There’s something about being on a trolley that can take passengers back to another era when the pace was a little slower — a time before cell phones and emails. It’s the rattle and hum, the feel of the wood seats, and the open air.
George Davis and Deb Skinner, owners of Ollie the Trolley in Omaha, have a true love for each other and their business. Davis and Skinner met at the Ozone during a Smooth Jazz Enthusiasts event. According to Davis, they met at the Autumn of their life. Skinner said, “God put us together. And now we get to work together at a business we love. When you first set foot on that trolley something magical happens. We sell fun, memories and traditions.”
Eight years ago, Davis and Skinner were looking for a transportation business to purchase together. Davis has a transportation background that included a Presidential appointee in the George H. Bush Administration at the Federal Department of Transportation. He also spent time with the Union Pacific Railroad learning railroading and trucking. Skinner has a marketing and tourism background. She previously worked as a Tourism Marketing Consultant for the State of Wisconsin and worked at the Omaha Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Ollie the Trolley is known for weddings and special event private tours. The business books about 350 weddings a year. Many families come back year after year for the tours and request drivers or certain trolleys. All the trolleys are a little different with a unique name for each — Ollie, Polly, LuLu, Guacamollie, Pumpkin, Porkchop, Buttercup, and Trolley Brown.
Aside from the private tours, the business also accommodates public tours where customers can purchase a ticket to join a group for holiday lights tours, haunted cemetery tours, or a new Wild West themed tour to highlight some of the Wild West history in Omaha. There are also food related tours such as the Bloody Mary Tours, Taco Tequila Tuesdays, and the Beer, Bourbon & Barbeque tour.
On the Taco Tequila Tuesdays, the tour starts off at the GI Forum for margaritas and famous tacos. Then, the tour heads to Howard’s for more tacos and margaritas and finishes off at Lula B’s. The tacos at Lula B’s are made with family recipes of Chef/Owner Joe Becerra. They are made with pork, chicken, or beef, topped with fresh cilantro and raw onion and served on corn tortillas, which are made in house by the Chef’s wife, Maria. The margaritas at Lula B’s are served on taps along with several other homemade, batched cocktails.
The Bloody Mary tour begins at the Report In Pub, winner of Best of Omaha’s Best Bloody Mary in Omaha. This famous drink has a fried pickle, two chicken wings, onion rings, and a quarter-pound cheeseburger, in addition to the normal Bloody Mary garnishes. At the Report In Pub, guests also feast on a hearty buffet with eggs, hash browns, sausage, biscuits and gravy, and waffles. Then, the group travels to Lula B’s for a second Bloody Mary, and the final stop of the Bloody Mary tour is the Green Onion Lounge.
The Beer, Barbeque & Bourbon tour will be making stops at Nebraska Brewing for Beer & BBQ. Then, the tour heads to Beyond Golf, where passengers have the option to sample craft beers. The group finishes at Soldier Valley Spirits at Patriarch Distillers for a flight of All American Vodka, Whiskey and Bourbon.
Davis said what he loves most about his job is that they are “creating fun memories that will last a lifetime.” Skinner added, “Life is so short. It can get really serious. If you can just pull yourself out of that seriousness and have a good time, then that is our goal.”