Door County, WI -The Door County Economic Development Corporation announced recently that Mr. A.J. Frank, owner of Door County Trolley, Inc. (http://www.doorcountytrolley.com/), is the winner of the annual Door County Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The announcement came during the DCEDC annual investors meeting at Stone Harbor Resort & Conference Center in Sturgeon Bay.
Door County Trolley was started in 2000 to provide transportation around the peninsula for tourists and visitors who had in large part come to the area by private automobile. From a modest beginning, Door County Trolley is today involved in providing a broad array of interesting, entertaining, fun, and diversified recreational and educational tours for visitors to the Door County peninsula.
Among the many tours the company provides to customers includes: Premier Wine Tour, Lighthouse Tour, Ghost Tour of Door County, Haunted Olde Sturgeon Bay, Spring Blossom Trolley Tour, Culinary Trolley Tour, and Winter Wonderland Tour. The company also provides weddings and private charter tours, as well as classic car wedding packages and classic car special events.
Since starting the business, the number of trolleys has grown from one to eleven, and annual ridership has grown from less than 500 to well into the tens of thousands. On any given day in the season, up to 750 Door County visitors experience a ride on one of A.J.’s trolleys and find a new and wonderful way to see the spectacular treasures of our area.
Door County Trolley’s direct payroll is 13, expected to grow to 15 by June 2014. There are also the jobs created by partner businesses with which A. J. has forged relationships. Additionally, there are the jobs that are created in all of the other businesses which benefit directly from increasing numbers of satisfied visitors who return to Door County for the unique recreational activities provided by Door County Trolley.
“It is our pleasure to recognize A.J. Frank with the Entrepreneur of the Year award,” said DCEDC Executive Director Bill Chaudoir. “His business adds greatly to the visitor experience in Door County. DCEDC was proud to help A.J. out with financing when his business was young, and we have been thrilled to watch his company’s continued growth and expansion. We wish him nothing but continued success.”
The Entrepreneur of the Year Award celebrates those individuals who have taken the initiative to start and grow a successful small business in Door County. Eligible businesses include those with fewer than 50 full time employees, exhibiting exciting growth potential and that have at least three years of successful business experience. Last year’s winners were the Wienke Family, owners of Wienke’s Market in Southern Door.
The Door County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC) is a public/private partnership dedicated to improving the economic vitality of the county and its residents. Founded in 1989, DCEDC has been successful in helping existing businesses create and retain thousands of jobs through a myriad of programs and initiatives. Additionally, DCEDC places strong emphasis on fostering entrepreneurial instincts in county residents as well as those who vacation on the Door County Peninsula. Door County Economic Development Corporation offices are located within the small business incubator DCEDC founded in 1997 at 185 East Walnut Street in the Sturgeon Bay Industrial Park.