Balda Driving school has seen a surge of new business.


Kristina Hestrom, owner of the Balda Driving School, has been busy lately.

She took over ownership of the company, which has been in Peoria since 1949, in 2004.

“Since buying the business, business has doubled. It’s been a busy summer. It started in the last month,” Hestrom said.

“Suddenly, we’ve had a big increase. I have added a class and may add more as the summer goes on. It’s too early to tell how long it’s going to last, but I’m working overtime to get everyone in. It pretty much caught me off-guard. We’ve been working hard to expand the business.”

A look at any one of the classes at Hestrom’s location, just off War Memorial, stands as mute testimony to the demand by young driver’s to get their license.

Part of the reason for the increase in business, Hestrom said, is Illinois’ new graduated driving system for young driver’s which requires more driving time.

Those rules took effect Jan. 1.

“Since then, the phone has been ringing off the hook, and people coming to the office,” Hestrom said.

She said it is nice having the reputation of an established business.

“We have students now whose parents and grandparents are former clients. We get a lot of generational business. That’s common.”

For more on this story see the 6/25/08 issue of the Peoria Times-Observer