It all started with a grocery store.
In the late 1890s, an Italian immigrant named Eugenio La Macchia settled to Kenosha, Wisconsin and was on the search for new opportunities here in the local community. One of his very first businesses was his own local grocery store, that later evolved to selling steamship tickets from Europe to the United States so others could immigrate to the Midwest and seek opportunities just like Eugenio did.
Then came Edmund…
Eugenio La Macchia’s son, Edmund La Macchia was born in 1905 and following his graduation at Marquette University, he decided to carry on his father’s legacy and establish Edmund LaMacchia Agency. Edmund continued many of Eugenio’s business services such as translation of immigration documents, accounting, tax preparation, and most importantly, transportation. As the demand for transportation increased over the years, so did travel, and the La Macchia’s had their sights set on the future.
Travel began to soar…
With new travel destinations opening and welcoming travelers from all around the world, the need to expand the LaMacchia’s travel business was crucial. During the 40s and 50s, Edmund’s wife, Emma La Macchia, began to work in the family business. Emma was the driving force that led Edmund LaMacchia Agency to be one of the very first agencies in the Midwest to sell airline tickets. Alongside being a mother of six children, Emma became a true pioneer and female leader in the industry.
Golden Age of Travel
The 1960s began what was considered the golden age of travel, and about this time, Edmund & Emma’s eldest son, Eugene La Macchia joined the family business. Eugene brought a sophisticated approach to the agency as it grew beyond the Italian clientele and began to service more travelers from all around the Midwest. The travel agency became the La Macchia’s primary family business that the entire family embraced for the bright future. Edmund & Emma’s second oldest, William La Macchia also worked at the family business and later brought his family’s legacy to Milwaukee where he later established The Mark Travel Corporation; home to one of the nation’s largest travel companies, Funjet Vacations.
The beginning of the Vacation Era.
Travel in the 1970s took a considerable shift from airline tickets to visit friends and family and transitioned to leisure vacations around the world. Destinations such as Las Vegas, Hawaii, Jamaica, the Caribbean, Europe and cruise travel began to welcome hundreds of thousands of travelers each year. Edmund LaMacchia Agency was nationally recognized as a leader in providing excellent service and expertise in all of these destinations. Eugene LaMacchia identified early on that a great marketing plan with print advertising in local newspapers was necessary to continue to grow the family business.
Continuing the tradition…
In the early 1980’s, Tom Karnes; the grandson of Edmund La Macchia, joined the family business with his grandma Emma La Macchia and Uncle Eugene LaMacchia. The 1980s saw yet another huge shift in travel where companies such as Funjet Vacations began to charter flights from local airports such as Milwaukee to destinations such as Las Vegas, Mexico, Jamaica and Hawaii. Tom Karnes and his uncle Eugene continued to embrace this shift in travel into the next couple of decades, growing the family business even more.
A whole new world…
The turn of the century came with new opportunities and challenges for travel agencies. With the inception of the World Wide Web, travelers began researching and purchasing travel differently. And within just a few short months came the tragic events of September 11th, 2001, grounding all flights and leaving the world with uncertainty. Many travel agencies across the country were not able to embrace the changes that were happening, but LaMacchia Travel continued to remain positive and have their sights set on the future. While the internet led to a new incredible tool for travelers around the world, LaMacchia Travel knew that the largest asset that would take the family business even farther into the future is genuine knowledge and excellent customer service from their team of travel agents.
In 2009, LaMacchia Travel was purchased by the current owners, Tom & Monica Karnes. This made them third-generation owners and fourth-generation in the travel industry.with a great team of travel agents and a renewed vision of the future, LaMacchia Travel continued to grow.
A new travel brand…
As LaMacchia Travel continued to grow, so did the travel industry. By the year 2015, the travel industry saw a huge demand for destination weddings and honeymoons, which led the ownership at LaMacchia Travel to create LovinAway, a national destination wedding and romance travel brand – specializing in destinations in Mexico, the Caribbean, Hawaii and the South Pacific for couples across the nation.
A global pandemic
The beginning of 2020 came with great momentum for Tom, Monica and their multi-brand travel business, until the wake of the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic at the peak of the travel season. With this in-mind, a complete shut down wasn’t an option for the LaMacchia Travel team. While the entire world transitioned to staying at home, the LaMacchia Travel team was dedicated to their travelers more than ever with providing guidance and clarity as countless reservations were cancelled and refunded. While destinations began to reopen, LaMacchia Travel was there for their travelers every step of the way.
Then comes the Jet Stream…
Early in the pandemic, Tom & Monica Karnes were working from home discussing what the industry would look like after the pandemic passes. They decided that it would be best to create a community for likeminded travel advisors to connect, grow and interact with as the world reopens and beyond.
In December of 2020, LaMacchia Jet Stream; a business-to-business host agency was established and became the third enterprise alongside the LaMacchia Travel family. All with the intention of supporting travel advisors for the bright and always ever-changing industry we have ahead.
Proudly celebrating 92 years in business!
The future is what we make of it.
Over 92 years, and still the mission remains the same: to connect travelers around the world while providing the best service and expertise as possible. We look forward to many more years of travel, no matter where the road takes us.