History Of Teddy’s Limo – Our Story
Teddy’s History: A Storied Past, A Bright Future – 1932
Golden Gloves prizefighter Leo “Teddy” Tedesco established Teddy’s Taxi in Westport, Connecticut.
The 1970’s and Early 1980’s: A Family Decision and Rapid Business Growth
While most of Theodore “Ted” Wisniewski’s jobs had been driving trucks, there was a stint driving the greatly stretched Chryslers of the firm that would later become Connecticut Limousine. In the mid-70s Ted drove for a Greenwich chauffeured service, where he observed tremendous growth in that fleet as many of New York City Fortune 500s moved up to Stamford during that city’s big growth spurt.
Around this time Ted and his wife Shelly were actively looking around for a business to run as a family. While weighing an option to buy a motel in Leadville, Colorado, Ted learned that “Teddy’s Taxi” was for sale. In addition to the taxies, the company had a permit to operate five limousines and operated one of Fairfield County’s highest-volume Avis Rent-a-Car franchises. The cherry on top was that the company was located only 1.3 miles from the house. The couple bought Teddy’s in 1978.
The “livery” division of the newly named Teddy’s Transportation System launched with one limousine and one town car and took off like a rocket as so many brand managers moved up to central coastal Fairfield County. Glendinning Associates, Marketing Corporation of America and the like brought class A office space and wildly successful corporations to even bucolic Westport and Norwalk while Stamford grew into the third-largest home of Fortune 500 companies in the world.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, busy executives relied regularly on Teddy’s as a well-tuned chauffeured services company. The majority of the Glendinning team left their homes about 5 am on most Mondays; had the Teddy’s chauffeur drop them off at LaGuardia, then drop off mailing tubes at FedEx and hand deliver mini-tape memos back to their support team in Westport. Chauffeurs were expected to have extra memo tape, postage stamps and envelopes, memo pads and FedEx air-bill forms.
As Big Eight accounting became the Big Four, as Glendinning Associates, MCA, Remington Brands and Richardson Vicks and other corporations morphed into other entities, those early executives were eager to bring Teddy’s with them to their new jobs. As the re-insurance and hedge fund industries grew strong southern Connecticut roots, Teddy’s Transportation System emerged as the global executive ground travel partner to thousands of area business-people and to dozens of regional and globally based corporations.
1985-1995: Industry Leadership
By now focused on the flourishing executive transportation business, the Wisniewskis sold the taxi business in 1985 and rental car franchise in 1989. In 1987 Teddy’s moved into office space on Rowan Street in Norwalk. The three Wisniewski children, Charles, Linda and Ted Jr., formally joined the firm upon graduation, and Charles was named company president in 1990.
By 1990 Ted Sr. and Charles had already made their mark as industry leaders. Teddy’s Transportation System had been a founding member of the National Limousine Association in 1985; at the NLA’s first annual expo in 1985, Charles gave a talk on livery regulations across jurisdictions vis-a-vis municipal and state laws versus interstate commerce law. A quarter-century later, he often delivers a similar talk each spring to various PTAs and PTOs just in time for prom season.
Ted Sr. was named to the NLA board of directors in 1989, and in 1990 Charles replaced him and was elected secretary. In 1993 Charles was elected the NLA’s youngest-ever president, a record that has not yet been broken.
Ted Sr. and Charles had also founded Limousine Operators of Connecticut in 1985. In 1989 they coordinated the first state enforcement action (“sting”) of unlicensed livery owners. (In that first sting, license plates were removed from a number of vehicles, and one operator was caught driving an unlicensed vehicle with no insurance and carrying a handgun.) In the 1990 LCT Magazine cover story, Ted was recognized as one of the 25 most influential people in the industry over the prior decade.
Charles has also actively contributed to the New England Livery Association. For more than two decades he has been widely recognized as a tireless advocate for industry safety standards and oversight.
In 1995, Ted Sr. passed away leaving his wife and children to manage the company.
1995-Today: Technological Advances, Awards and New Ownership
While continuing to deliver high-quality 24/7 service to their growing base, the Wisniewski family implemented new technologies for fleet and office management to streamline operations, control costs and ensure environmental responsibility. Teddy’s was an early adopter of online reservation, computer-aided dispatch and real-time tracking systems, and GPS monitoring of vehicle efficiency. Always ahead of the curve, today Teddy’s Transportation System clients manage their global ground travel seamlessly across platforms like Concur and travel agency platforms and across devices. As well clients now track their driver on their device.
Teddy’s introduced its popular Platinum Rewards Program in the 1990s. Loyal clients are rewarded for each trip with “Miles” that can be redeemed for restaurant gift certificates, spa treatments, iPods, Wittenauer diamond watches and other premium products, as well as vehicle upgrades and free rides. Clients register for this free loyalty program online, and new clients receive bonus “Miles” the first time they ride with Teddy’s.
The company’s banner 75th anniversary year in 2007 added several awards to Teddy’s credentials. Sales growth earned Teddy’s a place on Inc. Magazine’s first list of America’s fastest growing companies (Teddy’s was also named to the 2008 and 2009 lists.) Teddy’s earned top-three ranking as a finalist in Limo Digest’s Operator of the Year competition, in the large fleet category, and was recognized as a finalist in the University of Connecticut’s Family Business of the Year competition.
Road warriors know there’s a vast difference in service levels across livery providers. As they looked to manage budgets while ensuring reliability, professionalism and safety, corporate purchasers in the Greenwich-Stamford-Norwalk corridor selected Teddy’s as a preferred provider for their executive car service to and from New York area airports, as well as to handle ground transportation for large corporate events.
In 2008 Teddy’s also made major inroads into the market for corporate car service in Westchester County, New York, when it was able to adopt a very competitive rate structure for that market. Now executives traveling from Newark, JFK and LaGuardia to White Plains have an upstream choice for premiere-caliber chauffeured services. Residents from Harrison to Bedford Hills, Tarrytown to Pound Ridge and Tuckahoe to Scarsdale can now get the “pride in every ride” that is the signature of “the Teddy’s Experience.”
Early in 2009 Shelly Wisniewski retired and turned over Teddy’s ownership to the next generation: Charles, the company’s CEO, and vice presidents Linda Bento and Ted Wisniewski. The company by now managed a fleet of 33 vehicles, 63% of which were either hybrid or flex-fuel models.
In addition to the Wisniewskis, members of Teddy’s management team also have extensive industry experience. General manager John Martinez had been in chauffeured ground transportation management for more than a decade prior to joining Teddy’s, and one of Teddy’s customer service reps was formerly an onsite coordinator for a Super Bowl.
Finding and retaining excellent chauffeurs remains a priority: 80% of Teddy’s chauffeurs have been with the company for three years or more, and an annual Chauffeur of the Year competition recognizes and rewards the best of the best.
Today, Teddy’s commitment to excellence ensures reliability, efficiency and comfort, which translates into the most productive mode of transportation available, as well as value for its clients.