New ride business to host poker run benefit

Marie Havenga • Aug 10, 2018 at 11:00 AM

A new local ride service is planning a ton of fun this weekend during its “soft opening,” including a boat poker run.

Dezzi Rides has been operating for the last couple of months out of the Holiday Inn in Spring Lake, offering $5 one-way rides to anywhere within a 5-mile radius.

Owner Frank Roberts said the ride service is much like Uber, potentially with more future options, including boat rides and pedicabs.

Like Uber, Dezzi Rides has its own app in which customers can order a ride. People who would like to provide rides, including boat captains, can also offer their services on the app.

Roberts, who also is affiliated with Dadd's Magic Bus which launched in Grand Rapids three decades ago, said potential drivers could range from Harbor Transit to rickshaws.

“But they have to have the proper insurance and have to be licensed,” he noted. “People can download the app like an Uber driver. Here in Grand Haven, there could be a fishing boat Dezzi driver. We wanted to test the market here. So far, people love it.”

Saturday's “soft opening” of the business includes a boat poker run from 12-2:30 p.m. in Spring Lake's Smith's Bayou. The cost is $10 per vessel, and all proceeds benefit Bluebird Cancer Retreats in Spring Lake. Registration can be made on Dezzi Rides’ Facebook page.

“Sweet Justice will be playing starting at 3 p.m. and we'll see who won the poker run,” Roberts said.

After 3 p.m. Saturday, Dezzi Rides will offer a shuttle bus to 22 Below in downtown Grand Haven and several other local venues. The $5 fare also goes to Bluebird Cancer Retreats.

Roberts and Ron Barstow launched Dezzi Drivers as a designated driving service.

“We also have about 50 vacation rentals in Florida and Hawaii, but most are in Grand Haven,” Roberts said.

Roberts and Barstow envisioned an app where vacation home renters could hook up with rides that bring them to popular local venues.

“They get picked up and brought down to wherever they want to go,” he said. “We also have Beacon Technology. If you're sitting at Kirby and our bus comes within 300 yards of you, it will notify you that a Dezzi bus is in your area. You can step outside and pick up a ride.”

The Dadd's bus seats 15 and features wrap-around seating and colored lights.

Roberts said at $5 per ride, the business is not a profitable venture.

“It's more of a community service,” he said.

Roberts said the hope is to expand the Dezzi Rides service.

“It's set up to scale globally,” he said. “Once we start going crazy, we'll look back to Grand Haven and say, 'Hey, here's where we started.'”

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