COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
For the last 13 years, cabs from Taxi Terry's have been a common sight in Columbia.
But on Thursday the company locked the doors for the last time.
Owner Terry Nickerson Sr. said at the height of business he had 24 vehicles in his fleet and 20 drivers behind the wheel. On his final day, he had four drivers remaining.
Some people were meant to be behind the wheel.
"I don't consider this working," Nickerson said. "All I do is drive around and listen to the radio and talk to people. That is not work for me -- it is two of my favorite things, drive around and talk to people."
For years Terry has been known to be the one people call when in need -- the ride to and from the hospital, doctor appointments and even the grocery store.
"We have a wheelchair-accessible van, we haul lots of people in wheelchairs back and forth to appointments. But yeah I think it will be missed but I am praying and hoping someone will pick up the tone and keep on keeping on," Nickerson said.
After a 25-year career behind the wheel of taxi cabs and the last 13 years as the owner of Taxi Terry's, Nickerson has closed the doors to one chapter of his life.
"I put my all into it, I didn't cheat. I put my all into it, and I am really proud of the record that Taxi Terry created here in Columbia," Nickerson said.
Between difficulty finding a quality workforce and the expenses of owning a small business, between fleet maintenance, insurance and managerial duties, the company endured. In addition to having the added fuel cost in recent weeks, Terry says the decision to close the doors has been one that will lead him to spend more time with his family.
But first ...
"I gotta get the office closed, I gotta get the cars unwrapped and sold. I got a few vacations planned, I am actually going on a mission trip the July. I ain't never been out of the country, so I am looking forward to that," said Nickerson.
After all those years, what is he going to miss the most?
"The people, the people, definitely the people. I have made some friendships, some relationships with people that are going to last a lifetime," Nickerson said.
Terry notified his employees a month ago of his decision and gave them a 30-day notice and a severance package, making Thursday the day that everyone had to move on.
Thursday has a special meaning to Terry. He opened the doors to Taxi Terry's on April 21, 2009 and 13 years later he is closing them.
Terry has numerous stories to tell about customers. He once picked up a customer and took him to Taco Bell, where the customer ordered one of everything from the menu. When Terry dropped him off and returned to the office, he discovered the customer left all the food in the taxi. The office ate Taco Bell for two days.