As a sixth generation, lifelong Buena Vista resident, Corrine Foreman is quite familiar with the ins and outs of the town, the community, and of everything Buena Vista had to offer. It was Foreman’s familiarity with Buena Vista, her love for driving, and her interest in people that led her to launch Corrine’s Car Service in 2017; an On-Demand Charter Service for the Buena Vista and Salida area. After her first full year of operation, Corrine’s Car Service has worked; transporting more than 2,000 people during 2018.
“I’ve always loved customer service, problem solving, and figuring out a niche of some kind.” Foreman said. “I really love customer service, and I really love Buena Vista.”
Growing up in Buena Vista, Foreman’s family would often take a drive as a kind of family hangout.
“Living here, a lot of enjoyment from my childhood was we’d load up in my dad’s truck with the dog, my sister, and my mom and I,” Corrine recalled with a smile, “then we’d drive up four-mile. Part of our relaxation was just to drive around.”
In applying for licensure for her new business, Foreman had to present a written statement to the Public Utilities Commissioner of the reasons why Buena Vista needed an On-Demand Charter Service. She cited the lack of public transportation available to the community, the heavy influx of tourists during the summer months, and the need for licensed designated drivers to provide transportation for bar and restaurant patrons.
The PUC license allows Foreman to pick up and drop off in both Buena Vista and Salida.
During the early stages of her business Foreman was working part-time in an office and using her car-service revenue as supplemental income. Until one day she walked out of work and decided she was going to take the steps necessary to grow her business into a full-time venture.
“I stepped out of work that day and I remember thinking it was a sign because from the time I left the office to the time I got to my car I got three phone calls, and I thought ‘this will work’,” said Foreman.
With her son, Dan, Foreman was able to outline a business plan that would stretch her car-service to a full-time operation. Prior to embracing entrepreneurship, Foreman garnered plenty of management experience in home healthcare offices and insurance offices in Buena Vista.
“I ran businesses, but for other people.” Foreman said with smile, “So, I knew I could grow a business”.
A Community Effort
Foreman recognizes that much of her business’ growth has come as a result of the Buena Vista community’s willingness to back her enterprise. Shortly after receiving her licensure from the PUC, Foreman’s business came under intense inspections to verify her vehicle met PUC standards.
Though Foreman received excellent reviews from inspectors, they did require her to upgrade her vehicle’s tires to meet commercial standards. For Foreman, new commercial-grade tires were a daunting expense.
“As an entrepreneur, I started with no capital,” Foreman said. “The first time I got a tip I ran and used that money to put gas in my car.”
One of Foreman’s first clients was a contractor who, even after only a single drink, never wanted to risk his reputation and his business.
“One night I was driving him and I was kind of fretful,” said Foreman. “It was around $650 for me to buy tires. I was like ‘I don’t know if I’m going to be able to have this business.’ He was like, ‘Oh no, I need you,’” Foreman laughed as she remembered, “Literally, he bought tires for my car.”
“There have been multiple people like that, says Foreman, who added that one individual donated her time to build the website for Corrine’s Car Service.
“The community has really come behind me, and that’s been awesome,” said Foreman.
A Love for Buena Vista and its People
Foreman is quick to acknowledge the community’s role in helping her develop her business, and not only repays her clients with quality service, but strives to engage them as friends and fellow human beings.
“When people ride in a car, there’s something about that. I want to provide a service, but I want to provide encouragement to people in whatever capacity they want to hear it in,” Foreman said.
“For me, it’s to give back to my community. “Yeah, it’s a business, but a lot of my clients become my friends. I get to know them.”
Much of Foreman’s enjoyment from her work comes from showing tourists around the Buena Vista area, and bringing them to many of the sights and locations only a town local would know of. She has registered her business as a member of the chamber, and is glad to be as it supports the town and its other small businesses.
“The local community, we help each other out,” Foreman said. “I try to recommend all local businesses when I can.”
After only a year, Corrine’s Car Service is growing rapidly; outpacing the amount of work one person can handle. Foreman says she would like to add another driver, and someday add another vehicle. Insurance and licensure costs, however, are extremely high.
“I can only work so many hours a day” Foreman said. “I’ve held off on my growth until I get some financial backing. The demand is there.”
Foreman can be contacted via call or text at 719-239-0548.