Business feature: Dawg Houze starts taxi service

Clinton Smith considers himself a regular on weekends at the Dawg Houze bar in Portales.

Christina Calloway: Portales News-Tribune

Dawg Houze owner Chad Heflin has started a taxi service for bar patrons. It operates Thursday night through Saturday night.

Smith, a 24-year-old airman stationed at Cannon Air Force Base, usually walks 15 minutes to and from the bar as his means of responsible travel.

But now Smith is happy that his walking days are behind him. For these past two weekends, Smith has used the Dawg Houze's new taxi service.

"We don't really have a taxi service here so getting to and from places is a lot more difficult when you're drinking," Smith said. "It makes it a lot more convenient when (the Dawg Houze) can pick you up and drop you off."

Dawg Houze owner Chad Heflin wanted to provide this service for patrons to curb drinking and driving.

"I'm doing this strictly as a service for Portales and Cannon Air Force Base," Heflin said. "I set the prices the way they are and that's just so I can pay for gas and the driver."

Taxi ride service is offered Thursday through Saturday evenings.

Prices set by Heflin are $8 per stop in town and $23 to the south gate of Cannon. He says the Dawg Houze is only insured to drive within a 15-mile radius of the bar.

Heflin feels charging a flat rate is convenient and less-expensive for a group of people since they will split that price.

Pick-up service begins at 8 p.m. and stops at midnight. The last ride from the Dawg Houze will leave at 2:30 a.m.

To arrange a pick-up, people must call the package store and provide a desired pick-up time, the number of people in their party, and an address and then the clerk will process the request.

For those who decide to leave their vehicle and use the taxi service, Heflin says the bar will not tow cars from their parking lot the following day.

Heflin said his two drivers have good driving records and have passed a background check.

Thirty patrons used the service the first weekend.

Smith was one of them, and he said the service was fast and the taxi was clean.

"I'm all for having a smart plan and having rides accessible to people," Smith said. "Anything that goes against drunken driving, I'm all for."

Lt. Mark Cage with the Portales Police Department commends Heflin for providing this service because Cage emphasizes that adults should make the right choices when drinking.

"That's our goal. We want to keep people safe and Heflin is being proactive," Cage said.

Heflin is looking forward to purchasing another taxi by fall if his service proves to be a need for area and Cannon residents.

"This is new to the community. No bar has ever done this around here," Heflin said. "I'm learning as I go. The ultimate goal is it's going to be well worth it for this community to have this service."

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