Luxury Coach & Transportation

January 2019

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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LUXURY COACH & TRANSPORTATION JANUARY 2019 9 PEOPLE & OPERATIONS LuxuryTransportation Scene Operators Jeff Nyikos and Jon Epstein Create NY-NJ Mega-Fleet By Martin Romjue, LCT editor V ALHALLA, N.Y. — Two of the largest chauffeured ground transportation com- panies in the Eastern U.S. joined forces Nov. 15 as one owner seeks to grow and the other looks forward to a new phase of life and career. Leros Point to Point of Valhalla, N.Y. and Royal Coachman Worldwide of Denville, N.J. will continue to oper- ate as usual from their locations. e addition of Royal Coachman World- wide allows Leros Point to Point to strengthen its New Jersey reach. e deal "conversation" started in early 2018 when Nyikos, CEO of Leros, approached Epstein, owner and CEO of Royal Coachman, after he heard Epstein may be interested in sell- ing the company. "We started talking about nine months ago," Nyikos told LCT on Nov. 16. "Jon was looking for an exit strat- egy after being heavily involved in the industry. We were able to get funding from our bank and structured a deal that worked for all of us." e deal closed Nov. 14. "e acquisition kind of happened by accident," Epstein told LCT. He and his wife fell in love with Breckenridge, Col., where they stayed for two months and can pursue outdoors hobbies and interests like skiing. "I said 'I like it out there and could leave New Jersey in a heartbeat.' From there, it took off. ere was total transparency and trust on both sides which made for a smooth transaction. It just takes a lot longer than you think." Epstein's father started Royal Coach- man in 1969 with two stretches and three chauffeurs. Jon grew up in the business, starting as a car washer at the age of eight. He and his sister eventu- ally bought the company from their father in 2004 and have run it since. e 135-150 fleet vehicle company serves big name corporate clients, including ones from the pharmaceutical industry. Together the companies bring more than 85 years of ground transportation experience and will operate a diversi- fied fleet of over 350 vehicles within the New York tri-state area consisting of sedans, SUVs, vans, minibuses, and full-size motorcoaches. About 65 of the vehicles in the blended fleet are vans, shuttles, and minibuses. e combination will create a competitive organization positioned for greater growth and the financial strength to better manage market challenges and weather economic volatility. e pooling of resources will allow both companies to provide a more flexible and efficient customer service model. Nyikos told LCT Leros will keep Royal's name, brand, website, employees, and facilities, which includes an indoor maintenance center, and present the company as a division of Leros. e two opera- tions are ideally located about 75 minutes apart, with Leros north of New York City and Royal Coachman based in central New Jersey. About 80-90% of the company's business is corporate. e Leros team includes COO Mike Basso and Jeff 's brother, Chris, as CFO of the overall corporation. "Our leader- ship will be their leadership," Jeff Nyikos said. "One of the main reasons we like Royal Coachman is not only for their great reputation and clients, but they have a great team of people. In today's environment, it's hard to find good people. Finding drivers is very difficult. ey have a great pool of chauffeurs." e two companies will share fleet vehicles and chauffeur assignments, which will be easier given both run on the Santa Cruz software system. As for Epstein, he plans to stay on a few months during the transition and looks forward to other career roles and his hobbies. "I still have a lot of energy and will be keeping very busy," he said. He also plans to attend the Interna- tional LCT Show in Las Vegas March 24-27. "I've already been threatened I better show up and have a few beers with folks." Jeff Nyikos, CEO and president of Leros Point to Point; and Jon Epstein, former owner and CEO of Royal Coachman Worldwide. One of the main reasons we like Royal Coachman is not only for their great reputation and clients, but they have a great team of people. In today's environment, it's hard to find good people. —Jeff Nyikos

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