Tired of schlepping your stuff from Manhattan to Montauk and back again? Call Tote Taxi.
Halfway through another summer of sweaty Fridays spent hauling her suitcase from her Manhattan apartment to the subway, to her office, and later to Penn Station and aboard the packed LIRR, Danielle Candela had an epiphany. “I was desperate for an affordable, easy way to get my bag out to the Hamptons,” says the East Quogue native. “I couldn’t find anything, so thought I’ll create it!” And so Tote Taxi (totetaxi.com) was born.
“It’s a courier service from Manhattan to Montauk for your weekend bags, golf clubs, suitcases, bikes and more,” says Candela, who launched the web-based service in May with a shiny new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van emblazoned with the navy-and-white Tote Taxi logo. “And of course, we also take bags back to the city. It lets people travel stress-free.”
Customers can schedule a pickup online and specify the destination. East End door-to-door service is currently limited to Hamptons addresses, but customers can pick up or drop off their items at The Spur in Southampton. Prices range from $39 (for a bag of 25 pounds or less) to $69 (for a bike, or up to 50 pounds).
“So far, there have been a lot of golf clubs,” she says. “And someone had us bring a beautiful pair of wrought-iron patio chairs back to the city. I think they were a yard sale find.”
A former competitive figure skater and a 2011 graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, Candela spent nearly two years refining the concept, while employed full time in marketing. Last fall, she won first prize, and $15,000, in i-hamptons’ Shark Tank-style competition for aspiring local entrepreneurs. “After that, I knew there was no turning back,” she says.
Now devoted entirely to Tote Taxi at the company’s Southampton headquarters, Candela is spreading the word to potential partners. Blade has already made Tote Taxi service an optional add-on for passengers booking helicopter flights between New York City and East Hampton.
“Right now, we just have a website, but our ambition is much larger,” says Candela, who foresees a Tote Taxi app and in-house staff. “We can open up into a lot of different sectors. I’d love to give a bunch of other people the opportunity to live out here year-round, not just in summer.”
Photography by: PHOTO BY SAMUEL ZELLER