Heads up, Franklin County: there’s a new ride-for-hire in town, and it comes with a long stretch of red carpet.
About two months ago, husband-wife team Wendy and Kenneth Wilson launched a local limousine service called Fortunex. About 20 years ago, Wendy co-owned a limo service in Alta Vista, and decided that reviving her former line of work could benefit those who want to leave the driving to someone else; and do so in style.
“Everyone should splurge on themselves at least once,” she said.
Fortunex is available for everything from weddings and birthday parties, to winery and microbrewery tours, prom nights, funeral transport or to simply offering a safe ride home from a night on the town. The Lincoln limousine seats 10, but Wendy recommends nine for comfort.
Wendy said she aims to customize the experience to each customer’s event. She’ll match the beverage napkin colors to a bride’s wedding, pack the passenger area with balloons for a birthday, include strawberries and chocolate for wine tours, roses for dates and even arrange for camera-clad paparazzi and security detail for those who want a dramatic flair.
“Luxury car service is not just about the car. It’s about the service,” Wendy said. “We don’t leave any detail out. Tell me what artist you like, and I’ll stream that music … If they want Elvis to drive the car, we can do that.”
The limo also has two small televisions, WiFi, a mini bar stocked with cold water or other drinks, and a mirrored ceiling. Passengers can use the intercom to speak with the driver and a remote control to change the color of the LED lights lining the passenger area.
During stops, Wendy and Kenneth restock food and drink supplies and wipe off any dust gathered from driving the county’s country roads.
Wendy said her job goes beyond driving the vehicle, however. For example, when transporting high-school students for proms, she talks with parents about ensuring their children recognize her as the adult guardian for the evening so that everyone has fun but stays safe. She’s also glad Fortunex can serve as a ride home for those who’ve enjoyed one too many alcoholic drinks. She can accommodate same-day requests if the limo is not already booked.
As a general rule, Wendy said, the limo is $100 per hour but she offers discounts for multiple bookings and events. For example, if a couple books the limo for both the bachelor and bachelorette parties, she’ll throw in the wedding-day ride for free. Fortunex does not charge for the time it takes to limo reach the customer, she added.
For custom winery and brewery tours, Wendy has put together packages that range from $100 to $150 per person. The price includes the tasting fees. Other packages she’s done include scavenger hunts, orchard tours, and trips to haunted historical sites.
“We really will customize it,” she added. “It’s only limited to that person’s imagination. If they can think of it, I can get it done.”
Wendy said they plan to get a couple of sedans and a white SUV to offer additional options, particularly for business and airport transport. She’s also looking into licensing for a boat-for-hire service at Smith Mountain Lake.
The licensing required for the limo service is extensive, she added. In order to get a certificate of fitness from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, classifying the limo as a vehicle for hire with a tag stating such, they had to pass a criminal background check, be bonded and obtain the proper insurance.
Wendy said that those interested in renting the limo may call or text 793-6979, email Fortunexlimo@gmail.com or send a message via Facebook through the Fortunex page. She recommends booking key events such as weddings far in advance to ensure availability and allow for any special planning.