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North Bay Business Journal

Monday, January 28, 2013, 7:00 am

Pure Luxury adds Napa to expansion route

Adds new GM, plans South Bay hub as sales up 20%

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    Gary and Jennifer Buffo, president and chief operating officer of Pure Luxury Transportation

    Gary and Jennifer Buffo, president and chief operating officer of Pure Luxury Transportation

    NAPA — Pure Luxury Transportation is establishing a Napa Valley base of operations for up to a quarter of its 100-plus limousines, sedans, SUVs, buses and, soon, motorcoaches as part of a Bay Area expansion plan amid a double-digit increase in revenue last year.

    After operating the company for 22 years, owners Gary and Jennifer Buffo also are bringing in high-profile local hospitality to help manage current and planned growth.

    Pure Luxury (707-775-2920pureluxury.com) leased a nearly 13,000-square-foot facility on 2.5 acres at 30 Case Ct. in south Napa and plans to move in February about 30 of the vehicles there from the Petaluma headquarters and hire 40 to 50 local drivers, detailers and, eventually, dispatchers, according to Jennifer Buffo, chief operating officer. She expects the facility to be fully staffed in a year’s time.

    “We found that our clientele and corporate clients based out of Napa Valley want a local company,” she said.

    The company already chauffeurs individuals, small groups and large numbers of event-goers in Napa County.

    For example, Pure Luxury for at least the last couple of years has been moving 900 to 1,000 vintners and their guests for Napa Valley Vintners’ Premiere Napa Valley trade auction, this year set for Feb. 23, and 1,500 to 3,300 wine enthusiasts for the Auction Napa Valley charity fundraiser, set for June 1.

    “In the hospitality industry, you work with organizations that reflect your brand and level of service one would expect from NVV,” spokeswoman Cate Conniff said.

    Pure Luxury faces competition from luxury-transportation companies already based in Napa Valley, according to Michael Palmer, general manager of The Meritage Resort & Spa in south Napa. With its major expansion last year, the property has become a group-bookings powerhouse in the valley. This year, the hotel projects it will book 42,000 group room-nights, up from 32,000 booked in 2012.

    The hotel has transportation contracts with Napa Valley Wine Country Tours, which is based at 20 Case Ct., and Royal Coach Limousine Service at Napa. Some groups hire Pure Luxury for their own excursions, Mr. Palmer said.

    Having a local hub will allow a quicker response for last-minute calls for pickup at a valley venue, according to Mrs. Buffo.

    After a significant hit to business in 2009 and 2010 as Wine Country tourism slowed dramatically in the wake of the economic recession, Pure Luxury had a comeback year in 2011, ending up ahead of 2008 revenue and necessitating the purchase of 16 vehicles rather than the industry-standard four a year. The company now has three 56-passenger motorcoaches on order to satisfy growing group business.

    As the company closes its books for 2012, sales appear to be more than 20 percent above those of even 2011, according to Mrs. Buffo.

    To help guide the expansion of Pure Luxury will be Keo Hornbostel, who is set to start as general manager in February. He had been general manager of Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel & Spa in downtown Santa Rosa for the past several years. He also was chairman of the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce board until stepping down in early January as he left the hotel.

    “He has opened a lot of [hotel] properties and helped a lot of companies grow,” Mrs. Buffo said.

    Additional expansion planned for this year is a hub in the South Bay, where Pure Luxury has a number of clients.

    In Pure Luxury’s Napa lease deal, Bill Kampton and Steve Croker of Colliers International represented the company and property owner Tomhr Inc.

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    Comments

    1 Comment

    1. March 2, 2013, 12:39 pm

      by Jo Diaz

      The Buffos are an amazingly dynamic couple, who make things happen. I can only imagine their success, regardless of the competition. We’ve used their services for 20 years now. They’re extremely professional.


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