

Carl knew from the outset corporate accounts would create recurring revenue and allow the company to scale, and sharing club membership with business community leaders makes opening doors easier.

Today, the mix is about 60 percent corporate; the rest involve one-time agreements – transportation for weddings, special events, airport service, proms, bachelor/bachelorette parties and high-end tours.

Grand Avenue’s services reach far beyond Middle Tennessee. The company has built an expansive network of trusted affiliates in more than 550 cities worldwide and can seamlessly arrange sedans, SUVs, vans, mini buses, motor coaches, specialty vehicles and limousines almost anywhere.

As Nashville’s tourism has exploded, the hospitality and hotel space has been the fastest growing business segment, according to Carl.

Online ordering by Open Dining