Local Entrepreneurs Rise to the Occasion and Share the Ride

As written for iluvlocalplaces.com 10/2016

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you have no doubt heard of rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft.  What you may not know is that Cape Girardeau is poised to get its very own version by the name of carGO.  The ride share service is designed to work in micropolitan, or hometown markets, where people are more likely to know each other.  Up until now, this is a market untapped by larger rideshare companies as they tend to focus on larger cities.

I recently sat down with carGO business managers, Gunnar Knudtson and  Kyle Campbell, to get the scoop on their exciting new venture.   James Stapleton of Codefi and Jeffrey Maurer of Mayson Capital Partners of Cape Girardeau spearheaded the micropolitan rideshare concept.  The service is designed to be an on-demand ride service similar to those in the larger markets.  A major defining feature of carGO is the ability to request a ride from your smartphone – connecting you with background checked and safety trained drivers.  A further defining feature specific to carGO is the ability to “favorite” and request particular drivers or be matched with nearby drivers.

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L to R, Maurer, Stapleton, Campbell, Knudtson

When I asked Gunnar and Kyle why this particular business, they said an opportunity like this right out of college was not something they could walk away from.  Both Gunnar and Kyle were studying business at the University of Mississippi, and both had no plans to come back to Cape.  But as we all know, life is funny that way.  Gunner explained the pair received a call one day indicating Stapleton and Maurer wanted to meet and discuss the business idea over dinner.  Gunner recalls with a laugh, “that meeting lasted over four hours.”  He said they felt like they were on “cloud nine” afterward, recognizing that they had an incredible opportunity in front of them.  Although the pair has a background in business management and interest in starting a business, neither has experience launching a tech-infused start-up.

Gunnar and Kyle immediately took up residence in the Codefi co-working space in the Federal Building and started the grind.  Although the business idea was already in place, the pair would have to create processes and finalize details.  This meant partnership agreements, working with the app development, logistics, and a host of legalities and marketing issues related to locating drivers and riders.  Then there is the fact that the service has never been tried in the Cape area.  No pressure guys.  Gunnar and Kyle both express sincere gratitude to the folks at Codefi (https://www.codefiworks.com/) and for the way the up and coming Tech District have nurtured the process.

When asked what success looks like for the new venture Kyle said, “getting that first ride requested and completed.” As the pair laugh, Gunnar chimes in saying that he is hopeful for “future expansion into multiple markets” as the long-term indicator of success.  Both gentlemen agree that the experience is going to be a great learning experience.

 

Notables

The carGO app and website are currently under development.  Potential drivers and riders can visit the site http://www.gocargo.io/ to sign up for more information.

carGO headquarters will be located in the Marquette Tower Tech District.

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Roses are Red…

12 Ways to Enjoy (or SURVIVE!) Valentine’s Day

Normally when someone talks about Valentine’s Day I’m the first to retort with a “bah humbug” and a dissertation on the evils of commercialized holidays. You see, I believe that love (and chocolate) should be celebrated everyday! That being said I’d like to offer the following ways to make the day special no matter your relationship status or your political slant towards cupid.

1. Gifts: There is always the traditional notion of flowers and candy. These can be affordable even if you are on a budget and what girl doesn’t love both?! but for a really unique gift idea why not peruse the local antique stores? There are several downtown and you are sure to find something to surprise and delight that special guy or girl. Whatever your taste or budget be sure to shop local!

2. Be My Valentine: Don’t forget the card. Remember those old school Valentines you use to make and send as a kid? An old fashioned Valentine (with a spritz of perfume or cologne) is sure to be swoon-worthy, especially if it shows up in the mail. Imagine the surprise of a handwritten note among the junk mail and bills.

3. Must Love Dogs: Sometimes you just need to hug a puppy. The Humane Society is always looking for volunteers, why not spend the day helping ease the hearts of some unwanted animals? You might even find a new love there! On a related note, if you already have a dog there is a great new dog park open in Kiwanis Park. You could treat Sparky to a run and meet other dog lovers in the area.

4. Tunes for the Troops: Maybe you have a loved one that is currently deployed. Why not pop a USB or CD full of music in that care package. And ok, I’m going to show my age, we need to bring back the mixtape! You know what I’m talking about and you know you loved them! Your special mix of 80’s hair band ballads and Marvin Gaye is sure to get their toes tapping. No compilation is complete without some Miles Davis. Check out “It Never Entered My Mind”, a very romantic song indeed http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsb-lXec76w

5. Luck Be A Lady: The Isle of Capri has dinner specials, slots by the dozens and live music. If it’s warm enough check out the patio upstairs at Keller’s, it is beautiful and quite relaxing.

6. Lunch at First Bite: Maybe one or both of you are working the evening of Valentine’s Day. Why not meet for a lunch date? Broussard’s has a great menu and you could enjoy a walk down by the river after lunch. Don’t forget that Katy O’ Ferrells  is now open for lunch.  You could warm your heart with an Irish coffee and a shepherd’s pie.  either way you get a great lunch and then you get to think about each other the rest of the day – how’s that for romantic?

7. Play and Be Crafty: Moms, we are lucky to have several arts and crafts places in our area. One such places is Cateye Glasses Studio. They offer art classes for kids and adults. Or if you don’t think paint and your kiddo mix you could make an afternoon of fun out of the Discovery Playhouse. They have all kinds of kid-friendly exhibits.

8. Dinner and a Movie: If you are more the traditional type, Bella Italia and Rays of Kelso are sure to please. Both are a lovely choice for a romantic dinner before heading out to cuddle up during a movie.

9. Happy Hour: Cathy at the Library Bar puts on an amazing happy hour on Fridays. Relax in the upscale ambiance while enjoying a bite to eat, good music and of course great company. The Library is a very popular destination for all age groups over 21! And if you haven’t checked out her new edition, The Study, you are in for a real treat.

10. Quality Time: This is a great day to spend time with a family member. You could Netflix a night in and watch old movies or go out for something fun like pedicures or a day at the spa. Don’t forget My Daddy Cheesecake for a sweet treat.

11. Shake Your Groove Thing: Rude Dog, Rhymer’s, the VFW and Whiskey River always have something fun lined up for the weekend. Grab your boogie shoes and check out the calendar at iluvlocaplaces.com for events and times: http://iluvlocalplaces.net/Joomla-illp/

12. All you Jacksonites – I didn’t forget you! For a fantastic lunch or breakfast check out the Hickory House.  Their food is simply amazing.  I’m talking made from scratch home style meals and a dessert case that will capture your heart. Also – check out the new BG’s Jackson location.

Well there you have it. With so many fun things to do in our area it is hard to narrow it down. No matter how you spend the day or who you choose to spend it with, always believe in the magic of love. (And chocolate.)

As written for iluvlocalplaces.com