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.

When Sean Flynn, owner of Flynn’s Truck Plaza in Shrewsbury, Mass., bought remote-control trucks and bulldozers from Barjan last year, he didn’t expect them all to sell. He was pleasantly surprised when every last one flew off the shelf. “They sold at the holidays and before and after,” he said. “Swapping something interesting in and pushing it for a while seemed to do really well.”

One top-selling item at the Greater Chicago I-55 Auto/Truck Plaza in Bolingbrook, Ill., isn’t on the shelf – it is on the menu. “Our specialty menu item is a steak we call John’s Steak, after my dad,” said Robin Puthusseril, the location’s general manager. John Puthusseril put the dish on the menu five years ago, and it has been a hot item ever since.

Food products do well at Davis Travel Centers in Stony Creek and Warfield, Va. In the grocery category, Smokey Beef Sticks — an Amish beef jerky product -- have been a top seller. Lance Crackers have also sold well, which Rex Davis, president of Melvin L. Davis Oil Co., credits to their placement on an end cap on the way to the drink coolers.

In a tight economy, every penny counts and Kristi Palmer, manager of A.C. & Travel Center in Hagerstown, Md., finds anything priced at 99 cents or less moves quickly.

Bargain items have also done well at Flynn’s. “...Movies U Buy did dump bins of pre-viewed DVDs with a $6.99 or a $9.99 price point. People would go through the big bin and invariably find something they wanted,” he said.

Truckstop owners agree that quality products, good prices and visible placement help move items from the shelf to the cash register.

How to Stay on The Minds of Your Travel Plaza Customers

Sometimes it is the little things that count. By lending a hand or offering up some additional support, you can make yourself stand out and bolster your relationship with customers.

When Sean Flynn, owner of Flynn’s Truck Plaza in Shrewsbury, Mass., held a grand opening for his store, a local supplier went above and beyond to show its support. Polar Beverages, an independent soft drink company, let Flynn use its 20-foot tall, inflatable polar bear and sent a polar bear mascot. “That was something that a lot of the bigger vendors weren’t concerned about, but for the local guy, it was good for them and good for us,” Flynn said.

Allen Burns, manager of West Winds Truck Stop in Green River, Utah, held a dance for drivers for years. “The Coca Cola guys had a van that you open the back and the whole thing was a video screen. We’d play music videos on the screen instead of having a band or a DJ and everyone loved it,” he said. “It was really cool that they let us do that.”

Burns discontinued the dance after more locals than drivers started attending. While the dances are a thing of the past, the memories of Coca Cola’s contribution remain.


Last edition's "Industry News" should have stated that TA is opening a new location in Wheeler Ridge, Calif. Highway Business Matters regrets the error.

{HBMHighway Business Matters is a brief semi-monthly newsletter created exclusively for companies that provide products or services to the truckstop and travel plaza industry. Highway Business Matters will keep you informed on trends, tactics, and tips to help you connect to the $65 billion truckstop and travel plaza industry. 

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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
Highway Business Matters (HBM)
Retailer Featured:
A.C. & Travel CenterFlynn's Truck PlazaGreater Chicago I-55Melvin L. Davis Oil Co.West Winds Truck Stop

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