Some of you already may know the story of how Linda and Bill Cleveland purchased Antietam Travel Service in 1989. As we and our staff prepare to celebrate the 25th anniversary of that purchase on April 3, 2014, we thought it was fitting that we tell the story to all of our valued clients.
The Love Boat was a television series that aired from September 1977 through May 1986. Linda and Bill enjoyed watching the show, and Bill would ask Linda occasionally, “Wouldn’t you like to go on a cruise?” She always said no, “I would be bored.” Linda worked as the comptroller at Shockley Volkswagen, Audi, and Honda at the time, and she had only two weeks of vacation each year, while Bill had five weeks. She always dreamed of traveling, as well as owning her own business. One Saturday night in late 1985 while watching The Love Boat, Bill once again said, “Hey, let’s try a cruise,” and Linda relented and said yes. In January 1986 she called the 800 number for American Hawaii Cruises and booked our very first cruise to celebrate her 40th birthday aboard the S.S. Liberte, which was sailing an itinerary in French Polynesia in November 1986. We visited Tahiti, Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea, Taha’a, and Bora Bora, which is still Bill’s favorite place on earth.
We were booked in an inside cabin with upper and lower berths, and Linda turned the booking over to a local travel agency. Even then, we recognized the value of a travel agent. Although we never received a cabin upgrade on that cruise, we both enjoyed that first cruise so much – Linda was not bored – that we sailed twice more before 1989. We were hooked! Linda decided to pursue her dream and called Pat Fogle, owner of Antietam Travel Service, which had been established in 1984, to talk about the travel agency business. Linda asked Pat during their conversation, “Would you be interested in selling your agency?” To her surprise, Pat replied, “Why yes, I would.” And the rest is history!
Linda and Bill purchased Antietam Travel Service, incorporated the business, and settled the sale on April 3, 1989. Pat O’Beirne and Julie Shanholtz have been with us since the beginning, and they helped to train Linda. Linda is especially proud that they are still here at ATS. Alex Bohn joined us in 1994, Debbie Riffle in 1997, Nancy Roberson in 1998, and JoAnn Lindgren in 2001. We have become a multi-million-dollar travel agency and are proud of the business we have built along with our dedicated staff – our “family.” Since they purchased ATS, Linda and Bill have cruised more than 50 times.
As we celebrate on April 3, we especially want to say, “Thank you for your business!” to all our clients. And, of course, “Thank you, Captain Stubing!”
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Next time: Amboseli National Park.