A huge part of Small Town Startup's mission is to bring new small-town business ideas to light. The Big Idea: Pitch Night helps those ideas surface. By pitching their ideas, entrepreneurs get the critical feedback they need to grow from the crowd who attends the event, and then they get to apply it to their businesses.
Each month, a winning idea comes to the top, and for our first Big Idea: Pitch Night, Tia Gray with MaDE Concierge Services, LLC., took home the prize. Learn more about her story below.
Tia’s passion for the community and love for driving created an opportunity - and it’s one that has been opening doors ever since.
Meet Tia Gray, an entrepreneur and community advocate based in Springfield, Tennessee. Tia loves to hit the open road and drive. She likes keeping her car clean, she loves giving friends an experience when she drives them somewhere, and she takes pride in the fact that they feel so comfortable in her car - sometimes to the point where they fall asleep!
A while ago, Tia was driving a friend around when they made the joke, “You should start Tia’s Transportation Services!”
That was the lightbulb moment for Tia. “Why couldn't I do that?” she thought to herself.
Tia is no stranger to transportation logistics. She's been a long-time driver for Premium Food Delivery, a successful startup in Robertson County, Tennessee, and she's done concierge services for small businesses including running errands and delivering products around town on their behalf.
When it came to transporting people, Tia found there was a very distinct need in the market.
“The larger transportation systems are unreliable here. I found myself often being the only Uber driver, or the only Lyft driver on the app and many people were complaining about not being able to find a ride when they needed one,” Tia said.
Tia began to carve out a niche with MaDE Concierge Services, LLC. Now, the company she is building will not only take you out for a fun night on the town, or give you a chauffeur luxury experience (deemed the Black Glove experience by MaDE), it will also provide non-emergency medical transportation.
“Our market has an aging population that doesn't want to be seen in a medical bus or in an ambulance to go to a non-emergency appointment. It hurts their pride. I want to be able to transport them with dignity and give them a nice experience on their way to and from appointments,” Tia said.
Tia also works with business owners who are flying in partners and employees. She provides a transportation system that allows for several stops, including checking into a hotel, stops at various meetings, grabbing a quick lunch and more. The idea is no longer having to book each stop individually, but to have the luxury of a premiere transportation service ready when you are.
“When you ride with me, I want you to have a custom experience. Let’s say you’re going out for fun and being responsible by ordering a ride. If you have multiple stops, or we are picking up multiple friends for you to go to an event, I want every single stop to be smooth and I want each person to enjoy themselves,” Tia said.
How does it work? Riders schedule their ride 24-48 hours beforehand and will receive confirmation if the ride is accepted shortly thereafter. The customer then has the option to complete a survey before the trip to tailor their experience. Then, MaDE shows up as scheduled ready to execute the tailored experience you created through the survey.
“Sometimes people don’t like to talk when they’re being driven somewhere - and that’s okay!” Tia said.
From there, the client will be picked up at the destination they chose, and they’ll be given a ride with the experience they created for themselves.
So what’s next for Tia after she won Small Town Startup’s The Big Idea: Pitch Night? Tia is working on first staffing up to be able to provide the rides that the communities demand will require.
If you're interested in working for a start up at the ground level, now is your time to join Tia. Tia is also working to secure a fleet of vehicles. She would like to not only have sedans, but add in luxury options as well, including elite luxury vehicles and city buses.
If you think that Tia only has transportation on her mind, think again. She is also looking into creating an immersive experience in-car by having in-car billboards for guests to experience the community around them while they drive.
“Local, regional and national businesses will be able to do advertising in front of a captive audience, so we are not only connecting the rider from point A to point B, but we’re also connecting them to the businesses around them, and beyond, before they ever get to their destination.” Tia said.
To learn more about MaDE Concierge Services and connect with Tia, visit her website now: www.madecs.com.