Gainesville's A Candies buys Fabulous charter business

Published: Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 4:17 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 4:17 p.m.

Gainesville charter bus company A Candies Coachworks has purchased the charter business of Branford company Fabulous Coach Lines.

A Candies goes from 10 to 15 buses and plans to hire 10 to 15 of the more than 50 Fabulous employees, CEO Sander Kaplan said. A Candies currently has 30 employees.

A Candies will fulfill Fabulous Coach's existing charters.

Kaplan, 48, founded A Candies Limousine in 1986 and A Candies Coachworks in 2006.

Kaplan said he also bought a stretch limo and a Lincoln sedan from Fabulous Coach.

Ray Land, 25, founded Fabulous Coach in 2004 at age 17. Since then, his company has served 2 million passengers over 4 million miles, according to a news release. Fabulous Coach has other motorcoaches that will be sold to other operators.

Land is keeping casino bus service lines that run between Valdosta, Ga., and Tampa and from North Florida to Biloxi, Miss. He is also co-founder and chief financial officer of Totuit, a transportation app business with an office in the University of Florida Innovation Hub, and has a keynote speaking business.

Kaplan started as a mobile disc jockey. He got into the limousine business at age 21 after a bride asked him to find a limo for a wedding he was working. The two limos in town were booked, so he decided to purchase one.

He got into the charter coach business in 2006 to provide a local option for UF athletics, which provides the bulk of his business.

“We've had positive-growth sales every year,” he said. “There was a vacuum here.”

Kaplan said he was the driver when Land hired a limo for his high school prom. He later called Land for advice on getting into the motorcoach business and said they shared referrals.

A Candies recently opened a St. Augustine office to serve the northeast coast of Florida.

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