BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - In 2017, Joy King didn’t see herself taking people for rides, the same way most people outside of Birmingham didn’t see it as having an impactful restaurant scene.
“I had a transportation company approach me about doing something with their party bus,” says King. “At that time, I had never been on a party bus... and, at that time, Birmingham was bustling as a food Mecca. And I was like, ‘We don’t have food tours, but I had a TV show that promoted these local restaurants.’”
King says she started and grew her company during the pandemic as people, mostly local, looked for entertainment spaces they could somewhat control and restaurants that King knew about but they didn’t.
But in five years of taking people to eat at restaurants around the Metro, King noticed an untapped market.
“Men don’t come on the tour unless they’re with their wife or girlfriends,” she says. “I wanted something that men could come on and I realized the whole in service of men smoking cigars, these new cigar shops. So I figure I’m great at buying buses, why not get a cigar bus? And that way men will have their own private man cave.”
So in August, King added her fourth bus, the Incognito Mobile Cigar Lounge. While she welcomes women who want to light up, her focus is on men who want to have a grown-up good time.
“We’re gonna have whiskey tastings. We’re going to serve you. It’s like first class airline, but on a bus,” says King, who does have some restrictions.
“We’re only doing cigars. So no hookah, no marijuana, no nothing only cigars. I want grown and sexy. That’s the vibe. So you have to be 30, also I have a dress code. So no draggy pants, no saggy pants. I want people to feel like, Hey, when I book this, I’m gonna have an amazing time and I can only get it here.”
And after five years and four buses on the road, King believes she’s found success. “I found out this year I was successful because my buses were running and I wasn’t even in the country,” she says. “I have an amazing team. And when they fill in for me and it goes seamless, that is success.”
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