Middlebury-based Cardinal Bus Company has been operated by the same family for 95 years.
Three generations that have run the charter bus company.
That third generation, looking to retire soon, is now selling the company.
The cardinal bus company is well known around the area. Headquartered in Middlebury, it also has offices in Mishawaka and Holland, Michigan.
The family-owned charter bus service it provides is now co-owned by the third generation of family members, Matt and Dan Shoup. Their grandfather, Branston Shoup, began the bus company back in 1923, 95 years ago.
“Local scheduled routes around Middlebury, Shipshewana, Goshen area and expanded from there,” said Matt. “My father started working in the businesses when he was a teenager, then he took the reins.”
Their father, John, took over in the 50's and worked hard to grow the company.
“Pushed hard into the charter business. The charter business expanded extensively from the 50's on and over time it has grown and grown. And the family has stayed with it.”
Dennis Douberteen has worked there for 40 years, first as a driver, now dispatcher.
“It’s a family operation and they treat employees like part of the family too. It’s a more relaxed atmosphere than a big city company,” said Douberteen.
“We're hands-on people,” said Matt. “We've got a good staff of employees and that's what makes it tick.”
He said there did come a time not too long ago when he and his brother Dan began the idea of looking into retirement down the road. They wanted to find someone who would take over the business and allow it to continue and flourish.
“We can't do this forever, so it’s important to find a company that understood the business and wanted the business and wanted to expand the business,” said Matt.
They did. The Go-Rite company, based in Wisconsin is the new owner.
The name on the buses will remain Cardinal and the staff will remain the same.
Matt and his brother Dan will stay on-board for a while to oversee the transition for the new owners,