St. Cloud, Minn. - You could say Larry Logeman woke up one day wanting to own a business. It never crossed his mind in college. But In 1998, he wrote a plan to become a business owner and set a deadline of 5-7 years. In January 2005 – just shy of his seven-year deadline – he learned Executive Express was for sale. Logeman bought the business.
When he purchased it, Executive Express was a small, inwardly focused company providing shuttle service between St. Cloud and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Logeman wanted to turn it into the leading airport shuttle service in Central Minnesota. He started by increasing the frequency of the shuttle service to the airport. He also began transforming Executive Express into a 24-hour based company with an online reservation system, computers, and voicemail. It marked a significant shift in the business that once only took reservations by phone and used no technology.
A year after buying the business, Logeman completed the company’s first acquisition, purchasing Twin City Passenger Service in Alexandria, Minnesota.
In 2009 Executive Express increased its daily airport runs to 10 and expanded service to 40 cities. Logeman also invested heavily in vehicles, technology and staffing to further establish Executive Express as a leading provider of convenient and reliable airport shuttle transportation services. At the same time, Logeman opened a branch office in Ames, Iowa. “Every bank in town was telling me no,” he remembers. So he borrowed against his family’s house and executed the plan. The risk yielded significant rewards. Today, the Ames operation serves about 20,000 passengers a year, largely through its partnership with Iowa State University.
With all that growth, it's not surprising that the recession proved challenging for Executive Express. It marks the only time the company did not follow its annual double-digit growth pattern. Logeman refused to cut staff or the schedule. “Cash flow was tight, very tight,” he said. He pulled from his personal finances to carry the business through the year.
In 2012 Logeman doubled the company’s building footprint in St. Cloud. The expansion included a 2,500-square-foot maintenance bay where a newly hired full-time mechanic oversees maintenance of the company’s fleet.
Customer-centric moves have helped Executive Express catapult from a modest St. Cloud operation with 12 employees and eight vehicles to a growing regional business with multiple offices, 85 employees and a fleet of 31 vehicles. The company is on pace to reach nearly $3 million in revenue in 2015.
The Small Business of the Year award is part of the Chamber's annual business awards program. This year, in addition to Logeman, the St. Cloud Area Chamber is honoring Luke Riordan, DAYTA Marketing, Emerging Entrepreneur; and Michael Faber, Viking Coca Cola, Family Owned Business of the Year. The award winners will be honored at the Chamber’s Business Awards Luncheon on Thursday, May 7, 2015 at noon at the Holiday Inn and Suites in St. Cloud. Cost for the luncheon is $19 for Chamber members and $29 for the general public. For reservations, call the Chamber at 320-251-2940, ext. 126 or online at events.StCloudAreaChamber.com.