CORNELIUS, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Some of Nashville’s hottest country music stars are traveling in style in luxury buses made right outside the Queen City.       

The buses are homes on wheels as the artists travel thousands of miles across the country for months on end.

You often see the buses when you’re traveling on the interstate. The company behind the buses said they wanted to isolate the manufacturing process outside of Nashville and found that the Charlotte area had a great pool of experienced workers to put the vehicles together.

“There are a lot of talented folks in North Carolina,” said CEO of Encore Luxury Coaches, Justin Ward.

Inside a Cornelius warehouse are about a dozen talented fabricators and builders that are putting together luxury buses for talented individuals with a voice.

The vehicles are much more than just a bus, but a home away from home that costs between $1 million and $1.7 million.

“Probably about 65% of what happens on these buses are artists and their bands and entertainers sleeping,” said Ward.

They aren’t sleeping on the bus for just for one or two nights. The buses typically carry artists on tour for 200 days a year.

A crew bus has 12 bunks, with both a rear and front lounge, with all the amenities you would find in a typical home.

The unfinished buses drive in off I-77 and into the Cornelius warehouse. They come straight from Canada and arrive as just a shell. All the interior building happens at the Cornelius warehouse.

Encore is the company behind the project. A business that was born in 2020 during the pandemic shutdown.

“I couldn’t spell pandemic. I didn’t know what that was and when that hit us in early 2020, I remember in March of 2020 we shut down our operations in Nashville for 2 weeks,” said Ward.

Two weeks turned into months. There were no concerts or tours to manage. Encore was started as a way to bounce back.

A business that leases the luxury rides was something the music industry in Nashville said was needed once the pandemic shutdown was eased.

“I will say this. Our industry is a big family. Everybody kinda banded together good, bad and ugly and figured out how to survive it. I think it’s come back stronger than it ever was,” said Ward.

Right now, Encore has 15 units that are on the road as part of the lease fleet. Typically these buses have a 10-15 year life span and are built to last.