CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - As the owners of a new and smaller car rental company in Charlottetown, Tolga and Ozlem Toprak believe they can offer a more personalized service than their larger competitors.
“We really talk with the clients. We don’t only give them a car. We are being like ambassadors of P.E.I.,” said Tolga. “We’ve become a part of your holiday.”
About a month ago, the couple opened P.E.I. Car Rental in the Delta Prince Edward by Marriott on Queen Street. The company has a fleet of 13 vehicles comprised of Ford and Toyota brands.
For the couple, who moved to Charlottetown from Turkey in December, building a car rental (and tourism) business from the ground up is nothing new.
In fact, they still own Akustik Tourism Centre headquartered in Bodrum, Turkey – a business they started 21 years ago. The business, which involves car rentals, bus tours and a large wooden yacht for tourists, has expanded to 11 offices across the country.
“If we can be successful, P.E.I. is going to have a local, well-known and good-service company,” said Tolga. “This is easily possible with our background because we already created a brand in Turkey.”
“If we can be successful, P.E.I. is going to have a local, well-known and good-service company. This is easily possible with our background because we already created a brand in Turkey.”
Ozlem says that another advantage of being a smaller company is that they can be flexible with clients, especially in some cases when someone is running late to return a vehicle.
Leading up to the opening, Tolga did a lot of door-knocking and meeting with organizations, such as Tourism P.E.I. and Northumberland Ferries Limited, to get the word out about the business. The Delta is also helping out by letting guests know about the service as well as displaying the company’s brochures in the lobby and in the rooms.
Ozlem notes that business has picked up to the point where they recently had to turn away potential clients because all of the vehicles were rented out. In the next five years, they’re looking to expand to the Charlottetown airport (or nearby), Summerside and Montague, as well as in Moncton and Halifax.
Before moving to the Island, they learned of a need for a car rental business first-hand when they were invited to come to Charlottetown in August for an immigration meeting. Once here, they were unable to find a car for rent.
“So, I think it’s a promising business, which is good. We believe in this business on the Island,” Ozlem said.
Since moving to Charlottetown, they’ve become a part of the community. They bought a house, and their children are in school. Also, the company is a member of the Greater Charlottetown Area of Commerce, and Tolga is a member of the Rotary Club of Charlottetown Royalty.
They’re happy with their decision to move to the Island and the quality of life. They’ve also already experienced their first winter, with positive reviews.
“When it snows, it’s magical,” Ozlem said. “We love it. We still can’t say anything we don’t like about the Island.”
More information on the business can be found at peicarrental.ca.