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“The Players Championship brings big crowds to the First Coast and teeing up to cash in those crowds at the annual golf tournament is Greg Franks, owner of a growing limousine and chauffeur company.
“It’s probably our biggest event of the year for special sporting events in this area,” said Franks, co-owner of East Coast Transportation, which has a fleet of 30 luxury and large passenger capacity vehicles.
Franks said the crowds drawn by the Players golf tournament are different than those brought in by most others sporting and entertainment events, with a lot of “corporate people who want to wine and dine clients” and go out to dinner after the day’s round of competition.
The company charges from $78 an hour for a luxury sedan with a chauffeur up to $145 an hour for their largest stretch limousine, which can hold up to 20 people. The drive from Jacksonville International Airport to Ponte Vedra Beach, where the Players, can last 45 minutes to about an hour in heavy traffic.
“Sometimes people plan their vacations just around [the Players],” Franks said. “Everybody’s alert. They [employees] are looking forward to it. They’re working long hours, but tips are part of it as well. It’s a pretty nice clientele of people and it’s kind of a fun environment.”
While the Players may be the peak of service and cash flow for East Coast Transportation, Franks said the company does well throughout the year, with Jacksonville Jaguar football game weekends, the annual Florida-Georgia game and a few other sporting events. The mainstay is companies shuttling in potential clients for various meetings and conventions.”