Boxcar Is a Homegrown Success Story

Boxcar was started by Cranford resident Joe Colangelo, who originally envisioned it as Airbnb for parking. The concept was simple – Boxcar would lease parking spots from property owners who didn’t need their weekday parking, such as churches and VFWs, and make the spots available to commuters. In 2017, Boxcar added buses, which offered commuters reserved seating and service to parts of NYC which weren’t easily accessible by other mass transit options. Boxcar was built upon a solid bedrock, but when COVID hit business plummeted overnight. Joe needed to focus on his business’s strengths: a solid customer base and a strong and flexible business model.

Boxcar pivoted to serving suburban customers by offering grocery delivery, as well as delivery from local businesses. The company delivered pools (purchased before they became scarce), worked with towns on setting up drive-in movies, and helped FLAG for Cranford create a system that benefitted local businesses and frontline workers alike.

As people slowly begin to return to the office, commuting into NYC has begun to pick up again. “We’re excited to offer bus service from the Cranford/Westfield and Madison/Chatham areas,” said Joe. “People are happy to have an option where they’ll have a comfortable commute and are also able to skip the subway.”

In August, Joe had to lay off his entire team. By January, he was able to bring 3 people back and the company is still hiring as it plans to increase its offerings.

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Looking ahead, Joe believes that most people will be commuting only a few days a week and will want an alternative to working from their homes on the other days. Joe and his team recently took over the newly renovated 2nd floor of Cranford Hotel and certain rooms have been designated as office space that people will be able to rent through “Boxcar Office Club.” Boxcar also continues to offer hyperlocal services including grill cleaning, headshots, and car detailing.

“I’m thrilled that we’re able to have our office in the heart of Downtown Cranford,” said Joe. “Cranford is such a walkable town and it offers incredible dining options. Also, the community spirit in this town just can’t be beat. So many people rose to the occasion last year and showed why Cranford is such a special place to be.”

The Downtown Cranford office was thrilled to hold a ribbon cutting that officially welcomed Boxcar to the business community. For more information on Boxcar, you can visit their website: https://www.boxcar.com/.