Early July marks the beginning of summer for many students and families. A trip to the beach is on many people’s agenda but driving and parking can be inconvenient, especially for families or students that have no transportation options.
That is why a London man has taken matters into his own hands, and he created a bus that takes Londoners to and from Grand Bend beach on weekends.
CEO and self-proclaimed ‘Chief Beachbum’ Matthew Thomas says he waited for 7 years for someone to create this business, but when no one did, he became impatient.
“This beautiful, fresh water great lake beach [Grand Bend] is just 45 minutes away. For years, I was always trying to convince other people to do this great idea. I tweeted back in 2013, I tweeted ‘Somebody start a bus from London to Grand Bend.’ I would retweet this tweet, encouraging somebody to make a bus, and nobody has done it for the past 7 years, so here I am.”
But starting his own business was not easy. Thomas says customer satisfaction and getting everything set up perfectly are big challenges. On top of being a father, a professor at Fanshawe and keeping busy with other activities, Thomas does not have a lot of free time. But he encourages youth who want to start their own business to go out there, and make your dreams come true, even if you think your business idea won’t work.
“It’s whatever you’re thinking about all the time. There are a lot of problems that need solutions. And I’m amazed at how many people actually have those ideas, but they just don’t think it would ever be practical. So for example, this silly idea that I wanted to have a beer at Grand Bend, and therefore, I really wanted a bus to take me there… it’s just so silly, but I knew that there were thousands of Londoners who want the same thing.”
Once winter hits, what will happen to the buses? Thomas enjoys being busy and introducing new products to the market, and his next idea is already in the works of coming true. Londoners have something to look forward to once flu season returns this winter.
“I know some friends who have been sick in the winter, and they get the flu really bad. So I want to make a business this winter, it will be called ‘So Sick’ and [it is] an opportunity for you to give a care package to your friend who is sick, and customize it. [It can] include some sort of video, soup or sandwich that they like, or any vitamin mix that you think will make them better.”
In terms of the first bus trip to Grand Bend, Thomas is excited to travel with beach-goers to one of his favorite places.
“[July 7th] is the [first] run of Bend Bus. We will be going from Downtown London to Grand Bend, it takes just less than an hour, and we’re going to have a lot of fun…. We’re going to christen the bus, I have some trivia plans for the trip, and we’re giving away some really great swag.”
There are still spots available for the first trip, and interested participants can sign up to tag along with all the other excited beach-goers.