An Entrepreneur Takes Hold of the Taxi Industry

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Cannon Braatz of Checker Cab of Central Oregon is rolling along with little resistance these days with multiple taxi serves ventures throughout Oregon.

His Checker Cab was started in 2009 in Bend and quickly grew to encompass the entire Deschutes County region serving Sisters, La Pine, Redmond and Prineville before expanding into Crook and Jefferson Counties after acquiring Country Cab in 2010. The vast fleet now consists of twenty-five vehicles in Central Oregon alone, covering the highways and byways of the High Desert.

“We not only do regular taxied fares but also do airport shuttles and lots of courier work hauling medical supplies for doctors and pharmaceutical firms,” he said, delivering each sentence with rapid-fire enthusiasm. “From there I bought Deluxe Taxi out of Eugene last year and also Oregon Taxi, where I have fifty working vehicles. I service the Lane County area too, consisting of the entire Willamette Valley. Checker here in Central Oregon is the premiere airport transportation outlet for the Redmond Airport. We do all the airlines and haul the pilots and flight crews back and forth and provide all the shuttles for the area hotels.”

Braatz got into the cab business through an unfortunate route, after realizing via a bad personal experience that the best way to get home safely is by calling a cab instead of attempting to drive home himself. The local authorities have been very supportive of the taxi service program Checker Cab has initiated as an alternative for bars and restaurants, versus the expensive way of being brought home by the police.

“Checker always runs multiple taxis 24-hours a day, seven days a week. If you have bad weather situations or delays due to aircraft maintenance, the airlines contact us and we can bring out cabs or vans to handle any situation.”

“I started this business because I wasn’t happy with what I saw in the taxi world around here,” he explained. “I thought there was a better way to do this, trying to offer a better product and better service with cleaner, upscale vehicles and colorful local partner sponsors advertising on the cabs. We use Dodge Grand Caravans and Chrysler 300s and Toyota Scions as our primary fleet transportation. Bendistillery is one of our main sponsors and also Crater Lake Vodka and Dex Pages, Joolz Restaurant in downtown Bend, Amalia’s, Foxx’s Bar and Billiards and many others. They advertise on our taxis and we’re supporting the people who are supporting us and their businesses.”

Braatz and his eco-friendly, mini-empire of five regional taxi cab companies is the fastest growing transportation company in the State of Oregon for the past two years.

“All our drivers are background checked and go through extensive in-house training focusing on driver safety, customer service and all have city licenses as well. We pride ourselves on our extreme professionalism, reliability and excellent safety record.”

“The whole operation runs smoothly because of my great staff,” said Braatz. “My general manager is Bucci Shelton and my office manager is Connie Stinson and they both keep everything running, whether it’s in the office or out in the field.”

Checker Cab also does VIP transportation in town cars or deluxe sedans, special event shuttles, weddings, Christmas parties and company functions. Mobility vehicles are available for the handicapped or physically impaired as well.

“Another new program we’re offering is our Cash Cab, now in its second year in a row where we do a live radio broadcast with a DJ from one of our specially tricked out vehicles with some wild sponsor graphics displayed and sponsored with Combined Communication and Wild 107.7 FM. It’s a real blast.”

The future road before him looks promising and bright and Braatz thrives on the fast-paced atmosphere and 24/7 lifestyle the taxi business provides.

“We’re still expanding into other markets and we’re still on the move,” he said. “I keep telling people, we’re taking over the world, one cab at a time. We’re looking forward to continued growth. My energy level is “go, go, go” and I’m acquiring more territory as fast as I can. I like promoting our sponsors and take a lot of pride in every customer we get home safely.”

For transportation needs or questions contact Checker Cab at 541-312-2227 or visit them online at www.taxicaboregon.com.

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