Ahoy Transport named Business of the Year
Submitted by the Vinton County Chamber of Commerce
McARTHUR — When Aretha Hoy began her business five years ago, she had just one vehicle, her husband’s support and her own wits. Today, Hoy’s business — Ahoy Transport — has become an anchor in the business community and has far surpassed the goals outlined in her first five-year plan. This is why Ahoy Transport has been named the Vinton County Chamber of Commerce 2011 Business of the Year.
The Chamber recognizes one outstanding member business every year and the awards committee was impressed with Ahoy’s smart growth and success.
“When Aretha started the business, she hoped to have five cars and five drivers in five years,” Vinton County Marketing Director Brandi Betts said. “But in five years, she has built the business to 17 cars and 16 drivers and she’s still growing steadily.”
Ahoy Transport offers non-emergency medical transportation services to Medicaid eligible residents of Vinton and Hocking counties. They routinely make trips to area cities including Chillicothe, Columbus, Jackson, Athens, Logan and Lancaster. They occasionally transport people as far as Charleston and Parkersburg in W.Va., Ashland, Ky., and Cleveland and Cincinnati.
This provides an important service to people who are too ill to drive themselves to doctor appointments, to those without affordable transportation and sometimes, to people who have no transportation at all.
“I started the business because I saw a need for it and because I wanted to be self-employed,” Hoy said.
As with most new businesses, Hoy said the first two years, while successful, were difficult.
“I didn’t have employees. It was just me with a loan for a car and my husband’s paycheck to pay the household bills. It was a struggle and it was a risk,” she said. “I ran a lot of the business from the car while waiting at appointments. And to grow, I put everything I made back into the business so I could buy cars and hire drivers. I never would have made it without my husband and without my friends.”
After operating the business from her home for three years, Ahoy Transport moved to the old Gill Garage in McArthur in September 2009. With ample office space, off-street parking and garage space, Hoy said the location is perfect for their needs and has allowed them to double in size in the last two years.
Hoy credits the success to loyal clients, a good team of employees and the support of family and friends.
“The people you have around you will make or break you. That’s why it’s so important to strive to have the very best people you can. We offer safe, reliable service and that builds a strong base of loyal clients,” Hoy said. “And I want to see my employees enjoy the job because happy employees provide better service to our clients and they stay with us.”
Hoy and her husband, Robert, recently celebrated their 34th wedding anniversary. They lived in Hocking County until moving to Vinton County in 1999. They have two sons, one grandson and four granddaughters.
Ahoy Transport is located at 301 E. Main St., McArthur. For information, call 740-596-0536.
Ahoy Transport will be recognized at the chamber’s annual meeting and banquet on Oct. 11. The chamber will also recognize the late Linda Remy as Person of the Year, the Vinton County Fitness Club for Community Spirit and the late Ryan Seitz for Distinguished Service. The meal will be catered by Flutes and Peppercorns. Tickets are $20 per person and may be purchased at the chamber office until Oct. 6. Call 740-596-5033 for information.