In 1987, during his first year at St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Shawn Geary married Kristine Odgaard. While at St. Lawrence taking Business Administration with a major in Marketing, Shawn worked part time as a butcher at A&P in the Frontenac Mall and began driving part time for Ivan McCoy who owned McCoy Limousine Service in Kingston. Kristine worked full time at a dermatology clinic and part time at The Bay so that Shawn could attend school full time. Kristine also took night courses at St. Lawrence during this time. Upon graduating from College Shawn took a job at Royal Trust and stopped driving for McCoy to focus on his new career in banking.
After two years of processing loans and mortgages and advising clients on investments Shawn left the bank. He and Kristine began CAN-AM Shuttle Service, a daily return passenger shuttle service from Kingston to Syracuse, to New York’s airport, bus and train stations. When Shawn left the bank, Kristine continued to work at the dermatology clinic, and she and Shawn began cleaning office at night. They would both work all day, then at night they cleaned offices together.
It was in 1992 that Mr. McCoy decided he wanted to retire and contacted Shawn and Kristine to ask if they would be interested in buying McCoy Limousine Service, a company that Mr. McCoy had started in 1979. The Geary’s bought the limo business which consisted of two stretch limousines and three sedans. Having no money at the time, Shawn used the cars as collateral to borrow some money from the bank, his father loaned him some money by putting a mortgage on the family home and Ivan McCoy took back the balance of the purchase price in payments over the next 5 years.
The business was moved from where Mr. McCoy lived on Portsmouth Avenue in Kingston to a unit in the Steve Fonyo Drive industrial park. Shawn washed the cars, answered the phone, took the reservations, mailed the invoices then drove the cars nights and weekends. Kristine continued her full time job at the dermatology clinic while helping with the limo business by cleaning cars on the evenings and weekends. In 1994, with help from Ivan McCoy, Shawn and Kristine were able to buy a house with an attached office on Midland Avenue where they could live and operate the business from the same address. It was the same year that Shawn and Kristine welcomed their first daughter Alison into the world of passenger transportation.
After a couple of years running the limousine service, Shawn & Kristine noticed they were getting more requests from clients needing transportation for groups that were larger than could be accommodated in a stretch limousine so in 1994 Shawn bought the first used mini bus. It was the following year, 1995 that daughter number two, Nicole, arrived.
In 1996 another mini bus was added as demand began to grow. In 1997 the Kingston Hospitals KGH, Hotel Dieu and St. Mary’s of the Lake Hospitals put out to tender a contract for 2 mini buses to shuttle staff, physicians and nurses between the institutions. McCoy won the 5 year contract enabling them to add two more mini buses and catapult the company into the bus business in an even bigger way.
In addition to more buses another daughter was also added to the growing fleet of girls. Danielle came late in the spring of 1997 to join our other two girls. McCoy is still providing the hospital shuttle service between the institutions although the service has been downsized due to financial restraints.
In an attempt to get more people on the mini buses operated by McCoy Limousine Service the business name was changed to McCoy Transportation and the company started offering day trips to Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal under the first “tour business” called Day Trip Tours. Shawn and Kristine realized that there seemed to be great potential in the bus tour market, so in 1997, McCoy Transportation bought their first 47 passenger motor coach, a 10 year old Prevost Mirage XL.
Casino shuttle services soon followed to Montreal then the Hull Casino as casinos began to gain popularity. The addition of over night tours allowed for the expansion of the tour business and it was re-named McCoy Tours to continue to build on the McCoy brand that was becoming so well known.
The addition of the first motor coach was followed by a second later that same year. The bus and tour businesses were becoming far busier than the limousine business and the Geary’s continued to add buses to the fleet to meet the demand. In 2000 the company took a large leap into the bus business with the addition of 3 five-year old H model Prevost’s totaling an investment of one million dollars. It was also in late 2000 that Shawn and Kristine made the decision to focus their energy on the bus and tour business and sell the limousine service that had given them their start. The limousine service was sold and the name was to be altered as not to confuse it with the new McCoy Bus Service & Tours. The new name for the limousine service was McCoy-Tower Limousine but people still refer to this company simply as McCoy Limousine and think it has some affiliation with the bus and tour company, but it does not.
In 2004, McCoy Bus Service was nominated for the Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce medium-size business of the year award. The company was up against 7 other outstanding companies and won the honour.
The Geary’s continued to grow their bus and tour companies and it became evident the property on Midland Avenue was not going to hold them for much longer. In 2005, a purpose-build office and garage facility was built on three and a half acres of industrial property at 566 Cataraqui Woods Drive in Kingston’s west end. In addition to new offices, a new garage was formed when the Geary’s bought Hiemstra Auto Service, moved the staff and equipment to Cataraqui Woods Drive and changed the name to Kingston Fleet & Auto Service. The garage is run as a stand-alone repair facility doing repairs and maintenance on any size vehicle as well as McCoy’s bus fleet. Kingston Fleet & Auto Service employs six full time technicians and mechanics. In 2008, Shawn Geary was nominated for and won the Kingston Whig-Standard businessman of the year award.
In the spring of 2009, McCoy Bus Service and Tours opened their second office in Belleville, Ontario about 80 Kilometers west of Kingston. The Belleville office has three staff members and is located at 81 Millennium Parkway. In addition to the Belleville office location there is equipment parked in Belleville and used on a daily basis.
In the spring of 2010, McCoy Bus Service moved two buses to Ottawa to provide a daily shuttle service from the City of Ottawa to the Rideau Carleton Raceway & Slots casino located just south of the city.
Today McCoy Bus Service & Tours and Kingston Fleet & Auto Service employ almost 80 full and part-time people. The company operates over 30 vehicles spread between 3 cities in eastern Ontario.
As McCoy has evolved over time Shawn & Kristine continue to run the company as business partners and are proud to be part of a business that lives and operates in such a wonderful city and enjoy supporting the community who supports them.
Stay tuned to hear about McCoy Tours exciting evolution to Maple Leaf Tours!