Timi’s Tours, of Moweaqua, Illinois, makes its first acquisition with the purchase of Lifestyle Tours, of New Harmony, Indiana.
Since 1983, Lifestyle Tours has offered tours to popular destinations across the country and around the world under the direction of founder Ken Meyer. He lined up with Timi’s Tours in 2018 for provide coaches to Way of lifeand a strong partnership was formed.
Timi’s Tours was founded in 2006 by Timi Hall-Kaufman, who also had a vision of providing exceptional tours. Since its inception, Timi’s Tours has become a Midwestern powerhouse in the travel and charter industries.
“The brand alignment has presented an unprecedented opportunity that will benefit our customers, suppliers and communities immeasurably,” said Hall-Kaufman. “Together, Lifestyle Tours and Timi’s Tours are poised to grow our presence in Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois and beyond.
“In the months ahead, the Evansville area can expect to see exciting new tours and the arrival of our luxury fleet of premium coaches, vans and SUVs, ready to transport groups of charter for any occasion across town or across the country.”
The companies had a relationship
Meyer was looking for an exit strategy when he approached Timi’s Tours, his bus provider since 2018.
“He was very aligned with our brand in terms of how he handles things, so we’ve been expecting that to happen for some time. Last year he let us know he was ready to retire, and we started having this conversation,” said Jack Kaufman, Hall-Kaufman’s son and vice president of the company.
Kaufman said he was pleased with the reception from the Evansville community.
“Everyone from their economic development to tourist offices has been so welcoming,” Kaufman said. “It feels like a homecoming because my grandparents are from the Evansville area. “It really is a pretty town.”
His maternal grandfather worked at the International Harvester plant in Evansville, Indiana, until 1956, when parent company Whirlpool closed the southern Indiana plant. As a result, he chose to move to Illinois to pursue a new career as a watch repairer and opened a successful shop.
Early in its history, Timi’s Tours attempted to launch its own fleet of coaches. When the Great Recession hit, the fledgling company decided to focus its efforts on its tourism business and used buses from Cavallo Bus Lines, based in Gillespie, Illinois. But Cavallo, who at his peak had about 120 coaches, closed in 2018 after 76 years.
“The whole area has been abandoned, and it’s still not recovered,” Kaufman said. “We still don’t have the volume of coaches in the Midwest that we had in 2018. It was kind of a blessing in disguise for us because it allowed us to grow our fleet aggressively. We got a new bus in 2018. We now have 15.”
Kaufman thanks Timi’s Tours General Manager Ken Summer for connecting Timi’s to Lifestyle Tours. Summer is a former Cavallo Bus Lines driver. Many former Cavallo drivers had migrated to Timi’s Tours.
“(Meyer) wasn’t very happy with the company he started using after Cavallo’s bankruptcy,” Kaufman said. “So when he heard that we had bought buses, he called us immediately, and we went to meet him. On the way home from the meeting, we called and ordered a brand new bus for him.
Expected easy transition
Kaufman expects a smooth transition as she brings Lifestyle Tours in the fold.
“The best thing is that these customers are used to our buses,” Kaufman said. “They have already been on them. They know our brand. They love our drivers.
Timi’s Tours broke the news with a 7-minute video created by Terrapine Blue which tells the story of the two companies and how they started working together five years ago. It was filmed in Moweaqua and Evansville.
In the video, Timi talks about his early career working for his family’s jewelry store and doing direct sales for the Longaberger basket company, which led to arranging tours at the company’s famous headquarters in Newark, Ohio. . When she needed extra money to cover her family’s health insurance costs, she decided to organize bus tours. On her first trip on September 6, 2006, she quickly discovered that there was a demand in her central Illinois community.
“We went to see ‘Menopause The Musical’. I sold this trip in five days. This region was really hungry for experiences like that,” she said. “And so I quickly thought that I would probably take some big trips. But then I decided I had to go on day trips to get people used to us. We jumped in with both feet and did New York very quickly, a place I had never been to, and now we’ve been there probably 50 times. We also did Hawaii at first. And, of course, we do that every year too.
Jack, who was 12 when his mother started Timi’s Tours, grew up in the business.
“I was in the industry for most of my teenage and adult life,” said Kaufman, who fondly recalls his duties, from washing buses to changing oil. by overseeing day-to-day operations. “I love the industry and I would never do anything different with my life.”
Focus on the passenger experience
Timi’s Tours goal is to provide customers with the best experience possible, whether on a charter or on a tour package.
“We bring people to fun things most of the time. We take a football team to their game, or we take children to a museum on a school field trip, or we take a group of older people to see the ocean for the first time,” Hall Kaufman said.
Meyer had the same approach when he started Lifestyle Tours in 1983 after quitting a job. He told a friend that he thought his next chapter might be to start a tourism business because he had seen a lot of coaches stopping in his town. on his way to a world’s fair in Tennessee.
“I thought I could do what these guys are doing,” Meyer said. “And that summer I chartered a coach and we started Lifestyle Tours.”
Another good decision he made was to work with Timi’s Tours.
“They’ve provided our travelers with new coaches, great amenities and the same wonderful drivers we’ve worked with in the past,” said Meyer, who added that he’s confident his passengers will receive the same quality from Timi’s. Tours than Lifestyle Tours. supplies since 1983.
Hall Kaufman says she is happy to reconnect with her southern Indiana roots.
“We are so excited to return to Evansville. And we know Ken has done an incredible job over the past 40 years. He is truly a pioneer in group travel and his story is amazing. We’re just thrilled to carry on that legacy, give it our turn, and continue to provide those customers with what they’ve come to expect.