WELLSVILLE-Whether you are looking for a little added elegance on that special day, dignity for the "final mile" or just plain old fun, Carriage Limousine Service LLC in Wellsville can help make any occasion a bit more special and memorable.
Owned and operated by Rick Steed, with help from his son, Chris, Carriage Limousine Service has been adding class and a stately flair to a truly diverse range of events with a wide array of carriages and services for 15 years.
Father and son have provided service to nearly every occasion imaginable from festivals and weddings to funerals and holiday celebrations "We don't turn down much," said Chris Steed.
Rick Steed, owner and operator of Carriage Limousine, sits aboard the businesses’ latest model — a funeral coach — as it makes a stop at Riverview Cemetery in East Liverpool. (Photo courtesy of Sierra Estell)
Not only are the Steeds flexible about what events they will provide their service to, but they are also willing to travel. Carriage Limousine Service has provided their service anywhere locally to Pittsburgh, into West Virginia, and as far west as Toledo.
Carriage Limousine offers a Victorian carriage, a sleigh, a caisson hearse, a Cinderella-style carriage, a funeral coach, and a limousine carriage, so customers can choose the carriage that best fits their event.
Rick pilots most of the carriages himself and has about 30 years of experience with horses.
The funeral coach is the newest addition to their fleet. It took father and son several months to build, but both say the end result made it worth the work.
The funeral coach features glass sides, intricate scroll work, and even a device to hold an urn inside. Rick says his mission with the new funeral coach is to make a family's most difficult day a little easier. "It means a lot if I can make it just a bit more pleasant," said Rick
Catering to their clients is such an important part of what they do that they can even tailor the attire of horse and driver to match the occasion. Father and son have experience decorating horse, carriage, and driver for events ranging from somber occasions like funerals to jubilant celebrations such Hindu wedding ceremonies in which horse and driver are clad in colorful pastels and ornate ceremonial garb.
As a family-owned and -operated business, Carriage Limousine operates with a personal touch and hands-on attitude uncommon in today's business world. In fact, all of the businesses five carriages are hand-fabricated by father and son in their shop, located outside of Wellsville.
Rick Steed has been fabricating and building things for most of his life, both professionally and for fun. He currently works for Majestic Manufacturing Inc. and has built model airplane as a hobby for many years.
In 1998, Rick made his first carriage over the course of several months through a process he described as "trial and error." Since then he has continued to refine and improve with each new carriage he builds, fine-tuning the design of each new version to improve upon the last. "We're always improving," he says.
His current fleet represents 15 years of carriage-making experience distilled into several optimal designs. Still, for Rick and Chris, part of the fun of fabricating is in trying new thing. The duo says they are working on some new designs and continuously tweaking old ones.
"Every couple of years we have to reinvent ourselves," said Rick
Of course, when it comes to horse-drawn carriages, the carriage is only part the equation. Part of what makes Carriage Limousine exceptional is their well-trained and majestic Percheron draft horses. Pearl, George, Jessica and King make up Carriage Limousine's team of veteran steeds. At an average of 17.1 hands high and 1,700-pounds, the stunning white Percherons strike an impressive figure. Despite their size, the draft horses are gentle, calm and well adjusted to traffic, loud noises and big crowds, the owners say.
"These have been the best four horses we've had," said Chris, noting that all of their current horses have been purchased from the same family.
As for the future of Carriage Limousine, father and son say they would like to turn their part-time business into a full-time venture. At age 65, Rick is starting to consider retirement and says he can think of nothing he would rather do more than to take his business full time.
"It's fun," said Rick. "It's hard to find a job that you really like."
For more information, visit www.carriage-limousine.com/index.html or call 330-532-3866.