Herald Journal, Oct. 3, 2005
LP couple cruise into a new business
By Liz Hellmann
If an idea for a business turns a profit, it is considered a good idea. But what happens when that idea turns into a whole other business of its own?
That is what happened to Art and Ann Mallak of Lester Prairie, owners of Double A Limousine Service in Lester Prairie.
“The first time, I actually purchased the limo for the other business,” Art said. “People began to ask if they could rent it.”
The Mallaks used the limousine to chauffeur clients to real estate properties belonging to their other business, Realty Plus.
“It was nice because the limo seated up to 12 people. You could take mom, dad, and the kids,” Ann said.
When people kept asking to rent the limo, the Mallaks had to turn them down because they weren’t licensed or insured to rent it.
That changed when they officially opened Double A Limousine Service last April, complete with paper work, license, and insurance.
“There was a need for it,” Art said. “There’s nothing like that around here; we’re just trying to bring a little bit of the glitz and glam from the metro.”
The Mallaks currently own five limos, which can seat anywhere from six to 14 people.
The newest limo is a Lincoln Navigator SUV limo, which seats 14.
The Mallaks work several weddings, and some have large bridal parties.
“They say ‘we’d like to all go in one.’ We can accommodate that,” Ann said.
Although the SUV limo seats 14 people, it is not the biggest limo the Mallaks own.
Another limo also seats 14 people, but is 40 feet long, about 10 feet longer than the SUV limo.
“The 14-passenger limos are so big, we actually had to register them as a bus,” Art said.
For weddings, and other special events, Double A Limousine Service brings out the red carpet, literally.
Along with rolling out a red carpet, the driver dresses in full uniform. The inside of the limo is filled with glasses for wine, champagne, or other beverages, and lights attached to the ceiling and sides complete the atmosphere.
Whether the limos are being used for weddings, birthday parties, or airport runs, they are always busy.
“We needed this new one. Last weekend, we had all four limos out,” Art said.
The limos are kept in a garage across the street from Realty Plus in Lester Prairie, but even when business hours are over, Double A Limousine Service knows no closing time.
“We’re open 24/7,” Ann said. We’ve made airport runs at four in the morning.”
Sometimes, they are so busy, it is difficult to find enough time to get a limo ready for a job following another.
“If you’ve ever seen the car come into the pit during racing, that’s what it’s like,” Ann said.
The whole family helps with the turnaround. Art’s mother, Rose Mallak, helps by washing the glassware, another person vacuums, and Tom Mallak, Art’s brother, attends to any mechanical issues.
The limos have come from all over the country.
Art purchased the newest limo from Massachusetts, another one from Iowa, and one from Mississippi.
He buys the limos off ebay on the Internet, but makes sure he gets what he pays for.
Instead of having the limos delivered to Lester Prairie, the Mallaks always go personally, or send someone to pick up the limos.
“I just bring a check with and take a look, and if it isn’t what they said it was, they aren’t getting the check,” Art said.
The Mallaks have lived in Lester Prairie for about 17 years, and enjoy their new business.
“You’re sharing in their special moments, helping make them that much better,” Ann said.