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Black-owned transportation business grows from one van to a fleet

Black-owned transportation business grows from one van to a fleet
December 15
14:27 2021

It has been nearly a decade since Teddy Kirkland started Triad Safe Choice (TSC). He was looking for a way to assist his mother with her transportation needs and that has manifested into a booming business.

“My mom had to have surgery and she went in 100% and she came out at only 15, so we had to start acquiring transportation for her, because none of us had any kind of van that could haul a wheelchair,” said Kirkland.  

“This was 10 years ago, so services were very limited back then. I went and purchased the first van basically to transport my mom, but through transporting her, people started asking me if I would pick them up if they paid and that was basically the start of the business.”

Just by taking his mother to and from her appointments, Kirkland was able to bring in five or six different clients to jumpstart his unexpected business venture.

“Back then there were literally only two services out here at that time, so I kind of picked up and it took off from there,” he said about the business.

Kirkland had been in the transportation world for years as a dump truck driver. At the time he started TSC, the nation was right in the middle of a recession. Kirkland says he was running his dump truck, but business was slow, so he began to research the medical transportation field.

“When the people started requesting the transports, I just instantly started researching and I saw that in other metropolitan areas especially, it was a booming business,” he said. “I felt like it could go somewhere, but like I said, once I got the van and the people just started requesting and then the nursing homes came in very shortly after that, I kind of knew I was on to something then.”

The business has grown quicker than Kirkland initially thought it would when he first started the business. From his research, he knew the older population of the Triad area would bode well for TSC.

“Just from doing the research, I realized the demographics here as far as aging seniors and the elderly here, it was very high,” Kirkland said.  “We also have a lot of nursing homes and skill facilities around here.”

Business grew quickly for Kirkland at the beginning.  By the end of his first year, he expanded to having five vans and the demand for his services was very high. As of now, he keeps between 15 and 17 vehicles on the road.

Kirkland is a Winston-Salem native and is a graduate of Carver High School. Kirkland says he has even transported several of his former coaches to their medical appointments. He has expanded his business to include multiple forms of transportation, outside of just medical. His services now include transportation for airport travel, daycare, religious events, sporting events and many other services.

“I just started feeling around in different areas and I came from a background in nightclubs, so my first venture outside of non-emergency was a party bus,” he continued. “A lot of my facilities that I transported at the time were doing group outings and that was something I could get at least 20 residents on.

“It was something that was a step up and something that a lot of them had never been on. It just fell right in place and for me it was all about transportation.”

Two years ago, Kirkland even branched out to the water with a pontoon to give people tours of area lakes.

“I grew up on the water with my dad, so as soon as the coronavirus kicked in and everything shut down, we already do outdoor stuff, so this just kind of opened up the doors for us to play outside even more and that’s when I purchased the pontoon,” he said. “A lot of people had not been on the lakes around here, so it just kind of took off like the other things.”

Kirkland recently added ambulance vehicles to his non-emergency services. He now transports individuals to hospitals that are too large to fit inside of traditional vehicles.

“I would like to just accomplish all areas of non-emergency,” he said about his goal over the next five to ten years. “It’s a lot of different areas it can branch off into.”

Kirkland services all over the Triad area and beyond. Many of the nursing homes he transports for have different locations throughout the state, so he fills the gap for them, so to speak.

For more information about Triad Safe Choice, email triadsafechoice@nullgmail.com or call at 336-987-9393. Visit their website at www.traidsafechoice.com.  

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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