CAMDEN — You have heard him, you have seen him and you have read him — now you can ride with Chris “Wolffie” Wolf in a new taxi service that just hit the Midcoast’s highways and byways.

Operating out of Camden, Wolfie’s Wheels Taxi seems a growing hit already, according to the Wolf behind the wheel.

“We are very pleased with the way things are going right now,” said Wolf, who, along with business partner Joe Harris, started things up in September after the Town of Camden issued him a cabbie license. He does the driving, Harris runs the office.

“It is coming along at a steady pace and it gets a little busier every week; we are happy with the way things are unfolding,” said Wolf, 65.

“It’s going very well,” agreed Harris, 43, who spent 22 years in the cellular phone business in Philadelphia, Pa. before moving to Camden three years ago.

Looking to the future, he said, “We hope to be part of the Camden community for a long time.”

Things in the taxi business are going well for a number of reasons, according to Wolf. “People can afford them. Uber and Lyft are pretty much nonexistent. With summertime, the last few weeks we were very, very busy. As soon as the tourists left business fell right off.”

And while neither Harris nor Wolf has experience running a taxi service or driving a car for hire, together they bring years of expertise from other business ventures, according to Wolf.

 

Chris Wolf flashes the signal for his new cab service, Wolfie’s Wheels Taxi. Photo by Jack M. Foley

 

Retired from 35 years as a sushi chef, mostly in California, Wolf is a well-known Midcoast TV and radio host, news director and journalist who likes to stay busy. His broadcast shows are in rerun due to COVID and he limits sushi making to a dozen or so containers three days a week for Graffam Bros. Seafood Market in Rockport.

When the taxi business spoke to the pair loud and clear a few months ago, they put their efforts into gear.

“We got the idea last June when we called for a cab and they said it was going to be an over two-hour wait,” Wolf recalled. “We got the idea that maybe this was something we would like to try.”

Camden has been in need of a good taxi service at least as long as he has been in town, Harris said.

To get things going, they bought a car, of course — it is the firm’s only taxi at the moment. It is a 2012 Hyundai Elantra with 100,000 miles on the odometer. They emblazoned the doors with the startup’s eye-catching branding, year of establishment (2022) and phone number, 207-542-6010.

“It’s in excellent shape,” Wolf said of the 10-year-old sedan. “It’s very clean with an all leather interior, all the bells and whistles, a very comfortable car.”

When spring rolls around, they plan to invest in two new vehicles, he said.

They will need it if business keeps picking up, but also because they just hired a second driver, Mark Bradstreet, a Lincolnville lobsterman who will join part-time, according to Wolf.

The company is based in Camden, whose residents’ needs are the firm’s priority. It is also where they are licensed, which means they cannot pick up clients in other towns, Wolf said.

But they can take folks just about anywhere and that is what has been happening — rides to various airports, including as far away as Bangor and Portland, according to Wolf, and lots of tourist trade when they started.

Operating hours are basically from early morning — 5 a.m. is OK — to nine at night.  And they will be available for emergencies, too, Wolf added.

And just how fast can Wolfie’s Wheels Taxi respond to a customer call? “Immediately,” said Harris without missing a beat.

With a Facebook page set up and plans in the works for a website and distribution of marketing materials to hotels and the like, Wolf sees a open road ahead based on interest so far, demand, and the firm’s desire and ability to respond quickly to customers’ needs.

As for embarking on a new line of work at age 65, Wolf explained, “I like to stay busy, I like doing different things. I’ll probably work up till the day I die; not being busy would absolutely drive me crazy.”

He believes the taxi company is a great idea with a solid future. “There was a niche there and we got to fill it; I look forward to it with enthusiasm, I am happy to be doing it.”

Indeed, it seems his only worry is about getting too busy. “My biggest fear is someone will call us and it will be a two-hour wait,” he quipped. “The same reason I got into this.”

 

Chris “Wolffie” Wolf Photo by Jack M. Foley