Landrum Wanderings: Limo Zen: What’s in a name?

Published 4:08 pm Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Driving on I-26 to Spartanburg, the sign near the Campobello exit announcing “Limo Zen” always catches my eye.

I’m curious, so I called their number and spoke with Kathy, who greeted me with her friendly voice. She has set a meeting up for me, and today I’m on my way to meet Ken Feagin and Alan Taylor, the owners of this limo service.

My first question for them is, “Why limo zen? Where did the name come from?”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Alan replies, “Well we wanted something to convey peacefulness, comfort, a sense of quiet. Do you think it’s a good name?” he asks me. I tell him, “I do like the name. It’s catchy and attracts attention.”

Alan and his wife moved to our area from Great Britain, to seek a warmer climate and a fox hunting community. Ken is a long time resident and owner of Ken Feagin Truck and Trailer.

They met when Alan bought a truck from Ken, and they became friends. They both thought there was a need for a full service limo business, but weren’t sure there was a large enough population to support it.

Limo Zen’s sign. (Photo by Linda List)

When the Tryon International Equestrian Center opened here, they knew it was time to open their business. “TIEC and WEG are bringing the world to Tryon,” Ken says with a smile.

“We’re the official transport company for TIEC. With WEG coming up in September, we’re already working on logistics. We’ll be bringing in a sizeable number of cars. We’re getting calls requesting transport for groups of 25 and more. Four to five people come with each horse.”

With the increased demand for transportation, there is an increased demand for drivers. “We’re already starting interviews for drivers,” Ken adds.

I inquire about the need for a special license.

Ken explains, “A standard drivers license and a good driving record are the first priority. Then they have to like people and be comfortable talking with strangers. Of course, they need a good knowledge of the area, roads, places, that sort of thing.”

Alan explains, “A lot of our business is what we call tarmac business. Private airplanes flying into small private airports like Asheville, Greenville, Spartanburg and Charlotte need people picked up. This is often corporate business, companies bringing people in for conferences. It could be celebrities coming to see their children competing at the Equestrian Center. We’re very professional. Our drivers wear a uniform that reflects the black and white of our cars.”

Ken mentions, “That type of business is completely confidential. We never reveal identities of people we’re transporting.”

We discuss further the opportunities during WEG for visitors and participants to enjoy the four communities that make up the Carolina foothills, Landrum, Tryon, Columbus and Saluda. I mention that I have heard business owners show concern about attendees having interest in the area other than just the equestrian center. Ken believes that after spending a few days at the center, people will be curious to see more of the area.

He mentions, “We’re thinking about the possibility of organizing area tours. It’s a possibility.”

I ask about some of the everyday business. “What about people needing transportation to doctors offices or hospitals?” “Yes, we do that,” Ken nods. “And sometimes people need minor children to be able to visit them in the hospital. They call us because they know that we provide safe transportation. And if people are going to Greenville, or another city for dinner, or maybe a show at the Peace Center, we take them, wait, and then bring them home. It makes going out easy and fun without the worries of driving. Every trip can be customized. We can deliver them to a destination and return to pick them up. Or some people want us to wait at the venue so we are there when they are ready to return. ”

Weddings and events like proms are also part of the business. Alan offers, “Most of this type of business is family oriented. If it’s high school students attending prom, we can take them to dinner and to the event. Then deliver them back home. It’s not the ‘wild time’ that some people think of.”

Limo Zen also operates Tryon Wine Tours an all-inclusive, six-hour tour of three or four local wineries from March to mid-November. Visitors meet the chauffeur in the center of Landrum to begin the tour. A light lunch is enjoyed at one of the vineyards. After the last tour stop, they deliver you back to Landrum, where you can collect your vehicle, and perhaps enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.

Limo Zen offers several different types of vehicles including luxury sedans that seat three to four passengers, and are the classic choice for couples wanting a carefree, luxury experience. Luxury SUVs seat five to six passengers. The stretch limousine seats up to 10, and is often used for special occasions like weddings or birthdays. The Sprinter passenger vans seat up to 11 passengers and are used for group outings.

I’ve learned a lot about the limousine business.

I didn’t know that area wine tours were available and will plan to book future visitors on one.

With the world coming to the Carolina foothills, Limo Zen will be an important service during the WEG event.

I’ve enjoyed visiting with Ken and Alan. If you want more information or are interested in driving during the event, check the website or phone (855) 894-5466.