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.

General manager Bill Decker said he was unsure of the dog park at first, but said the number of visitors is proof of its popularity. 

“I knew we had a lot of pets come through here but looking at that park on a nice day, it’s like a bunch of kids in a playground,” Decker said. “We are being told that it is a great place for people to let their dog run. We have had very positive results.”

Davis Travel Center advertises the dog park on its high-rise and reader board. Word-of-mouth marketing is also helping to draw customers in. “Customers are asking for our address so they can inform there neighbors of our location,” Decker said.

The park, which consists of a fenced grassy area that features a fire hydrant in the center and benches along the side, measures 48x48x48x48. The total cost for the addition was $7,300, with fencing making up the largest portion of the expense—$6,500.

The Travel Industry Association of America reports that about 30 million people travel with pets each year. Decker said, “We’re trying to be a one-stop location for all travelers coming through Virginia. We are a pet friendly location.”

Davis Travel Center provides bags inside the dog park so travelers can pick up after their dogs. While most people do clean up after themselves, Decker said staff does sometimes have to clean the area.

Having the dog park can also help spur inside sales. Decker said customers are often willing to spend more time inside the location since they know their dog has had some exercise before they put him back inside of their vehicle. Davis Travel Center also offers a selection of dog treats that travelers can purchase for their pets.


In addition to its dog park, Davis Travel Center, located off of Exit 33 on I-95 in Virginia, offers customers free wi-fi, 16 fueling positions, six showers and certified CAT Scales, among its many amenities. The location also has a Denny’s, Starbucks and Subway.



This article originally ran in Stop Watch magazineStop Watch provides in-depth content to assist NATSO members in improving their travel plaza business operations.

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Mindy Long's photo

Mindy Long

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.More
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