A new year is right around the corner. Over the past 12 months, private truck stops have added several locations and even more parking spots. In total, the Big Three truck stops – Love’s, TravelCenters of America and Pilot Flying J – have added more than 3,000 truck parking spots to the infrastructure in 2017.
Love’s Travel Stops
Love’s closed out the year with its final store opening in mid-December off of Interstate 35 in Troy, Texas. For the year, Love’s opened 36 new stores. With those new locations came approximately 2,600 new truck parking spaces.
“2017 was an active year for Love’s at the store level and beyond,” Frank Love, co-CEO of Love’s, said in a statement. “We opened 36 new locations, all of which were built from the ground up, entered into the state of Montana and acquired Speedco, a well-known company serving the trucking industry. We’re providing for customers in new ways and in more areas than ever before.”
Love’s also added nearly 200 showers. Nearly 40 locations now offer public laundry facilities, according to a Love’s news release. All of the new locations include such amenities as showers, parking, DEF and quick-service restaurants.
After opening a location in Hardin, Mont., Love’s now has locations in 41 states. More than 20,000 people work at more than 440 locations across the nation.
Earlier this year, Love’s acquired Speedco from Bridgestone Americas. Speedco is a national network of service locations that provides quick lube and inspection services to the trucking industry. The acquisition will add 52 trucking services and lube locations to Love’s network. When all is said and done, Oklahoma City, Okla.-based Love’s will have 323 tire service and lube facilities.
TravelCenters of America
The number of new locations for TravelCenters of America, operators of the TA and Petro Stopping Centers brands, is small: one in South Carolina. However, there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for this:
“We have spent a lot of time and effort to continue to maintain and upgrade our existing facilities,” TA and Petro spokesman Tom Liutkus told Land Line. “Given they are extensively larger and offer more services to our guests/drivers, we make sure the facilities have a regular rotational calendar for remodels and improvements. The comfort of our customers is of utmost importance."
With that said, TA/Petro has remodeled 25 travel stores and 41 quick-service restaurants. Showers and restrooms were remodeled at nine locations. Additionally, TA/Petro opened three new table-serve restaurants and nine new quick-service restaurants.
Although only one location was added, that did not prevent TA/Petro from adding more truck parking spaces. According to Liutkus, 135 truck parking spaces were added in 2017.
The new location in Columbia, S.C., is nothing to scoff at. Liutkus described the Columbia location as being “decked out with a 16 lane bowling alley and a large game room (smaller version of a Dave & Busters).”
TA/Petro may not add very many locations, but when it does, it goes big.
Pilot Flying J
While Love’s is busy adding new locations and TA/Petro is hard at work making sure existing locations are in tip-top shape, Pilot Flying J lies somewhere in the middle. In 2017, PFJ opened eight new locations and completed facility enhancement projects at more than 50 locations.
Addressing the truck parking shortage “continues to be a focus of Pilot Flying J,” a PFJ spokesperson told Land Line. PFJ has added more than 500 spaces throughout its locations. Earlier this year, PFJ announced new parking sensors that allow truckers to track availability through the myPilot app.
Speaking of the myPilot app, users can now login to view live parking availability at certain locations. Drivers will also be able to make Prime Parking reservations via the app. Other upgrades to the app include map pins for Pilot Express locations, CAT Scales Weigh My Truck app integration as well as iPhone and Android user improvements.
For PFJ, 2017 was a big year for providing truckers with maintenance service.
“This year, in order to better meet the needs of professional drivers, we rolled out our Truck Care program to provide tire sales and service, preventive maintenance, and light mechanical assistance to our professional drivers,” a PFJ spokesperson said. “When launching the program in early 2017, our goal was to have 150 roadside assistance truck locations up and running by year end – and we did it!”
By the end of 2017, the Truck Care program will be available in 36 states. PFJ has started building service centers across the West, Southwest, Midwest and Eastern regions of the country. By year end, PFJ will have seven service centers opened in Missouri, Michigan, Mississippi, Texas, South Carolina, Georgia and Wyoming. Another 16 locations are planned to open by mid-2018.
Unique to PFJ, the truck stop company launched a shop-in-shop partnership with Bass Pro Shops in 2017. Currently, this is only available at the locations in Lebanon, Tenn., and Jamestown, N.M. A Bass Pro Shops store is planned to soon be featured at the Tye, Texas, location.
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