Date of Defense
Date of Graduation
Business - Interdisciplinary
Southwest Michigan (SWMI) Trolley is owned by founder Cynthia Glass. She saw the need for a parking and transportation solution while working in downtown St. Joseph (St. Joe), Michigan over the last five years. SWMI Trolley offers a paid parking lot two miles from popular busy areas. The parking lot is located across the St. Joseph River, in Benton Harbor. The lot belongs to a school and is unused and unneeded by the organization. Customers who pay to park will be shuttled by a nostalgic trolley bus to stops along State St. or at Silver Beach.
The area attracts thousands of visitors each summer and lacks the parking to support the tourism industry St. Joe thrives on. Many of these visitors are from urban areas such as Chicago and Detroit. These visitors are accustomed to paying for parking and will be happy to pay the reasonable price of $10 to be guaranteed a spot and save time.
SWMI Trolley will also benefit the local economy and environment by encouraging people to stay longer in town to shop or eat without spending as much time circling the parking lots looking for a space or having to move their cars every two hours to avoid a parking ticket. The trolley runs on Liquid Propane Gas which burns clean and will further assist in reducing emissions.
SWMI Trolley is a lean start-up requiring only an initial investment of $40,000. There will be a $10,000 owner’s equity contribution and a $30,000 loan to purchase the trolley bus and cover some operating expenses. The cash flow and cost analysis show the business has the potential to break even by the end of the third month in operation.
Glass, Cynthia, "Business Plan for Southwest Michigan Trolley" (2019). Honors Theses. 3146.
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