Born and raised in Seminole County, Andrew Singh, Co-Owner of Lake Mary Shuttle, was influenced at a young age by his entrepreneurial father. Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Singh’s father moved to New York City in search of new opportunities and the American Dream. As Singh shared, his story was that of a hard-working and laser-focused immigrant looking to build something special.
“He arrived with very little money, but was determined to make it,” Singh said. “He ended up getting into a lot of things. He was constantly hustling. When he moved to Winter Springs in 1978, he bought a grocery store in Sanford. At the time, he was the only local grocery store in the area. Eventually he added a pool table and it became a gathering spot for the farmers. I have a lot of great memories of hanging out there and watching my dad run the business.”
Singh continued, “My father also had a lawn business and a newspaper route. My brother and I helped him deliver papers when we were young. The mentality of being your own boss and doing things for yourself definitely rubbed off on me.”
By 1997, Singh’s father identified an opportunity to start a business transporting people to and from the Orlando International Airport. He launched Lake Mary Shuttle and built the business to five employees and eight vehicles before 9/11 hit.
“When that happened, everything grinded to a halt,” Singh said. “He had to lay everyone off. Things didn’t pick back up until 2003 or 2004. At the time, I was still working as an electrician, but also helped a little with the business. By 2008, I got my Journeyman License, but then got laid off when the recession hit. I also just had my first kid and bought a house. It was a challenging time. That’s when I told my father we should join forces and expand the business.”
In 2008, Singh and his father did just that. They bought additional buses and shuttle vans and quickly expanded the business. They branched out from airport trips to include weddings, corporate retreats and transportation for large groups. In February 2009, they formed a key partnership with the City of Sanford that represented a significant milestone in the growth and success of the business.
“Sanford was considering a shuttle service between the Amtrak station and downtown Sanford,” Singh said. “When I heard about this, I met with Bob Tunis, who was the Economic Development Director for Sanford at the time. We had a good conversation and he agreed to use our company. We started with a mini-van and within two weeks, we upgraded to a bigger passenger van. By all accounts, it was a hit. We’ve maintain that service ever since. In October 2017, we also added a trolley between the Sanford SunRail station and downtown Sanford.”
For Singh, who enjoys meeting new customers, building relationships and working to improve access to and from Sanford, despite the current pandemic, the future looks bright. He’s focused on expansion and working towards a personal goal of being debt free. He also wants Lake Mary Shuttle to be a lasting legacy and a source of income for his sons and their kids.
What advice does Singh have for aspiring entrepreneurs? “If you have a great idea, you have to move forward with it,” he said. “You’ll be scared but you got to push ahead. You won’t accomplish anything if you don’t get your feet wet. Once you commit to starting, you’ll face challenges every day, but when something good happens and your business is moving in the right direction, that outweighs all the bad stuff. Keep hustling and stay motivated. Don’t get down. Stay focused and think positive. Just remember, God has plans for you.”