Emily Buckley, editor in chief
About four months ago, Smithfield couple Jen and Chris Lewis took a trip to New Orleans and saw something that caught their eye: party buses rolling down the street with lights flashing and music playing.
“It was kind of a joke at first,” Jen said. “… to buy a bus and bring it to Cache Valley. But now, four months later, here we are with a bus.”
By day, Chris is a web developer for ICON, and Jen is a stay-at-home mom and freelance graphic designer. The more the couple talked about the idea, that started as a joke, the more it sounded like a good one.
“So, we did a little more research, bought a yellow school bus and one-way tickets to Arizona for our family, flew south and made the 15-hour drive back to Logan. Now, I moonlight as a bus mechanic,” Chris laughed.
“It has been a bigger and more time-consuming project than we expected,” Jen added. “It has definitely required some sacrifices for our family. But it has also been really fun, and we hope our kids are learning lessons about running with your dreams, even when they take hard work.”
The Lewises, who are both getting their licenses to drive the bus, can see it being used for everything from children’s birthday parties, family reunions, and high school dances to business lunches, mom’s nights out, and bachelor parties. “Every time we tell someone about the project they have a new idea of how it could be used,” Chris said. “It’s fun! People are coming up with their own ways to use it.”
Chris and Jen have done all the refurbishment work to this point by themselves, from painting to mechanics.
“We are huge do-it-yourself people,” Jen said. “That’s why we were like, ‘We know we can do it!’”
While they have personally funded most of the project, the Lewises are currently engaged in a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for custom, high-quality, wrap-around vinyl seating on the bus, which they recently named Black Betty, with the help of their social media followers.
The Kickstarter campaign is currently just over 20 percent funded and has five days to go.
“It is going to be a success either way,” Chris said. “The Kickstarter will just help us get there sooner and also gives people a chance to get a discount on services.”
Chris and Jen plan to have the bus ready by Sept. 1. Its grand debut will be at the USU Homecoming Parade.
“We are excited to be a part of the community,” Chris said.
Jen added, “We hope it becomes an iconic part of Cache Valley.”
Rentals are paid by the hour and include a driver and unlimited stops, soda, and water.
Reservations can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or at a discounted rate through their Kickstarter campaign that ends Aug. 6.