The millions of visitors who come to Nashville hope to see a famous entertainer – Star Bus Suites is setting out to give guests the experience of traveling like one. “When we pull up in front of Tootsie’s at 8 o’clock on a Saturday night, the sidewalk clears and all the phones come out. It’s really a rock star experience for our clients,” says owner Jason Thomas.
With more than a half dozen companies between them ranging from mechanical bull rentals to landscape lighting and drone photography, the serial entrepreneurs behind Star Bus Suites are no strangers to starting a business. Jason Thomas, Kelli McGarraugh and Jeff Reardon joined forces in June 2016 to launch their latest idea after meeting at their sons’ flag football game three years before.
“The idea for Star Bus has been in my head for more than five years, but it takes a lot of time and research to make an idea work,” said Thomas.
Thomas and Reardon talked to countless tour bus leasing companies and had a few false starts before finding the perfect vehicle to start their fleet. The 2002 Prevost is affectionately named “Tommy” after its single previous owner, a gospel quartet performer who meticulously maintained the bus in his garage the way others baby their classic Corvettes.
When Thomas and Reardon approached their banks with the idea to purchase their first vehicle, they learned that while the banks were intrigued by the idea, a band bus is ultimately “not in many banks’ wheelhouse – so they told us to call Pathway Lending.”
“It’s been a blur – the biggest contribution Pathway made was their patience while we waded through all the paperwork and DOT compliance issues. It was crazy,” said Reardon. Learning the DOT regulations and securing a DOT number and tag was not easy. “We had to add an emergency escape hatch to the roof,” says Thomas. “We had a crew up there with saws cutting holes in the roof of our new bus!”
“Our clients are so inspirational,” says Pathway Lending VP of Lending & Client Relations Pam Theis, who helped secure the loans for Star Bus Suites. “We hear their passion, see their commitment, and just love being able to play a part in helping their idea become reality.”
While there may be other tour bus companies in town, Star Bus Suites offers “the ultimate entertainer tour bus experience” in Nashville with the added benefit of not just a personal driver for your personal tour bus, but your own “tour manager.” This tour manager handles all the details for guests, acting as photographer, food and drink service, coordinator and tour guide. Star Bus Suites offers their decked out tour bus for corporate events and airport trips, wedding day suite services, and Arrington Vineyard day trips. The Star Bus Suites team has also been busy helping local luxury hotels attract VIP conference clients. And since Nashville is the number one destination for bachelorette parties, be sure to watch for this VIP event space on wheels the next time you are on Broadway.
Learn more about Star Bus Suites at starbussuites.com.