Shuttle service will tie businesses together
COLUMBIANA — A new business venture is expected to offer a variety of benefits to the city, its residents and visitors.
Meredith and Patrick Gorman are behind the Clipper Day Tripper, a new continuous loop shuttle service that will operate in and around Columbiana.
Meredith Gorman presented the plan to the city’s planning commission this week.
“We spoke to several business owners in the area and everyone seems to be very encouraging and on board with us making several stops,” she said.
Businesses already on board with the idea include the Town Center at Firestone Farms, Vineyards at Pine Lake, Factory 46 Tavern, Sandwich Factory, Dutch Village Inn, R’ Pizza Place, Generations Coffee Lab, All Good Things Fountain and Eatery, Lamppost Farm, and the Birdfish Brewing Co., she added.
The shuttle will offer rides to and from the Town Center at Firestone Farms and the downtown business district, and other city locations along the way, including the Dutch Village Inn and that area.
The initial plans call for the shuttle to run from 4-10 p.m. on Fridays and noon to 10 p.m. on Saturdays, with the potential to extend to other days and hours in the future.
Mayor and planning commission member Bryan Blakeman said that at one point a trolley service was available in the city.
“Now every time I go somewhere I am hearing how neat it would be to have services going back and forth… I think it ties both together rather than driving a wedge,” he said of the new service and its trips between Firestone Farms area and the downtown.
Meredith Gorman said the shuttle would allow for people to park either at Firestone Farms and then be shuttled to the business district or elsewhere, or vice versa.
The Gormans are proposing a $10 day pass per person for the service, which will be available for sale in some of the local establishments.
Patrick Gorman pointed out that the shuttle is insured and features a wheelchair lift for handicap accessibility. It will also have a tracking device, so that shuttle users will be able to see where the shuttle is in relation to where they are.
The Gormans said their hope is to promote local business and help them grow as well as to encourage new business to come to the area.
“We are also trying to collaborate with all the different events going on in town, to help eliminate issues with parking on Main Street,” Meredith Gorman said.
Part of that collaboration includes offering the service for free on its maiden route the weekend of Aug. 18-19.
She explained they wanted to introduce the shuttle that weekend since several local events will be going on, such as the Shaker Woods Festival, the Lamppost Farms Hop Harvest Festival, and the Firestone Farms Lazy Days Festival.
The shuttle will pick up riders at set stops and certain locations. It will not make house pickups, she said.
The Gormans requested support from the city for the new venture, and the commission was pleased to give a motion of confidence to go ahead.
Formal approval was not required.