In the decade since they’ve been living in Marshalltown, Erica Madison and her husband, Patrick Charles, have floated all kinds of ideas about launching their own business—considering everything from a skating rink to a lawn care service to a clothing store to Chicago style. Restaurant – but for the longest time, nothing stuck.
Madison recalls conversations with local realtor Kelly Thurston, who she’d bounce suggestions from, a few months before they finally had their eureka moment.
“I just ran downstairs. I was like ‘I know what we can do!’ We already know how to drive, let’s just do a cab service,” Madison said.
Noticing a shortage of taxis and delivery services in the area, especially after 6 p.m., Charles and Madison saw a golden opportunity to fill the void.
was her idea. “I give her most of the credit,” Charles said of his wife. “She did most of the work… It worked in the long run.”
Madison, who still works full time at the Iowa Central Juvenile Detention Center in Eldora, has practically come to terms with it: She used to deliver to DoorDash and often saw people walking around town struggling to find rides. After doing a community survey, I decided there was enough support for a new service, and an E&P company was born.
I was like, “You know what?” I can only do this myself. What are we good at? She said “leadership”.
Since launching on Monday, E&P has been working with three drivers from 6am to 3am per day but by appointment only on Mondays and Tuesdays as both Charles and Madison remain full time while the company finds its grounding. Things seem to be off to a good start, as they’ve already struck up a relationship with several regulars and frequent riders.
Their primary service area is Marshall and Tama counties, but they’re willing to drive customers more—to Des Moines, for example—as long as they’re willing to pay the fare. In addition to cold hard cash, E&P will also accept credit/debit cards and Zelle, a mobile payment app.
“We’re trying to move with the times. We understand that not everyone is carrying cash,” said Charles.
E&P is not just a taxi service as it will also pick up food, medicine, groceries and other goods as part of the delivery side of things. In the long term, Charles and Madison see E&P as a stepping stone toward a larger group of companies, and would like to launch their own app and expand into other states. Getting started has come with its share of challenges—Madison, for one, was surprised by the cost of insuring her taxis—but they do their best to start small and set realistic goals for the near future.
Once they have their dealer license, the couple hopes E&P will offer specialized services like limousines for kids going to prom and party buses, and while they explore other opportunities, they want to offer more activities for residents of all ages.
“We’ve got a lot of ideas that we want to build on from that first work. We’ve got a lot of things we’re still thinking about. This is just the starting point. We’re trying to make sure Marshalltown has a little bit of everything.”
As Marshalltown positions itself for growth and renewal, having a late-night cab service is critical to accommodating live entertainment and outings, whether they are within the community or at nearby places like Meskwaki Casino. It is also a lifeline for people who need essential goods and services but may not have access to them otherwise.
“Services like what this company will provide are critical to the continued growth of our community. The support they can provide in directing people to critical appointments, backup when a car breaks down and you need to go to work, or a young employee looking to make the responsible decision on a weekend night To get home safely, these services are essential as part of our quality of life,” said Marshalltown/Area Chamber of Commerce President John Hall.
E&P can be reached at (641) 387-0196, and the company’s website is https://eandpcabsanddeliveryservicellc.godaddysites.com. Their email address is [email protected].
Contact Robert Mahary
at 641-753-6611 ext. 255 or