Mindy Writes, LLC

Before launching a full-time freelance career, Long edited NATSO's Stop Watch magazine. Prior to that Long worked as a staff reporter for Transport Topics, a weekly trade newspaper, covering freight transportation, fuel and environmental issues. In addition to covering the transportation sector, Long has written, reported and edited for a variety of media outlets. She was the Washington correspondent for WCAX-TV (CBS) in Burlington, Vt., a criminal court reporter in Chicago and a freelance copy editor for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine in Washington D.C. Long hold a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Ill., and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Westminster College in Salt Lake City.

Items contributed by Mindy Writes, LLC

  • Top Trucking Economist Predicts Improved Year in 2017

    Low unemployment rates, steady manufacturing and increased home construction will contribute to improved freight levels within the trucking industry for the year ahead.

  • Key Principles for Creating Retail Disruption Shared at The NATSO Show

    Since it was founded, Amazon has disrupted the retail market and changed the way consumers shop. The ability to drive that disruption stemmed from a handful of key principles, that John Rossman, Author of The Amazon Way, said other business leaders can follow to drive innovation in their own industries.

  • NATSO Show Speaker Says to Boost Success by Giving Up Something to Get Something

    In today’s competitive operating environment, there are certain exchanges that must occur for business owners to take their operations to the next level, according to Kevin Paul Scott, co-Founder of ADDO Worldwide and author of “8 Essential Exchanges.” Addressing travel plaza and truckstop owners and operators at the NATSO Show 2017 in Savannah, Ga., Scott shared three essential exchanges business owners can make.

  • At The NATSO Show Chairman Urges Members to Embrace Change, Collaborate on New Opportunities

    Don Quinn, president of Sapp Bros. and NATSO’s 2017 chairman, said the truckstop and travel plaza is experiencing a period of drastic and rapid change and called on NATSO members to seek out the opportunities that exist within that change. Quinn made his remarks during The NATSO Show 2017 in Savannah, Ga.

  • NATSO Anticipates Increased Interest in Tolling, Rest Area Commercialization from Lawmakers

    Speaking at The NATSO Show 2017, David Fialkov, NATSO’s vice president of government affairs, told attendees that he expects an increased interest in tolling and rest area commercialization as lawmakers look to boost infrastructure funding levels.

  • Improve Your Truckstop's Net Operating Cost By Increasing Sales

    For truckstop and travel plaza operators, net operating cost provides insight into their locations’ profitability, efficiency and success, which explains why operators are constantly looking to improve their net operating cost.

  • Rebranding Success on Hat Six Travel Center

    Hat Six Travel Center, based in Evansville, Wyoming, has embraced the local flair, capitalized on convenience and identified three distinct customer bases, which is boosting sales and driving loyalty.

  • Increased Truckstop Competition: Who are the Threats?

    More and more businesses are expanding their services and creeping into territory that was once served primarily by the truckstop and travel plaza industry. Interstate convenience stores are adding diesel fueling lanes and expanding services, big box retailers are adding quick-service foods, interstate restaurants are adding gasoline fueling lanes and confectionary products, and motor carriers are adding driver services and conveniences to their distribution centers.

  • 8 Ways To Keep Truckstop Managers Happy

    Profit center managers serve as the backbone of a truckstop or travel plaza, and keeping them engaged can increase their loyalty, boost productivity and contribute to the organization's overall success.

  • 7 Ways To Improve Your Truckstop's Grab-And-Go Food Safety

    Sales of grab-and-go foods are on the rise. In response, truckstop and travel plazas are increasing their hot and cold quick-serve items. To maintain safety, it is important for locations to choose the right items to add to their cases and follow certain handling procedures for preparing and holding food.

  • Making Change Part of Your Truckstop's Culture

    The ability to evolve and change can strengthen a business and contribute to long-term success. Within the truckstop and travel plaza industry, shifts in consumer behavior coupled with increasing competition are driving the need for operators to explore and adopt new service offerings in order to stay competitive.

  • Attract New Truckstop Customers to Boost Sales

    In today’s market, truckstops and travel plazas are facing increased competition on several fronts. Restaurants and retailers are adding fuel as well and charging stations for electric vehicles, and convenience stores are rolling out amazing grab-and-go food programs. At the same time, improved fuel mileage on ve¬hicles means customers don’t have to stop as often for fuel. In response, operators are stepping up their efforts to attract new customers while also increasing the conversion rate of fuel customers, getting them to come into the store.

  • 8 Tips for Success from Entrepreneurial Leader Bill Taylor

    Bill Taylor is an expert on how owners can thrive in today’s competitive market and not only will he be sharing his expertise as a keynote speaker at The NATSO Show.

  • Unleashing the Power of Meetings: A Well Planned Meeting can Increase Productivity, Boost Morale and Generate New Ideas

    Berkstresser, Hargraves, Danniel and Cufaude sat down with Stop Watch to share their insights on what contributes to an effective meeting—whether it is with staff, peers or customers.

  • Top Economist Shares His Outlook for the Year Ahead

    At this year’s NATSO show, Bob Costello, senior vice president and chief economist at American Trucking Associations will share his insights during a keynote address, offering predictions on the economy, the trucking industry.

  • Stay Current on these Regulations and Fuel Standards

    The trucking industry is constantly adjusting to and preparing for new regulations, and the coming years are no different. Two of the primary regulatory issues the trucking industry is monitoring are requirements to use speed limiters and electronic logging devices. The Department of Transportation is also considering altering regulations related to driver health.

  • The NATSO Foundation Awards $25,000 in Scholarships

    When DeShawn Blanding learned that he had received a Bill Moon Scholarship award, his first reaction was to drive to the TravelCenters of America location in Manning, South Carolina, where his mother is the assistant general manager to tell her the news in person.

  • More Drivers Taking to the Road During the Day

    When Keith Wade, operations director at Dodge City Petro, held a driver appreciation day this year, he had hundreds of hot dogs to giveaway for lunch and two bands drivers could sit and enjoy. Unfortunately, drivers were in too much of a rush to stop.

  • DEF and Natural Gas Who Wants It and Who Should Add It

    As engine technology advances, so do the fuels used to power the engines. New truck technology first introduced in 2010 required the use of diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), which requires additional fueling infrastructure in order for operators to offer it at the pump.

  • Trends To Target Unhealthy Foods: What Does It Mean for Truckstops

    From menu labeling requirements to taxes on sodas, there is a push at the federal and state levels to discourage the consumption of certain types of foods. The trend is increasing the number of regulations truckstop and travel plaza operators must adhere to and could alter sales.

  • Truckstop Operators Respond To The Changing Fuel Efficiency Landscape

    It is well known that higher productivity vehicles and fuel efficiency standards for trucks are gradually reducing the per-vehicle demand for diesel, which is likely to change operations at truckstop and travel plaza locations across the country.

  • 8 Ways to Maximize Slow Times at Your Truckstop

    Even the busiest locations experience slow times of the day, and operators said they use those slow periods to prepare for peak times and get creative to boost business during traditionally slow times.

  • EMV Shift & Truckstops: One Year Later

    Truckstop and travel plaza operators along with the entire retail industry are still working to comply with the EMV shift—the move to align credit and debit cards in the United States with proprietary chip technology—that took effect Oct. 1, 2015. Under the new requirements, merchants have to adopt EMV-compliant devices for in-store sales or assume the liability for fraudulent transactions.

  • Consumers Slowly Embrace Mobile Payments; Locations Prepare For The Future

    A growing number of companies are offering mobile-payment applications, and although the majority of consumers still rely on traditional payment methods, some truckstop and travel plaza operators are preparing for the future and embracing the technology now.

  • From Milkshakes to Motocycles: Truckstop Operators Get Creative in Their Parking Lots

    In today’s operating environment, truckstop and travel plaza operators are working to appeal to a wide range of customers. Several NATSO members are changing the way they use space within their parking lots, turning extra space into innovative profit centers.

  • Translating Trucking Trends Into Profitable Action Items At Your Truckstop

    The successes and challenges the trucking industry experiences have a significant effect on the nation’s truckstops and travel plazas, which means staying cur-rent on trucking trends is crucial for businesses that serve drivers. What’s more, successful truckstop and travel plaza operators know that trends often result in new opportunities.

  • Food Service is About More Than Food

    When it comes to food service, today’s consumers are looking for much more than food. By tapping into their customers’ true needs and wants, truckstop and travel plaza operators can attract more people and dig deeper into their wallets when they come in the door.

  • Truckstops Becoming a Hub for Healthcare

    Truckstop and travel plaza operators have always tried to meet the needs of those on the road, and now they’re taking service to a new level and offering a range of healthcare services for drivers as well as their local communities.

  • Focusing on Safety at Your Truckstop Boosts Employee Morale and Cuts Costs

    At Sapp Bros. safety starts with its safety mission that is hanging up in every location: Sustain zero accidents by providing a safe environment worked in by safety minded employees.

  • Increase Sales at Your Truckstop With A Strong Retail Program

    All truckstop operators are working to get customers in the door and to the cash register, and a well-planned retail strategy can do just that. Yet all too often, business owners are trying to be everything to everybody, which can do more harm than good.

  • NATSO Facilitates Congressional Visit with California Travel Plaza

    Rep. Jeff Denham (R-California) has visited Joe’s Travel Plaza in Westley, California, as part of the NATSO government affairs team’s push to put truckstop and travel plaza owners and operators in direct contact with congressional leaders.

  • 10 Tips For Conserving Water at Your Truckstop

    Detect And Fix Any Leaks. The easiest and cheapest way to save water and money is to periodically check and fix leaks from pipes, fixtures, appliances and equipment. Install High-Efficiency Plumbing Fixtures And Appliances. High-efficiency toilets, urinals, pre-rinse spray valves, clothes washers, dishwashers and shower heads can save water, and some municipalities offer rebates.

  • Truckstop Operators Reduce Water Use To Increase Profits

    For truckstops and travel plazas, conserving water can cut costs while also improving the company’s environmental stewardship. Monitoring and managing water is becoming even more important in certain parts of the country that are dealing with drought situations. Three NATSO members shared their methods for reducing water usage.

  • Ten Ways to Promote the Bill Moon Scholarship to Your Truckstop Staff

    Each year the NATSO Foundation’s Bill Moon Scholarship program distributes thousands of dollars to students to pursue their educational goals. In 2016, the foundation will award five, $5,000 scholarships to truckstop and travel plaza employees and/or their legal dependents. Here are 10 ways you can promote the scholarship to your staff.

  • Trucks Of The Future Will Take Some Decision Making Away From Drivers

    Advances in technology are changing everything from how we interact with friends and family to products we buy. Technology is also bringing significant changes to Class 8 trucks, and the trucks of the future are likely to use autonomous technologies, such as adaptive cruise control systems, self-steering technology and vehicle-to-vehicle communication. Those advances will take decisions out of the hands of drivers and leave them to the vehicle and could, potentially, make driverless trucks a thing of the future.

  • How And Why Coffee Cup Fuel Stops Is Investing In Millennials At Their Truckstops

    Coffee Cup Fuel Stops is one of several NATSO members that have tapped into the talent millennials can bring to the table. NATSO sat down with Ericka Schapekahm, director of human resources and special projects at the company, to learn more about how she hires, manages and motivates millennials, which have become an important part of the labor pool.

  • Engaging Employees Of The Millennial Generation at Your Truckstop

    Millennials—typically defined as those born between the early 1980s to the early 2000s—are an important part of the workforce and can provide valuable skills to their employers. However, millennials are often stereotyped as being entitled, unmotivated and difficult to manage, but operators that have learned how to tap into the talent of the millennial generation said they value the traits they bring to the table.

  • Tap Into Retail Trends To Shape Renovations at Your Truckstop

    A remodel or renovation can give a location a face-lift and improve its aesthetics, but to be truly effective, changes should also strive to improve the store layout, offerings and merchandising in ways that reflect the latest sales trends. When done right, remodels can help operators increase sales and attract new customers.

  • Employee Engagement, Opportunity for Growth Help Businesses Retain Millennials

    Millennials are a crucial and growing part of the workforce, and engaging them is the key to their long-term success, which benefits employees and employers alike. Millennials currently make up about 38 percent of the U.S. workforce, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that will grow to 50 percent in the next five years, which means employers can’t afford not to attract and retain 19 to 36 year olds.

  • EMV Shift: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

    Complying with the EMV shift—the move to align credit and debit cards in the United States with proprietary chip technology—is extremely complex and expensive for merchants, and does not do enough to protect retailers from fees and risks associated with fraud, said Mallory Duncan vice president and general counsel at the National Retail Federation.

  • Top Economists Share Their Outlook for the Years Ahead

    The worsening driver shortage, an increasing supply of oil and fluctuating manufacturing levels will continue to heavily influence motor carrier costs, two leading economists told attendees of The NATSO Show 2016 Feb. 23 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

  • Entrepreneurial Leader Bill Taylor Shares Insight on Success

    Entrepreneur, co-founder of Fast Company magazine and best selling author Bill Taylor has spent years researching success for his latest book, Be the Only: Thriving in a World Where Best Isn’t Good Enough, and he has found that not only are business owners facing increasing competition, that competition is more competent than ever. To set themselves apart, entrepreneurs have to be willing to find and focus on their unique attributes, take risks and look for new ways to meet customers’ needs to find success.

  • NATSO Chairman Urges Members to Focus on Service, Embrace Change

    Don Quinn, president of Sapp Bros. and NATSO’s 2016 chairman called on NATSO members to differentiate themselves through their service and embrace change, which is a necessary part of doing business. Quinn made his remarks during The NATSO Show 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

  • Top Apps for Truck Drivers

    From finding the best route to monitoring fuel prices, there is a range of technology applications that are aiding professional drivers and helping them determine where to stop.

  • Truckstop Operators Turn To Technology To Improve Operations And Increase The Bottom Line

    Today's technology is allowing truckstop and travel operators to rethink the shopping experience and make it even more customer centric, which can cultivate loyalty and grow sales.

  • Anti-Theft technology cuts losses at the pump

    Fuel theft can result in huge losses for truckstop and travel plaza operators.

  • The Connected Truckstop: Growing sales with an online presence

    Smartphones provide on-the-go access for travelers and professional drivers no matter where they are.

  • Ten Tips for Locating Hourly Workers

    With the economy improving, it is becoming more and more challenging to hire new employees. Here are ten tips for finding the best new hires.

  • Truckstops and Travel Plazas Help Attract Female Drivers

    The truckstop and travel plaza industry has a significant role to play in helping the trucking industry attract more women to the profession as it seeks to overcome a significant driver shortage, NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings told viewers of a live web panel June 17.

  • The NATSO Foundation Awards $25,000 in Scholarships

    When Robert Canders, a general manager at Petro Stopping Centers, looks at his employee Demarco Harris, he sees management potential.

  • Five Free Publicity Opportunities You Could Be Passing Up At Your Truckstop

    For business owners, ink in either a local or a national publication creates visibility and an opportunity to reach new customers while also reconnecting with the current ones.

  • Tuscon Truck Terminal Wins for the Best Breakfast in Tuscon

    For Omar’s Hi-Way Chef Restaurant at the Tucson Truck Terminal in Tucson, Arizona, emerging the champion in the Caliente’s Breakfast Madness contest not only means the location can boast for having the best breakfast in Tucson, it also means more and more people are hearing about the location. As a result, business is booming.

  • Five Tips For Boosting Truckstop Profits And Engaging Employees With Suggestive Selling

    A subtle suggestion can add up to big sales for truckstop and travel plazas, and staff at Cash Magic Truck Plaza and Casino, which operates 22 locations, has turned suggestive selling into an art form.

  • Wawa's Great Truckstop Ideas

    At the convenience store chain Wawa, ideas abound. Not only are management and frontline employees constantly brainstorming, the company has a 30,000-square-foot innovation design center where it mocks up new store designs, tests new materials and perfects new recipes in the test kitchen.

  • Written Plans Help Truckstop and Travel Plaza Operators Plan for the Future

    Planning has always been an important part of operations at Sacramento 49er, but three years ago, Tristen Griffith, general manager of the location, decided she needed a more detailed approach. Griffith hired a consultant who helped her craft a written document the company evaluates annually and lives by all year.

  • Customization + Variety = The Future of Truckstop Beverage Sales

    From traditional and craft sodas to coconut water to energy drinks, today’s consumers have more choices than ever when selecting a beverage, and the number of drinks competing for cooler space is expected to grow

  • Five Factors Affecting the Future of Freight Movement

    The need to get items to consumers quickly coupled with concerns over aging infrastructure and supply chain disruptions is driving a growing number of retailers and shippers to position product regionally throughout the country

  • Truckstop and Travel Plaza Operators Find Ways to Boost Food Service

    Food service is becoming a more important component of the overall sales at truckstops and travel plazas, and today’s customers are demanding greater quality and convenience in the food they purchase.

  • Truckstop of the Future

    To stay relevant, businesses have to change as their customers change. New innovations can drive sales and create convenience, and the truckstops and travel plazas of the future will embrace improvements that will enhance the customers’ experience.

  • Six Trends in Leadership for Truckstop Operators to Watch

    Staying ahead of leadership trends can help truckstop and travel plaza operators prepare for the future. Stop Watch has identified six leadership trends that could shape the year ahead.

  • Investing in Employees at Coffee Cup Fuel Stop

    At Coffee Cup Fuel Stops, cultivating long-term employees starts even before someone applies to the company.

  • What To Do When You Are The Aspiring Truckstop Leader

    Leaders exist within every level of a business, whether it is an hourly employee, shift leader, a general manager or the head of the company. What’s more, everyone has the opportunity to lead in some way each day, either at work, at home or in the community.

  • Industry Leader Bill Sapp Receives the Hall of Fame Award

    During The NATSO Show 2015 the NATSO Foundation presented the industry’s Hall of Fame Award to William (Bill) Sapp, the co-founder of Sapp Bros. Travel Centers Inc.

  • Eight Tips for Strengthening the Truckstop Team

    Strong leaders know that they are only as strong as the team surrounding them. Effective leaders take time to coach those under them, which ultimately improves operations and the company’s profitability. John Kotter, professor emeritus at Harvard Business School and an expert on leadership and change, has said that successful corporations don’t wait for leaders to come along. Instead, they actively seek out people with leadership potential and expose them to career experiences that will develop that potential.

  • Truckstop Leadership: Effective Leaders = Improved Profits

    Great leadership not only improves the energy and atmosphere of a business, it can improve the bottom line. Research from the Gallup Organization shows that committed workgroups are 44 percent more profitable, 50 percent more productive and have 50 percent higher degrees of customer loyalty.

  • Understanding The Truckstop and Travel Plaza Customer

    If there are four truckstops sitting on an intersection, it is possible that each location has a different type of customer. To understand and meet the needs of those customers, truckstop and travel plaza operators need to uncover who is shopping their store and when. 

  • Five Tips for Attracting Hispanic Consumers to Your Restaurant

    Not only are Hispanics the nation’s largest minority group, they are the fastest growing, according to a 2012 report by the research firm Nielsen. As this segment continues to grow, so will its impact on retailers. The research firm Technomic reported that by 2060, Hispanics are expected to comprise 31 percent of Americans. Hispanic Americans are a fast-changing population in terms of both demographics and in their needs and desires as consumers, Technomic reported. To stay relevant, retailers, particularly foodservice operators, need to stay current on the expectations of this market segment.

  • The Changing Face Of The Truck Driver

    The demographics among new truck drivers are beginning to shift, making way for a new generation of drivers that are more diverse. The industry is also working to attract a growing number of veterans and cater to drivers that are older than the average American worker.

  • Are Your Truckstop Customers Buyers Or Shoppers

    The majority of customers walk into a store either knowing exactly what they want or planning to look around. For retailers, that means they have two distinct customer types they need to cater to—shoppers and buyers. By understanding each group, truckstop operators can improve customer service, strategize promotions and improve their marketing, all of which can add up to increased profits.

  • Why You Need To Know Your Truckstop Customer

    Successful companies know and understand their customers. Why? Four truckstop and travel plazas give their take.

  • Freight Volumes, Driver Pay on the Rise

    Freight volumes and driver pay will continue on an upward swing as the economy grows, Bob Costello, vice president and chief economist at the American Trucking Associations told NATSO Show attendees Feb. 18.

  • Customer Engagement Key to Dominating the Marketplace

    During The NATSO Show, Ken Schmidt, former director of communications strategy for Harley-Davidson Motor Co., told attendees that engaging with customers is the key to success, and a lack of engagement nearly led to Harley-Davidson’s failure.

  • Driving Growth Through Innovation

    When Seth Goldman, president and chief executive officer of the beverage company Honest Tea, set out to enter the beverage market, he was met with a number of challenges, making innovation crucial.

  • U.S. Diesel Demand Projected to Decline

    A number of factors are coming together that will reduce the demand for diesel fuel moving forward. As technology improves, vehicles become more efficient and their power sources evolve. Electric vehicles, hybrids and natural gas are all changing the country’s demand for diesel.

  • Creating a Culture and Building a Brand Grows Customers and Sales

    For business owners, branding is one of the best ways to stand apart from the competition, but creating a brand isn’t always easy. During The NATSO Show, Doug Rauch, an expert on branding and the former chief executive officer of the national grocery chain Trader Joe’s, told attendees that building a brand starts with culture.

  • Live from The NATSO Show: Bill Sapp Receives the Hall of Fame Award

    The NATSO Foundation presented the industry’s Hall of Fame Award to William (Bill) Sapp, the founder of Sapp Bros. Travel Centers Inc. NATSO Chief Executive Officer Lisa Mullings presented Sapp with the award during the NATSO Show’s kickoff event held Feb. 16 in Las Vegas, Nev., in recognition of Sapp’s participation in his community, the truckstop and travel plaza industry and in NATSO.

  • Petro Rochelle Travel Plaz Remembers the Troops Along with its Customer Base

    Petro Rochelle Travel Plaza goes out of its way to make everyone feel welcome. From troops returning from combat to professional drivers to traveling tourists, the location offers something for everyone.

  • Ten Ways to Increase Your ROI at Networking Events

    All opportunities come from people, and networking is one of the best ways business owners can discover new contacts, increase their knowledge and find new opportunities. While everyone seems to under¬stand the power of relationships both in business and their personal lives, the topic of networking continues to be confusing and complicated.

  • 10 Tips To Help You Stay Excited About Your Location

    Great Ideas translate into great opportunities, and one of the best ways to continue generating new ideas is to be excited about your business. Here are ten tips to help you stay passionate about your location:

  • Davis Travel Center Sparks Conversation and Sales with Nostalgic Candy

    At Davis Travel Center, in Stony Creek, Virginia, store displays filled with nostalgic candies are bringing back memories for customers. Not only are customers reminiscing over candy cigarettes, Nik-L-Nips and Teaberry Gum, they're buying them and the category is growing at a faster rate than all other items in the store.

  • Nine Business Lessons from a Retail Leader

    Nearly all leading businesses adhere to certain principles that make them a success. Traits of successful businesses tend to be universal, and business owners can find new and creative ways to adhere to them.

  • Joplin 44 Petro Lifts Spirits and Boosts Sales with Christmas Lights

    At Petro Truck Stop in Joplin, Missouri, it is the Christmas lights on the inside of the store that have everyone talking. Store manager Chris Quattlebaum has transformed the location’s light wall into an engaging light show that times the flashing lights with the beats in a handful of Christmas songs.

  • Find the True Cost of Parking at Your Truckstop

    Truck parking is one of the most important amenities travel plazas and truckstops offer. While truck parking is often free for drivers, it comes at a cost to the nation’s truckstop and travel plaza operators. To better understand the level of investment they’re making and their return on that investment, operators can do some simple math to help them understand the true cost of their parking lots

  • Behind the Scenes: Jerry Seinfeld’s Visit to Flynn’s Truck Plaza

    Comedian Jerry Seinfield visit's Flynn's Truck Plaza.

  • Multiple Markets and Suppliers Help Operators Get the Best Price on Fuel

    Diesel fuel and gasoline are the lifeblood of a truckstop and travel plaza. Not only are they high-priced items, there is little margin, so finding the best price on each load is crucial. Plus, operators need to keep a steady supply flowing and work to minimize disruptions during periods of peak demand or bad weather. Diesel fuel and gasoline are too important to truckstop and travel plaza operations to leave the purchasing up to chance. Operators said they are working with multiple suppliers, utilizing contracts and securing lines of credit to ensure they always have product available and are getting it at a good rate.

  • Operators Slice And Dice Data for Business Insights

    Information is everywhere and the number of sources producing information is constantly increasing. Big data—a popular term used to describe the growth and availability of both structured and unstructured information—is changing the way many companies operate. Today’s operators are relying on insights from their customers, internal processes and business operations to uncover new opportunities for growth. The challenge with any data set is converting it into useable information by identifying patterns and deviations from those patterns. By analyzing both internal and external sources of data, operators are able to better understand their customers, identify trends and predict sales.

  • Serving Those Who Serve

    Members of the military are committed to serving their country, and the nation’s truckstops and travel plazas often go above and beyond to serve the soldiers who stop at their locations.

  • Independent Operators Share Ideas For Growth And Cutting Costs During The NATSO Show

    Independent truckstop and travel plaza operators are constantly seeking out new products, great ideas and the latest business innovations. But NATSO members aren’t just in search of new ideas, they’re more than willing to share them with their peers.

  • Iowa 80 Celebrates 50 Years with Menu Prices from 1964

    Iowa 80 Kitchen, the 300-seat full service restaurant in the Iowa 80 Truckstop in Walcott, Iowa, is celebrating 50 years in business on June 4. As part of its celebration, the restaurant is offering customers an opportunity to order from a special menu featuring food items priced as they were on opening day in 1964.

  • RoadPro® Brands Launches Pro Driver Council

    In order to better understand professional drivers, Palmyra, Pa.-based RoadPro Brands, a division of NATSO Chairman's Circle member DAS Companies Inc., has created the Pro Driver Council, which the company said will give drivers a voice in the development and communication of RoadPro products. RoadPro is comprised of more than a dozen brands that are designed to bring the comforts of home to those that are on the go.

  • Manufacturers, Shippers Turn to Regional Distribution

    Today’s retailers are striving to get goods to the market quickly, and a growing number of shippers are turning to regional distribution centers to ensure goods are closer to the consumer and can be picked and packed rapidly.

  • Appealing To Pets In Virginia

    Davis Travel Center in Stony Creek, Va., has gone to the dogs—or at least part of it has. The location has added a dog park to its offerings, and travelers are responding.

  • Operators Increase Beverage Sales With The Right Product Mix

    Whether they come from the cooler, the fountain or the coffee bar, beverages make up a significant portion of travel plaza and truckstop sales. Stocking the right mix and the latest offerings not only keeps customers happy, it also increases sales. To ensure they have desirable products, operators can monitor traffic patterns, get to know their customers and stay current on the latest trends.

  • Carriers, Shippers Shift Routes and Expand Transportation Options to Boost Efficiency

    As carriers and shippers navigated the weak economy, they worked to increase efficiencies. For some this meant shifting distribution patterns, while for others it meant turning to inter- modal and private fleets.

  • Space Age Travel Center Focuses on Ease and Convenience

    Space Age Travel Center located off of Interstate 84 in Hermiston, Ore., sets itself apart by offering interesting merchandise, aggressive pricing, a variety of amenities and friendly employees. The mix works, and the location does over 50,000 diesel transactions and serves over 750,000 gas and c-store customers eachyear.

  • Operators, Suppliers Find Success at The NATSO Show

    Truckstop and travel plaza owners and operators and industry suppliers gathered together in Nashville, Tenn., for The NATSO Show 2014 last week.

  • The NATSO Show Attendee List 2014

    Get the latest attendee list for The NATSO Show.

  • Lawmakers Urge EPA to Withdraw Proposed RFS Cuts

    Thirty members of Congress have asked EPA to abandon its proposal to reduce the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). The lawmakers sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy urging her to abandon the proposal that would cut the RFS to below the levels legislated by Congress in 2007 under the Energy Independence and Security Act.

  • House Panel to Investigate Public-Private Partnerships

    The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has formed the Panel on Public-Private Partnerships that will focus on the use of public-private partnerships across all modes of transportation, economic development, public buildings, water, and maritime infrastructure and equipment.

  • South Carolina Legislation Proposes Tolls on I-95

    Lawmakers in South Carolina have introduced legislation calling for tolls on a portion of Interstate 95 in the state. Sen. Bradley Hutto and Sen. Kevin Johnson introduced the bill, which would implement a toll along I-95 where it crosses Lake Marion in either Orangeburge or Clarendon County. Hutto said that because Interstate 95 is a federal highway, all money collected through the toll would go toward repairs and improvements on Interstate 95 only.

  • CDL Drivers Must Self-Certify Driving Status, Maintain Paper Documents

    The Federal Motor Carrier Administration announced that commercial drivers will need to retain paper copies of their medical examiner’s certificate and continue to make the document available for review upon request at the roadside by federal and state commercial motor vehicle inspectors until Jan. 30, 2015. The requirement was originally set to expire on Jan. 30, 2014, which was the deadline for state driver licensing agencies (SDLA) to maintain an electronic version of all driver medical certificates in a searchable electronic database. FMCSA made the announcement in the Federal Register.

  • DOT Secretary Outlines Infrastructure Priorities; Funding Options

    U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx officially outlined his top priorities for the Department of Transportation, highlighting America’s infrastructure deficit and identifying ways for the Department to use innovation and improved planning to stretch transportation dollars further. Foxx said he sees signs the nation may finally be ready to tackle its "infrastructure deficit."

  • Congress Starts Highway Funding Discussion

    Members of Congress met this week to discuss the future of highway funding, and House Transportation Committee Chairman Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) said he wants the House to pass a new transportation funding bill by August to allow time for conference negotiations with the Senate. The current highway bill expires Sept. 30.

  • Partisanship Threatens Action on Highway Bill

    Congress’s partisan divide over tax increases is jeopardizing action on a long-term highway bill, raising the risk that the U.S. will run out of money to pay for projects next year, Bloomberg Businessweek reported. A compromise measure that used general tax revenue to keep highway construction going expires on Sept. 30, and Congress’s research arm has said lawmakers can no longer delay broader action.

  • EIA Increases Fuel Consumption Estimates, Prices

    The Energy Information Administration increased its forecast for 2014 U.S. gasoline demand and retail prices. EIA's latest short-term energy outlook report said domestic gasoline use for 2014 will reach 8.78 million barrels per day, up 0.5 percent from its December forecast but lower than the 2013 daily average of 8.79 million. Retail gasoline prices will be $3.46 per gallon on average, up 3 cents from the December outlook but lower than the 2013 average of $3.51, the EIA said.

  • Kansas, Iowa to Close Some Rest Areas

    Several states, including Kansas and Iowa, are considering closing rest areas due to concerns over both costs and resources.

  • Oil Industry Expert to Discuss America's Energy Future

    Oil industry expert Bob Greco, group director of downstream and industry operations for the American Petroleum Institute, will discuss America's energy future -- one that is full of abundance rather than scarcity --during his keynote address at noon, Wednesday, Jan. 29 at The NATSO Show.

  • Geo. H. Green Oil Raises $23,000 for Local Charities

    NATSO member Geo. H. Green Oil Co., Inc., in Fairburn, Ga., raised more than $23,000 for three local charities.

  • Minimum Wage Increases, Transportation Taxes Take Effect in 2014

    As 2014 gets underway, close to 40,000 state laws passed in 2013 are going into effect, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported. Legislation taking effect includes measures on everything from minimum wage to human trafficking.

  • NATSO Welcomes S&D Coffee & Tea to Chairman’s Circle

    NATSO is excited to announce that S&D Coffee & Tea, the nation’s largest custom coffee roaster and the largest blender of iced tea to the food service industry, has joined NATSO as a Chairman’s Circle member—the highest membership level for industry suppliers.

  • Senator Plans To Tackles Highway Bill, RFS Early in 2014

    The highway bill and the renewable fuels standard (RFS) are at the top of next year's agenda for Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), the ranking member on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

  • EPA Discovers More RIN Fraud

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it has invalidated 33.5 million renewable-fuel credits sold by an Indiana company for biofuel it didn’t produce, the fourth time the agency has alleged fraud in the program, Bloomberg News reported.

  • EPA: Ethanol Blend Wall Has Been Reached

    An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official said last week that the "blend wall" has been reached and it's unrealistic to expect refiners and retailers to offer E-15 or other blends that the current petroleum infrastructure can't support and that many vehicles cannot use.

  • Reports Detail Consumer Benefits From Swipe Fee Reform

    Swipe fee reform is benefitting consumers by forcing banks to compete, according to a December report released by the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank. The detailed 36-page report shows that for the average customer, free checking became more available after interchange fee reform. The report also proves that detractors’ skewed studies based on partial information are wrong.

  • Attracting the Older Generation Could Be Key to Your Truckstop Business

    The aging of America’s baby boomers means the country’s 65 and older demographic is growing faster than any other group. As the nation grows grayer, nearly every segment of a truckstop and travel plaza’s business will be affected, and many businesses are adjusting their offerings to best meet the wants and needs of their workforce and their customers.

  • Constitution Demands Federal Role In Infrastructure, Columnist Says

    Though some conservatives in Congress are looking at every option to cut back the size of government, dismantling the federal government's role in transportation infrastructure abandons the principles our Founding Fathers incorporated in the Constitution when they established the federal obligation to build and maintain a national infrastructure.

  • Legislation Proposes 15-Cent Fuel Tax Increase

    With a major transportation funding shortfall projected for next year, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) introduced legislation on Dec. 4 to increase the federal fuel tax 15-cents per gallon over three years. Rep. Blumenauer also proposes a study into mileage-based fees to fund transportation.

  • States Tackle Transportation Funding

    A number of states are addressing highway funding needs by raising fuel taxes and other fees and more are expected to follow suit. The current federal transportation law will lapse by the end of next year, and unless Congress makes drastic changes, more states will be left to account for funding shortfalls.

  • Ethanol Group Threatens Lawsuit Over RFS

    Ethanol supporters are threatening to sue EPA if the agency doesn’t modify the proposed 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard released on Nov. 15, which lowered the ethanol mandate and set reduced levels for other biofuels for 2014.

  • Judge Dismisses Case Challenging Tribal Fuel Compacts

    The Washington state-based Automotive United Trades Organization (AUTO) will appeal a judge's Nov. 25 decision dismissing their case challenging tribal motor fuel compacts. AUTO, a nonprofit trade association representing motor fuel retailers and suppliers in Washington, said the compacts send hundreds of millions of motor fuel tax dollars out of the state treasury to tribal station operators.

  • U.S. Department of Transportation Proposes Key Freight Highways

    The U.S. Department of Transportation is proposing designating certain highways as the Primary Freight Network (PFN), a requirement under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act.

  • Sen. Boxer: Highway Bill Follows Tax Reform

    Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) is waiting for action on tax reform legislation before proceeding with the transportation bill. Sen. Boxer and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) have said that tax changes are needed to fix the Highway Trust Fund. Proposals being discussed include increasing the federal gas tax or implementing another fee that would go towards highway programs.

  • Trucking Industry Calls on Congress to Suspend HOS Rules

    Trucking industry executives told the House Small Business panel that the new hours-of-service rules, including the 34-hour restart provision, are counterproductive during a hearing on the rule on Nov. 21.

  • Retailers Tell Judges Swipe Fees Need to be Reduced

    Retailers fighting for lower fees on debit-card transactions told three appellate judges the Federal Reserve erred in how it set debit interchange fees, the Wall Street Journal reported. The statements were made in a brief retailers filed in response to the U.S. Federal Reserve Board’s appeal of U.S. District Judge Richard Leon's decision that rejected the swipe fee rules that have been in place since October 2011.

  • API Seeks Input on Safety Document for Retail Fuel Facilities

    The American Petroleum Institute is urging truckstop and travel plaza operators to offer feedback as the organization begins the revision process for the Recommended Practice 1646, Safe Work Practices for Contractors Working at Retail/Convenience Facilities. API said this recommended practice provides an awareness of safety issues associated with maintenance and construction work at retail petroleum/convenience facilities.

  • Alternative Fuel Vehicles to Gain Traction, Diesel Remains Dominant

    Vehicles running on alternative fuels will accelerate over the next decade, but diesel fuel- and gasoline-powered vehicles will continue to dominate market share, the Fuels Institute said in its new report, "Tomorrow's Vehicles: What Will We Drive in 2023?"

  • New HOS Rules Cause Productivity Losses for Carriers

    The new hours-of-service rules are resulting in productivity losses and forcing professional drivers to drive during more congested time periods, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) reported.

  • State Initiatives Aim to Reduce Human Trafficking

    A number of states are launching new measures to fight human trafficking, which victimizes between 100,000 and 300,000 people each year.

  • U.S. to Dominate Global Oil Production by 2015

    The United States will surpass Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest oil producer in 2015, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported in its long-term energy outlook.

  • Ethanol Supporters Fight Back in RFS Debate

    As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers lowering some requirements of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), the Renewable Fuels Association is suggesting that adjusting the ethanol mandate could cost consumers up to $11 billion.

  • Visa to Host Webinar on Skimming Trends at Automatic Fuel Dispensers

    Visa will host a webinar on Nov. 14 to inform petroleum retailers on the latest skimming trends at automatic fuel dispensers (AFDs) and share best practices for investigation and incident response.

  • Voters Support Transportation Initiatives On Election Day

    On Election Day, U.S. voters approved 91 percent of ballot measures to increase or extend funding for highways, bridges and transit and elected two transportation advocates for governor. The moves come at a time when U.S. investment in schools, highways and infrastructure has hit is lowest levels since the end of World War II.

  • The Bill Moon Scholarship: Changing Lives One at a Time

    The legacy of the Bill Moon Scholarship continued again in 2013 when five students received $5,000 each to put towards their studies.

  • Implement Internal Controls at Your Truckstop to Minimize Risks of Fraud and Theft

    Each day businesses throughout the United States fall victim to fraud. The perpetrators range from front-line employees to upper management, and unfortunately, the hard truth is that fraud is on the rise. That means business owners need to be even more diligent when creating a system of checks and balances that will take away the opportunity for employees to steal.

  • Focusing on the Future: Truckstop Operators Look to Innovation and Advocacy

    Today's truckstops and travel plaza operators are navigating a mature industry. That means they must continue to innovate to maintain and grow sales. At the same time, they are also keeping tabs on government regulation that may change the way they do business and advocating for the future of the industry.

  • U.S. Fleets Accelerating Their Shift to Natural Gas

    Some of the largest U.S. truck fleets, including home-improvement retailer Lowe's, Procter & Gamble Co. and United Parcel Service Inc., are increasing their adoption rate of natural gas fueled trucks, allowing them to cut fuel costs, the Wall Street Journal reported.

  • A Day in the Life of a NATSO Truckstop Operator: Keith Wade, Petro Dodge City #397

    When you’re preparing to greet 1,000 drivers or more a day, mornings come early. For Keith Wade, operations director at Petro Dodge City #397 in Hanceville, Ala., each day starts with two cups of coffee and plenty of conversation with his staff. He likes to learn what is going on in each department and hear about the managers’ plans for the day.

  • Five Ways to Increase Your Success Before The NATSO Show

    When you invest time and money to attend a trade show, you want to get a solid return on your investment. Finding success on the tradeshow floor often means taking action beforehand. Here are five ways you can increase your success before The NATSO Show and make the most of your face-to-face meetings while in Nashville.

  • 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard Requirements Expected Soon

    The Environmental Protection Agency anticipates proposing its renewable fuel standard mandates for 2014 “very, very soon,” said Chris Grundler, director of the EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality. EPA is required by statute to issue the annual renewable fuel blending requirements by Nov. 30, and the White House Office of Management and Budget has been reviewing the proposed rule since Aug. 30.

  • Virginia Supreme Court Upholds Proposed Tolls

    The Supreme Court of Virginia has upheld the constitutionality of the proposed tolls on the Midtown and Downtown Tunnels between Portsmouth and Norfolk, reversing an earlier ruling by a circuit court judge that the tolls amount to an unconstitutional tax. The decision marks the end of a lawsuit by residents and business owners working to stop the tolls, which they said were illegal and harmful to commerce.

  • Special T&I Panel Report Recommends National Freight Policy, PPPs

    The Transportation and Infrastructure’s Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation released its final report on the current state of freight transportation in the U.S. this week, and called for Congress to direct the Department of Transportation to establish a comprehensive national freight transportation policy and encourage the use of public-private partnerships and innovative financing for freight projects.

  • Avoid These Five Typical Trade Show Mistakes

    When industry suppliers head to a trade show, their primary goal is to engage with customers and present their products and services in the best way possible, but seasoned pros know that a space is only part of the equation. To make sure everything goes right, avoid making these five common trade show mistakes.

  • Truckstop and Travel Plaza Operators Give Back

    Not only do truckstop and travel plaza operators serve profes­sional drivers and the traveling public, they serve their communities as well. Each year, operators donate their time, money and resources to charitable organizations, churches and schools in their community.

  • Engage And Train Employees For Long-Term Success

    Employees are the glue that holds businesses together, yet hiring and keeping excellent staff are the most challenging aspects of nearly every business. Natso members and human resources experts are getting creative to ensure their locations are filled with employees who care.

  • The Promising Future Of Fuels

    While diesel will remain the primary fuel for the trucking industry for the near future, a growing number of manufacturers and carriers are embracing alternative technologies and fuels that will allow them to move away from diesel derived from crude.

  • Market Your Truckstop Locally Using Social Media

    For years truckstop and travel plaza operators have relied on paid advertising to attract their local customer base, but now a growing number are turning to social media to promote specials and build relationships. Whether they’re logging on from smartphones or signing on at home or work, today’s customers are plugged into social media. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare and Yelp have hundreds of millions of users. For retailers the sites are a way to promote their business and also a way for them to be a part of the conversation.

  • Truckstop Operators Get Creative To Find, Hire And Keep Top Employees

    To find and keep top talent, operators are constantly looking for potential employees and are thinking out of the box during the interview to gain deeper insight into applicants. Once hired, training and engaging employees helps keep them onboard, benefitting both the business and the customers it serves. “Great organizations capitalize on their people,” said human resource expert Michelle Fenton who spoke during The NATSO Show 2013 in Savannah, Ga. “The only thing that makes me stop with you instead of your competitor 20 miles down the road is the people who are inside of your business. People are going to stop because of the people they’re interacting with, not just the product you’re selling.”

  • Take Advantage of Holiday Sales

    The winter holidays bring additional sales opportunities for truckstops and travel plazas. Not only do locations see an increase in the number of four-wheeler passengers stopping in as they travel to be with friends and family, professional drivers are often on the look out for gifts for loved ones while they’re out on the road. And while Thanksgiving and Christmas are still a couple months away, now is the time to create sales strategies that will increase sales and profits.

  • Seven Secrets of Productive Travelers

    For many industry suppliers, business travel is a way of life. Learning to make the most of travel not only increases business opportunities, it can also increase overall happiness. Improve your travel experiences with these seven tips.

  • Truckstop Operators Weigh in on Successful Sales Visits

    Sales visits are one of the best opportunities for industry suppliers to build relationships and secure sales with truckstop and travel plaza operators. But for a sales visit to be effective, it has to meet the needs of all involved. To help suppliers better understand what operators look for in a sales visit, Highway Business Matters sat down with Seth Miller of Petro Travel Store #353 in Portage, Wis., and David Shoemaker of Shoemaker’s Travel Center in Lincoln, Neb., to get their top tips for quality sales meetings.

  • Transportation and Logistics Industry Executives Join Together to Promote Natural Gas Vehicles

    Carriers, shippers and fuel distributors said they are working together to increase the number of natural gas Class 8 vehicles on the road and the number of CNG and LNG fueling locations nationwide. Industry executives made the comments while speaking at a natural gas symposium in Park City, Utah. Salt Lake City-based refrigerated carrier C.R. England hosted the event.

  • Optimize Your Odds: Fleets are Keeping Track of Fuel Prices and Amenities

    Even half a cent per gallon can add up to thousands of dollars for fleets, which is why more and more carriers are relying on fuel optimization software to direct them to locations where they can get the most bang for their buck. Software providers told Stop Watch that fuel price, location and amenities all factor into a carrier’s decision-making process. To increase their odds of becoming a location of choice, truckstops and travel plazas can ensure information on their amenities, geographical location and fuel prices is correct.

  • Sell More Effectively

    To connect with truckstop operators and sell more products, the key is to make the entire transaction about them, not you. Force isn’t an effective sales tactic, but taking time to develop a trusted relationship by showing you know and understand your customer’s needs is. Here are six ways you can sell more effectively.

  • Seven Tips to Master the 30-Minute Meeting

    Everyone is busy and time is money, so keeping meetings short and actionable can help maximize everyone’s time while also getting the job done. Here are seven tips on how to master the 30-minute meeting.

  • Nine Tips for Tradeshow Success

    Tradeshows are a significant investment for attendees and exhibitors alike. When you’re investing both time and money, you want to make sure you make the most of the event. Throw in the fact that tradeshows are one of the only places you get to meet face-to-face with business owners, managers and buyers under one roof and maximizing your presence is key.

  • New Ideas and Trends in Food Service

    For truckstops and travel plazas, restaurants are among the most important profit centers at the locations. Sit-down and quick-service restaurants alike attract four-wheeler traffic, professional drivers and locals. Even better, restaurant and foodservice sales are expected to reach a record high of $660.5 billion this year, the National Restaurant Association reported. That’s a 3.8 percent increase from 2012.

  • Diesel to Remain the Leading Fuel for Decades to Come

    While alternative fuels and technologies may increase in the future, diesel will remain the primary fuel for the trucking industry for decades. The findings were part of a two-year study on the future of alternative fuels conducted by the National Petroleum Council. The U.S. Secretary of Energy requested the study, which looked at the full breadth of alternative-fuel options alongside traditional diesel and gasoline.

  • Resources, Tools and Opportunities in Energy Efficiency

    It is a given that businesses that are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week are going to constantly draw power from the grid. Finding ways to cut down on the energy needed to run the business makes financial sense, and it also benefits the environment. Today’s technology is making it easier, more affordable and more convenient for business owners to swap out traditional lighting and fixtures to energy-efficient models. From LED lights to low-flow toilets, truckstop and travel plaza operators are making investments that produce both short- and long-term savings.

  • A Day in the Life of Truckstop Operator Tony Moore

    Tony Moore, manager of Simmons Travel Center in Emporia, Va., is either at work or on call 24 hours a day. Not only does his staff have his number, he leaves his cards throughout the location so customers know how to reach him day or night. His goal is to make customers feel welcome and he wants them to know he cares.

  • Find and Execute Your Next Great Idea

    Where will your next idea come from? During the Great Ideas! Session at The NATSO Show, Jeffrey Cufaude shared the following quick tips with business owners looking for inspiration.

  • Broadway Flying J Celebrates 50 Years of Extra Mile Service

    In 1963 Don and Bernice Alsaker took a chance and opened a fueling station on the newly constructed Interstate 90. Today, Broadway Flying J has grown from the original location on I-90 to seven travel plazas in Washington, Montana and Nevada. For the past 50 years, Broadway has served highway travelers, local residents and professional drivers and has always gone the extra mile.

  • What Was the Best Idea You’ve Gotten at the NATSO Show?

    NATSO members share the best idea they've gotten at The NATSO Show.

  • New Payment Technologies at Truckstops Boost Customer Service

    From rfid to paypal, truckstop operators are giving customers more ways to pay while moving them in and out of the location faster

  • Visual Study Tour: Valuable Business Insights from Abroad

    Attending the International Study Tour in person is the best way to gather valuable business insights abroad, but as a distant second best, Darren Schulte, NATSO’s vice president of membership, is providing readers with a virtual tour of his trip through pictures he gathered last fall.

  • Minimize Employee and Vendor Theft

    Losses from theft—also called shrink—are a part of life for retailers. Shrink will never be completely eliminated, but truckstop and travel plaza operators can take steps to minimize it.

  • Diesel to Remain the Leading Fuel for Trucking

    Diesel fuel will remain the primary fuel the trucking industry uses for decades to come, according to a two-year study on the future of alternative fuels conducted by the National Petroleum Council. The U.S. Secretary of Energy requested the study, which looked at a range of alternative-fuel options alongside traditional diesel and gasoline.

  • Who Do You Look Up To In The Truckstop Industry?

    NATSO operators share who they look up to in the industry and why.

  • Connecting with Truckstop Customers

    To better understand their customers, truckstop and travel plaza operators are relying on old-fashioned, face-to- face customer service while also embracing technology to initiate conversations and engage with a customer base that is constantly on the move.

  • Trends And Priorities Affecting The Truckstop And Travel Plaza Industry

    History shows that the offerings and business operations at truckstops and travel plazas shift as their customers’ needs change, and the most successful operations work to stay

  • NATSO Members Take to Capitol Hill

    In May, NATSO members from across the country will assemble on Capitol Hill and meet face-to-face with their lawmakers to discuss the key issues facing the truckstop and travel plaza industry and protect the businesses they’ve spent years building.

  • Suggestive Selling Boosts Profits While Benefiting Customers

    “If you’re suggestive selling, you’re greeting customers when they come in, you’re having conversations with them, and you’re paying attention to merchandise.”

  • Trends and Priorities Affecting the Truckstop and Travel Plaza Industry

    During The NATSO Show in Savannah, Ga., trucking industry experts and truckstop operators said everything from driver health concerns and hours-of-service regulations to increased fuel efficiency and changes in the length of haul are changing the way they operate.

  • The NATSO Show Concludes in Savannah

    Hundreds of truckstop and travel plaza operators and managers, industry suppliers and innovative experts convened in Savannah, Ga., to discuss the latest industry trends, see new products, and learn new ways to improve their business operations both today and into the future.

  • Virginia Transportation Legislation Headed to Conference Committee

    Both the Virginia Senate and House have approved their transportation bills, which now move into a conference committee as the two groups work to hash out differences between the plans before the General Assembly’s session ends on Feb. 23.

  • Freight Patterns Evolving; NATSO to Feature Keynote on Intermodal Outlook

    To help truckstop operators better understand the rail piece of the puzzle, the changing dynamics in the shipping business and the growing partnership between trucking and rail, The NATSO Show will feature keynote presenter Ryan Houfek, CSX’s assistant vice president for intermodal sales, who will provide CSX's outlook on intermodal freight movement in the coming decades.

  • Republicans and Democrats Join to Oppose Tolls in Virginia

    A bipartisan group of Virginia lawmakers have joined together with local officials and business leaders to speak out against tolls on Interstate 95 in Virginia. Republicans and Democrats stood shoulder to shoulder and called for the General Assembly and not the Department of Transportation or Gov. Bob McDonnell to determine whether to put tolls on Interstate 95 and other existing highways.

  • Canadian Crude Oil Pumps Supply for Local Refiners

    Tom Kloza, the chief analyst at the Oil Price Information Service, said a concentration of crude from Canada, down through North Dakota, Missouri and West Texas is creating opportunities for local refineries, resulting in lower prices in some markets.

  • As Legislatures Convene, Tolling Remains Under Consideration Despite Opposition

    As state legislative sessions opened up last week, tolling continues to be an issue in several states despite widespread opposition.

  • A Day in the Life of a Truckstop Operator: Michael Sibley

    For Michael Sibley, Travel Center in LaPlace, La., work is spread between his home office and the travel plaza.

  • Experts on Loan: In NATSO's Human Library

    At The NATSO Show 2013, NATSO will host its popular Human Library sponsored by Bridgestone Commercial Solutions. A handful of experts with decades of experience will be on loan for customized, one-onone learning experiences operators can tailor to their own objectives.

  • Laplace Travel Center, Poker and Plenty More

    Michael Sibley, President of LaPlace Travel Center in LaPlace, La. talks to Stop Watch about how he has improved his business.

  • Get To Know Your Fuel Customers

    Knowing what products to stock and when can boost sales and profits for truckstop and travel plaza operators. Operators take time to get to know the drivers who come into their locations each day, but to foster long-term relationships, they must also get to know the corporate executives at the trucking companies where those drivers work.

  • NATSO Members Lead The Fight Against Tolls

    Two NATSO members are spearheading grassroots campaigns in their home states of Virginia and North Carolina, drawing attention to the effect tolls on I-95 will have on drivers, highway-based businesses and the communities in which they operate.

  • James A. "Jim" Haslam Stands Out as an Industry Leader

    Haslam’s leadership and expertise has benefited his family business and the truckstop and travel plaza industry alike, and The NATSO Foundation is pleased to honor him with the Hall of Fame award.

  • Negotiating Vendor Contracts

    When business owners make their way to the negotiating table, preparation is the key to success.

  • Freight Expected to Grow Slowly in 2013

    ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said he expects truck tonnage to grow at a slower pace in 2013 than it did in 2012, adding that a stronger economic recovery could boost the industry in 2014 and 2015. Costello, who is a featured speaker at The NATSO Show, predicted a two percent increase in for-hire truck tonnage this year, slowing from the 2.7 percent increase he projected for 2012. Costello said tonnage growth had been slowing throughout 2012. Tonnage in October dropped 3.8 percent and marked the first year-over-year decrease since November 2009. In November, however, tonnage increased 3.7 percent, marking the first gain since July.

  • Barbecue Moves from the Backyard Grill to Restaurant Menus

    While barbecue is synonymous with summertime, leading restaurant operators have picked up on the trend and many are using limited-time offers to feature barbecue throughout the summer and even as a winter-time meal.Adding new barbecue offerings to menus could boost sales for truckstop and travel plaza operators and industry suppliers while also increasing customer satisfaction.

  • Fast- and Fast-Casual Restaurants Sales Continue to Grow

    Limited-service restaurants are the driving force behind the commercial foodservice industry, and account for more than half of total industry sales despite their low check averages in comparison to full-service restaurants.

  • New Technology and Signage Helps Truckstop Operators

    NATSO members nationwide are turning to LED lighting, digital signage and strategic placement to promote their offerings.

  • Calming Complainers

    Addressing complaints can show people that you’re human and give them a solution to their problems, but to make the most of the situation, it can help to know the type of complainer.

  • Bill Moon Scholarship Winners Value Connection to the Industry

    This year, nine hardworking students received scholarships from The NATSO Foundation.

  • Four Places to Network at The NATSO Show 2013

    The opportunities to connect with attendees extend well beyond the show floor at The NATSO Show 2013.

  • Shoppers Continue to Make Impulse Buys

    Impulse purchases are alive and well among consumers.

  • Consumers Adhere to Three Meals Daily But Snack Often

    By offering the right mini-meals and snacks, truckstop and travel plaza operators and industry suppliers can tap into this trend and boost sales.

  • DEF Sales on the Rise; Operators Respond in Numerous Ways

    With DEF sales on the rise, operators are responding in numerous ways.

  • Operators Use Displays to Direct Traffic and Create Atmosphere

    Operators are getting creative and turning to modular displays that can direct traffic within their stores and highlight their products.

  • Small Businesses Remain Concerned Over Health Care Law

    Expert explore costs of the recently upheld the health care law.

  • A Day in the Life of a Truckstop Operator: Tristen Griffith

    Emails, phone calls, employees, guests, vendors, spreadsheets and financials are always a continuous work in progress.

  • Truckstops Prepare for Driver Appreciation Week

    The trucking industry, truckstops and travel plazas and communities nationwide will join together Sept. 16 to 22 to honor America’s truckers during national Driver Appreciation Week.

  • Converse with Your Customers Via Social Media

    NATSO's Facebook page is another tool for connecting with travel plaza and truckstops. NATSO's twitter feed is a great resource for the latest industry news.

  • Increasing Female Customers can Boost Sales for Truckstop Operators and Their Suppliers

    By promoting offerings that appeal to women, truckstop operators and their suppliers can boost overall sales among that demographic.

  • Future of Natural Gas for Truckstops

    Motor carriers nationwide are beginning to run natural gas vehicles in small quantities, and many say the fuel

  • The Average Truckstops Offers Food, Fuel and More

    In The Trucker’s Friend, de Vos lists 6,000 locations professional drivers can stop. “About 3,500 are just a convenience store with a pump. They are places that truckers fuel sometimes, but they don’t have any showers or parking,” he said.

  • Travel Channel Provides Unique Look at Life Within a Truckstop

    Industry suppliers who would like to get an around-the-clock inside look at life within a truckstop can tune in and watch Truckstop USA on the Travel Channel. The reality show features NATSO member Midway Truck Stop, which is located halfway between Kansas City and St. Louis, Mo. The location boasts more than a dozen different businesses on 200 acres and is an oasis for highway travelers and locals alike.

  • Rumble Rules: Idling Regulations

    Throughout the country, local and state governments are continuing to adjust their idling laws, and in an effort to create greater uniformity for drivers, several states are embracing statewide regulations versus individual county or city regulations.

  • Truckstop Point-of-Sale Systems Complexities

    For truckstop operators, building a powerful point-of-sale (POS) and back-office system is a lot like assembling a puzzle.

  • Teach Your Kids the Truckstop Business

    Children who go to work at their parents’ S Corporation or C Corporation will be subject to FICA and income taxes, but will be taxed at a lower bracket than their parents.

  • Boost Truckstop Sales by Attracting Women

    Women are an important part of the nation’s consumers.

  • Guide Customers on the Road to Purchase

    A thoughtful approach to merchandise display and marketing will increase sales.

  • Boost Truckstop Restaurant Sales with Catering

    Boost restaurant sales with catering.

  • Brewing Up Success

    Everybody wants a good cup of coffee.

  • Skim Scam, A High-Tech Method of Theft and Fraud

    A high-tech method of theft and fraud emerges.

  • Advance Planning Minimizes Truckstop Losses from Natural Disasters

    Advance planning minimizes losses from natural disasters.

  • Travel Centers Add Healthy and Time-Saving Options

    Travel centers add healthy and time-saving options.

  • Grant Opportunities Available for Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

    For truckstops and travel plazas, installing electric vehicle charging stations can help tap into a new and increasing customer base.

  • Be Prepared for Increased Demand of DEF

    Be prepared for increased demand of DEF.

  • Be Smart About Extending House Credit

    Be smart about extending house credit.

  • Friendly Service at Stamart Travel Centers

    Friendly, familiar faces draw in drivers at all three Stamart Travel Center locations in North Dakota.

  • A Treasure Trove of Wisdom in The Human Library

    This year at The NATSO Show, NATSO is creating its own interactive one-on-one learning library that will be filled with experts in their fields.

  • Shop Repair In a CSA 2010 World

    The nationwide rollout of Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA) 2010 is underway, and it is changing the way fleets approach their maintenance. Under the new government-mandated system, violations found at roadside that didn’t accrue points in the past will count. As a result, it is likely that carriers will no longer wait until a truck returns to its terminal to take care of maintenance, which will boost over-the-road repairs.

  • Commercial Buildings Can Go Green and Save Big

    The lights are always on at businesses that operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

  • Five More Ways to Connect with Operators Before and During The NATSO Show

    During the show, there are dozens of events industry suppliers can attend.

  • Four Places to Network at The NATSO Show

    Dedicated show floor hours are the heart of any tradeshow, but the opportunities to connect with attendees extend well beyond the show floor at The NATSO Show 2012.

  • Three Things Your Customers Want From You for Christmas

    Adults and children alike draft up wish lists at Christmas, and those in the truckstop industry are no different.

  • Lower Temperatures Can Equal Higher Sales

    As the temperatures drop outside, sales inside shops at the nation’s truckstops and travel plazas can climb.

  • New Federal Regulations Create Opportunities for Shops

    New government regulations in effect are changing the way the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) calculates fleets’ safety scores.

  • Upgrades at Travel Plazas Mean Business Opportunities for Their Suppliers

    Whether it is installing new equipment to meet government mandates or adding a fresh coat of paint to increase curb appeal, truckstops and travel plazas are always reinvesting in their businesses.

  • NATSO Customizes Supplier Experiences at The NATSO Show

    Each year truckstop and travel plaza leaders and industry suppliers invest time and money to come together under one roof at The NATSO Show.

  • Offering Increased Sandwich Variety Could Boost Sales

    Diners are looking for more variety in sandwiches, according to foodservice consultant Technomic, and offering more options could boost sales for truckstop and travel plaza operators and industry suppliers while also increasing customer satisfaction.

  • Three Things Your Customers Want From Suppliers

    Operators know their suppliers have the expertise that could help take their sales to the next level, so Highway Business Matters talked with truckstop owners and managers to learn three things they'd like to see from their vendors.

  • Snack-Size Portions Can Result in Full-Size Profits

    Alerting truckstop managers to this new trend could boost restaurant sales and increase profits for locations and their suppliers alike.

  • How Do Gulf Area Truckstops View the Spill?

    As the impact of the Gulf oil spill continues to hold the nation's interest, Highway Business Matters recently talked to truckstop and travel plaza managers in the region to understand their views on the situation.

  • Truckstop Restaurants Dish Out Opportunities to Suppliers

    Professional drivers, the traveling public and locals alike all frequent the restaurants at the nation's truckstops and travel plazas.

  • CSA 2010 May Increase Drivers’ Needs at Truckstops and Travel Plazas

    Motor carriers, the primary customer base of truckstops and travel plazas nationwide, are preparing for the new safety protocol Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 (CSA 2010).

  • Motor Carriers, Professional Drivers Face New Safety Protocols

    In business it is a given that you need to know your customer, but taking it a step further and getting to know your customer’s customer proves you are committed to truly meeting all parties’ needs.

  • Convenience Foods Are Hot

    A tight economy has everyone looking for a bargain and professional drivers and the traveling public is no different. Low price points and convenience are driving sales of hot foods within the convenience and trucker stores at several truckstops and travel plazas.

  • Truck Stop Operators Divulge How To Earn and Close a Sale at a Trade Show

    Trade shows are one of the few times when a company’s key prospects and current customers are gathered together under one roof, and smart exhibitors know that opportunities to connect with show attendees are not limited to the show floor.

  • Operators Describe What Helps Them Buy At Trade Shows

    Trade shows are an investment of both time and money. Knowing how to get the most out of any show can help exhibitors see the return on investment they were hoping for when they filled out their registration form.

  • Operators Seek Pre-Trade Show Outreach, Information

    When it comes to connecting with customers before a trade show, personal contact is the key.

  • Discover Top-Selling Truckstop Products

    Industry suppliers looking to introduce a product or target a new customer can get on the inside track by hearing directly from truckstop owners and operators who shared their top-selling items with NATSO.

  • Generate Buzz Among Truckstops and Travel Plazas

    Enthusiastic customers can often do more for a supplier than even the splashiest ad. When you factor in that they target the exact market you’re seeking and they come at a much lower cost, encouraging customers to talk is a no-brainer.

  • Fuel Retailers Finding it Difficult to Turn a Profit

    Decreased fuel consumption, the high price of fuel and high credit card fees are taking their toll on fuel station owners nationwide.

  • Serve Customers as a Category Leader

    Truckstop and travel plaza operators are always looking to improve their offerings and better serve their customers, and industry suppliers are in the ideal position to share data and provide the category leadership that can help operators take their business to the next level.

  • Dissect Data to Better Understand Your Customers’ Customers

    By understanding your customers’ customers, industry suppliers can better understand the products that will resonate with buyers and boost profits for truckstop and travel plaza owners and suppliers alike.

  • Where Operators Find News

    News is everywhere, but when it comes to keeping up with the latest on the truckstop and transportation industries, NATSO members said there are a few key places they look for information.

  • Give Gifts That Get Noticed

    Those looking to send gifts want to ensure they send something that will stand out and be appreciated.

  • Keep in Touch with Prospective Customers

    Industry suppliers working to keeping in touch with prospective customers can walk a fine line between persistent and overly aggressive.

  • Operators Rely on Managers for Purchasing Decisions

    Truckstops and travel plazas incorporate several profit centers into one business.

  • Four Things that Make Truckstops Unique

    Stopping at a truckstop or travel plaza can mean different things to different people. Whether it is for a quick stop to fill the tank or a leisurely sit-down meal in the restaurant, drivers rely on travel plazas to meet their needs while out on the road. Here are four things that make truckstops stand out.

  • A Day in the Life of a Truckstop Operator

    While no two days are ever exactly the same for truckstop and travel plaza operators, Highway Business Matters sat down with Dirk Binnema, owner of Planeview Travel Plaza in Osh Kosh, Wisc., to get a sneak peak into his day.

  • Four Things Drivers Want in a Truckstop

    For the drivers traveling down America’s highways, the nation’s truckstops and travel plazas offer a place to refuel their bodies and their vehicles.

  • Restaurant Industry Study Finds Online Daily Restaurant Deals Driving Consumer Behavior

    Online daily deals are attracting new and infrequent customers to participating restaurants, according to the Online Daily Deals Report by Chicago-based food industry research firm Technomic.

  • Truckstop Operators, Vendors Aid in Relief Efforts

    The deadly tornados that ravaged parts of the country earlier this year have devastated communities where NATSO members live and work, and truckstop operators and their industry suppliers have rallied to boost relief efforts.

  • Survey Shows Growing Consumer Concern over Fuel and Food Prices

    In its most recent consumer sentiment and behavior survey, food industry research firm Technomic, Inc., found that 84 percent of consumers believe that grocery prices have risen in the past three months and 62 percent believe restaurant prices have risen.

  • Operators Look to Save on Rising Food Costs

    Truckstop and travel plaza operators nationwide are working to reduce food waste as food prices continue to rise.

  • Fleet Safety Regulations Boost Shop Repair Opportunities

    Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) has changed the way the federal government calculates carrier safety scores.

  • Truckstops Expected to Increase Reliance on Bus, R.V. and Four-Wheel Traffic

    As competition within the travel plaza industry increases and the average length of haul decreases, truckstop and travel plazas will likely work harder to attract buses, recreational vehicles and passenger vehicles.

  • Healthier Breakfast Items the Order of the Day

    Today’s consumers are looking for ease and convenience in addition to healthy offerings when it comes to breakfast according to the latest research from the research firm Mintel.

  • Five Places to Network at The NATSO Show

    Dedicated show floor hours are the heart of any tradeshow, but the opportunities to connect with attendees extend well beyond the show floor. At The NATSO Show, vendors are welcome to attend the educational sessions and networking events that abound.

  • Take Advantage of Five Key Ways to Get Involved at The NATSO Show

    NATSO is urging vendors to add to attendees’ enthusiasm by presenting new and innovative products and ideas.

  • A Day in the Life of a NATSO Truckstop Member

    As the general manager for Silver's Travel Center and Casino, Frog City Travel Plaza and Henderson Travel Plaza in Louisiana, Hicks starts his days early and is on the go until he walks out the door in the evening.

  • Target Responds to Growing Consumer Interest in Fresh Foods

    Target will have remodeled 90 general merchandise stores by the end of June so they can feature a full selection of affordable fresh foods, the company said.

  • Messages from the Hill

    Every day your elected officials are making decisions that affect the way you live and work. Don’t let them make those decisions without your input.

  • Lessons from Around the Globe

    “The biggest takeaway was that, uniquely, we all have similar problems and similar answers,” said Dan Alsaker, Broadway Truck Stops, who participated in the tour.

  • Sales of Snacks are on the Rise

    48 percent of consumers polled said they’re now snacking at least twice a day, compared to 25 percent in 2010.

  • Honoring 'The Boss'

    Chuck Bosselman inducted into NATSO Hall of Fame.

  • Get Social

    “It is a way to communicate back and forth with our customers and to get feedback on what is right or wrong,” said, Bob Reichelderfer, food service manager at Johnson’s Corner in Loveland, Colo.

  • Connect with Customers After the Show

    “If we spent a bit of time genuinely interested in a service or product, for the vendor to reach out and touch base afterwards is usually appreciated by me and if I'm not interested, I'll just let them know that,” said Walt Muralt president of Muralt’s Travel Plaza in Missoula, Mont.

  • We’ll See You at the Show

    Take a look at our quick tips to help you make the most of your time at the show.

  • Shop Operators Share Insights, Opportunities

    Offering variety can also increase the amount and types of products customers buy. "You have so many facets of customers coming through and they want different things," Gay said. "You can't just carry one brand of something."

  • Four Things Tank Truck Drivers Need on the Road

    "When a tanker driver needs to rest, there are only certain areas they can park their equipment. This is to protect the public," said Danny Hansen, Sinclair's trucking manager.

  • Four Things Travel Store Managers Want

    Truckstop operators know drivers are going to stop for food and fuel, but additional sales within the location's travel store can help boost profits while meeting drivers' other needs.

  • The Bus Stops Here, One Vehicle Brings Many

    For Iowa 80 Truckstop, Walcott, Iowa, word-of-mouth marketing has been key. “Bus drivers talk to each other and they talk about the fact that we can accommodate large groups and we have a portico they can unload their bus under. Plus when buses drive by our location on another trip, they can see we have bus parking and other buses are stopped,” Heather DeBaillie, marketing manager for Iowa 80 Group, said.

  • Helping the Next Generation, The 2011 Bill Moon Scholarship Recipients

    Truckstop and travel plaza employees and their families can apply now for the 2012 Bill Moon Scholarship. Applications are available at http://www.natso.com/natsofoundation/billmoonscholarship. The deadline is April 13, 2012.

  • Easy Payments Cardless Fueling Coming Soon to a Station Near You

    Jenny Love Meyer, director of communications for Love’s, said RFID creates a competitive advantage for the chain. “We know that the drivers and the fuel managers prefer not to deal with cards. The possibility of eliminating cards is a big convenience for the customers and it reduces the chance for fuel thefts to occur,” Meyer said.

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