Dennis L. Daniels Sr. is contemplating downsizing his Grove City-based business, not in the fiscal sense but rather in the physical one.

Dennis L. Daniels Sr. is contemplating downsizing his Grove City-based business, not in the fiscal sense but rather in the physical one.

The owner of Daniels Travels and Tours, a full-service charter bus company with offices off Thistlewood Drive, is hoping to switch from an emphasis on motor coaches taking large groups to casinos in neighboring states to vans and executive limousines offering shuttle service to Grove City's many hotels and motels.

The emphasis probably would be on getting guests to and from the region's airports, Daniels indicated.

"That's their need," he said of the area's hotel operators.

The way Daniels envisions things, his company could purchase and maintain the vehicles necessary to provide airport shuttle and other services to five or six or more hotels and motels, sparing the individual operations the expense of trying to do it on their own.

James F. Hale, executive director of the Grove City Area Visitors and Convention Bureau, thinks the proposal might have legs, or at least wheels, although he couldn't speak for local innkeepers in terms of what their interest might be.

"It's something that has been talked about a fair amount, that a shuttle service would be nice, especially between the airport and Grove City," Hale said.

He's seeking to arrange a meeting between Daniels and as many hotel-motel managers as possible as early as next month.

"We're going to try to move ahead with that fairly soon," Hale said. "Having a company like this in Grove City definitely is an asset for us, and we are very hopeful that we might be able to get some things worked out that the entire community make use of the services he has to offer."

Daniels became the operator of his own tour bus company almost by accident. He was among nearly 9,000 employees put out of work in 1990 by a bitter strike against Greyhound, for which he had been a driver. Daniels simply never went back to the company once the labor dispute finally ended in 1993.

Instead, Daniels turned his hand to factory work and other kinds of jobs, but never found anything that really suited him. So he went back to the work he knew best and hired on with a tour bus company, only to have it file for bankruptcy. Daniels found a job with yet another company, but was less than impressed with the way in which the vehicles were maintained.

Daniels came up with the idea of purchasing his own motor coach and then leasing it back to the firm. That way, he'd have some confidence in the bus he was driving. After getting the go-ahead from the owner, Daniels purchased the motor coach, only to have the arrangement fall through.

Left with an expensive vehicle on his hands, Daniels decided to make lemonade out of the lemons of his circumstance and founded Daniels Travels and Tours in May 2003. He initially operated out of his Hilltop home and kept his growing fleet of buses parked in Grove City. He moved the entire operation to Grove City about two years ago.

While Daniels and his contract drivers are willing to take just about any kind of group to just about any destination, most of his business focused on casino tours.

"Basically, that's about 80 percent of our work," he said.

But even this end of the travel operation has been slow of late; Daniels had eight motor coaches in service last summer, but really only needed about four. It would be "nuts," Daniels said, to seek to expand the expensive-to-operate motor coach aspect of the travel business, but vans and executive limos might make a good deal of sense.

Daniels Travels and Tours currently has three full-time employees and six contractor drivers.

kparks@thisweeknews.com