owner, manager and day-time dispatcher Yaser Ali pays forward charity and opportunity to earn a living.
"It makes sense to help the community, that supports your business, to be strong. You get what you give."
The East Cobb-based Apple Taxi is hiring drivers and Ali has plans to relocate and expand the business to include Apple Auto Repair in 2012.
There are 29 full-time drivers who are fully licensed with Cobb County. Ali said that his drivers have legal permits to carry guns and that Apple hasn't had any criminal problems.
As for charity, Ali donates money to the NorthStar Church in Kennesaw and covers fares for indigent clients on occasion.
The 34 year-old Ali is a Kennesaw resident who moved from New York city to be near his sister. Ali's family moved to New York from Pakistan when he was 4 years-old.
"Cobb County is a good place to raise your kids. I really like doing business here. It's way better than New York."
Before starting his own business, Ali drove a Cadillac Escalade for Zach Brown Band songwriter Wyatt Durrette, a country music star.
Ali was working as driver for a Cobb taxi company and Durrette was bartender at the Dixie Tavern on Windy Hill Road when the two first met. Ali was the taxi driver of choice for Durrette and others at the music club where Zac Brown performed.
Q. What's the best thing about your job?
A. Helping the community. We try to make sure people don't drink and drive.
New Year's Eve we'll give free cab rides home in the Smyrna area for people who have had too much alcohol to drive legally.
Also, we do a lot of business with Atkins Park in Smyrna and are offering to take a person and their car home in Cobb for a tip and donation on New Year's Eve.
It feels good to be able to hire more employees. For some people it's hard to find a job, right now, and we're making it so that people can do work.
Q. What is the best thing about East Cobb?
A. The business is good. People are really nice. The drivers feel secure here.
Q. Why did you choose to open your business in East Cobb?
A. All the above reasons and there are less taxi companies here than other areas.
Q. Why did you pick this kind of business?
A. I started driving cab in New York right out of high school. I went to LaGuardia Community College part-time at night until I got an associate degree. I've been driving for 14 years.
Q. What are some of the services you offer that people don't know about?
A. We have a good airport discount. From East Cobb to the airport is $55. Our services are about 30-40 per-cent cheaper than others.
The taxi license allows us to pick up riders in Cobb and drop off anywhere in Georgia. The permit does not allow us to pick up anyone outside of Cobb County.
Q. How long have you been in business?
A. Apple Taxi started in 2008.
Q. How did your business get started?
A. I wanted to do something on my own. I wanted to provide something for the community.
I was driving for Wyatt Durrette and he lent me money to start Apple Taxi. I really did enjoy driving for him. I worked for nice people, it was fun, it was good money. But they wanted me to travel with them and I wanted to stay home.
The business needs me and I have a family, my wife and three children. They're young, 7, 5 and 3 years-old, my kids are fun.
Q. Do you have advice for anyone who'd like to start a small business in this area?
A. If you want to be successful you have to spend money on advertising. You have to spend money to make money.
You can have a wonderful business but it's all about the marketing. People have to know about you.
1695 Lower Roswell Road