I am so excited to go live with our next guest blog post! By a fellow mom and businesswoman… and a friend!
I can’t recall exactly when we first met. But I do remember the first time we worked together. Knowing that I had a booth at the Outdoor Family Fair, and not having a space herself, she contacted me to see if she could join my spot and hand out flyers. Why not?! I quickly knew our personalities clicked… and she’s been stuck with me since. 😉
I’ve loved following along on her journey. And I love cheering on her business. Here is The Shabby Bus’ story….
“The Shabby Bus was a never part of our plan!!
We moved our family to Boerne during the summer of 2013 with a dream of raising our girls in a smaller town, and opening The Shabby Palette, an art studio with an after-school care program. I had been a teacher for 9 years at NISD in San Antonio, and had dreamed of running a business working with children in a creative atmosphere. An important part of the plan was to buy a small bus to use for transporting kids from local schools to the after-school art program. We bought a 15-passenger shuttle bus from the Dallas Cowboy stadium in Arlington and drove it back home. While we didn’t know it at the time, this decision would change our lives.
The business plan of the art studio was put on hold while we settled into our new life in Boerne. Our girls started school, and we got to know our community and neighbors. The bus sat in the driveway and waited.
One day, close to Christmas break, I had a tough conversation with Brian. I remember being stressed out over the fact that I needed to get to work at something…anything. I had never not worked, and we really could have used the extra money for the holidays. We considered lots of things, but it was a hard time of year to get work in any school and I really wanted something unique and creative to keep me busy. At one point in the conversation I said, “What can I do? All I have is this crazy bus!” To which Brian calmly replied, “Well, let’s use the bus.”
With Brian’s amazing master carpenter skills, and my thrifty creativity, we got to work on The Shabby Bus. When I wasn’t painting or decorating the bus, I was researching the hill country hot spots and building a new business plan and website. Before too long, we had a unique private tour bus that could make us the little bit of extra money our family needed.
We had no idea what we were doing in the beginning, but we learned quickly. We got a special permit from the city, and started marketing on social media. We contacted Boerne’s Parks and Recreation Department and put our shabby bus in the Boerne Weihnacht’s parade. We booked our first few tours, learned what people really wanted to use a bus for, and created some fun tour ideas. To date, our greatest advertisement has been word of mouth. Our customers have had wonderful experiences and have told their friends and family. We’ve had several repeat customers throughout the years. For this we feel extremely grateful and blessed.
After about a year, we started getting so busy that we needed to add to our little business. About that same time, Boerne ISD started to auction off some of their older buses, and a friend suggested we check it out. I fought tooth and nail in the online auction for a specific bus that we thought would be perfect. It was a small bus with very low miles, a fantastic AC system, and great maintenance records from the school district. After several hours, we won Shabby # 2. Once again, Brian and I got to work.
Brian tore out all the seats, and built all new custom benches inside. She got trimmed out with wood shelves, a new sound system, and some fun paint and decorations. We had a great mobile mechanic (thanks Tye Thornton) fix the few things she needed mechanically, and we started booking this bus almost immediately.
Since the fall of 2013, we’ve hosted hundreds of wine tours, beer tours, weddings, birthday parties, proms, concert shuttles, bachelorette parties, Christmas light tours, reunions, and just fun nights out for friends and families. We have groups contact us for unique and original ideas all the time, and we’ve been used as a fun “SURPRISE” party several times. This has been such a fun adventure, and one we never had even planned. God is so good, y’all!
We recently bought our third bus. It is our first full sized bus, and we are building it to hold 30 people. It will be perfect for weddings and private events that need to have larger groups of people shuttled at a time. Our plan is to keep the design a little more classic and simple (think elegant farmhouse). We’ll have a wet bar in the back and a much more “loungy” feel. We estimate that it will be finished by the end of the summer and ready to book for fall 2017.
Please keep an eye on us. We’re always working on something new, and we’re always growing (in some way).
You can follow us @ www.shabbybus.com
With much peace and love. Always stay shabby. ❤, Summer Poole
Thanks to Amy from Shutter-Happy Photography and From Scratch Farm for hosting this blog. I really enjoyed the journey it took me on 😊”
GUEST POST BY SUMMER POOLE (Who adds on her website, “Don’t worry about who’s going to drive. Don’t worry about parking. Don’t worry about taking two or three cars. Don’t worry about safety. Just worry about booking your day before someone else does!” So get to it!)
My picture of Summer (and her daughters) modeling our From Scratch Farm logo baseball tee 🙂 ——————->