Everything is Extra Nice at Danny's Big Rig Resort

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If you are wondering if Danny’s Big Rig Resort in Phoenix, Arizona, is a truckstop or a resort, the answer is both. “It is a truckstop for owner operators with money. If you’re trying to get something for a discounted price, this isn’t the right spot,” explains the owner, Vicki Hendon.

The truckstop is truly a resort with lush towels, beautiful showers and plush couches. “If a driver wants to stay somewhere nice, they will want to stay with us,” Hendon added.

In addition to the lush fixings, they have many driver amenities including a truck wash, service center, tires, a detailing and polishing center, scales, lounge and a chrome shop. Drivers on the road can call on them for emergency road service. They also have a convenience store and Danny’s diner.

Hendon started the business in 1989 at a different location with her ex-husband, Danny. They originally started in the car wash business before an employee suggested washing big rigs. “We thought he was crazy,” Hendon said.

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After parting ways with her husband, Hendon took over the business in the early ‘90’s. “I had a lot of money to come up with. In 1994, after talking to all banks, I finally secured a loan as a single woman, which was unheard of at the time,” she said, adding that the banks wanted to know if she could run the business without a husband. “I got the largest woman’s loan ever the time given to a woman. I got the loan and saved my business.”

Infused with the loan, Hendon started plugging away at something special, maintaining and even growing the business. “In 2000, I built the Big Rig Resort,” she said, adding that she kept the name Danny’s because of the brand recognition the business had achieved. “We have everything here. People love it.”

The location has 100 uncovered and 32 covered truck parking spots. The covered parking is paid parking. “Originally the space where the covered parking is was supposed to be part of our service center, but folks said that the service center was too far away,” said Hendon. “We added it in 2000 and at that time nobody paid for paid parking, but I needed the revenue,” she explained, adding that drivers getting service done or purchasing a truck wash, get a discount on the parking.

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The location sees about 100 trucks a day in the truck wash, 30 in the shop, and 250 more for food and fuel. “Weekends are a little slower. Saturday is our slowest day and Sunday is our busiest,” Hendon said.

In addition to the driver traffic, the location gets a lot of local customers. “We get a lot of everyone in here. A lot of big caravans come in for concerts and a lot of people bring their families in for lunch or breakfast,” Hendon said.

Danny’s Big Rig Resort has 160 employees. “We have happy employees. If you aren’t happy, then you should move on,” she said, adding that today’s new hires are a lot different to work with than they were years ago. “The minimum wage is almost $11 here, so they can go anywhere. I give them a lot of encouragement. I make sure they are really well trained. You have to get them a lot of attention in the beginning.”

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Hendon believes in letting her managers be creative in how they incentivize their departments. For example, the departments do monthly BBQ lunches as a thank you for their staff, but each department does a different type of BBQ. They also have department-specific incentives if they meet their quotas. “One department gives gift certificates to a local steak house, which they like because it benefits the whole family. The chrome department likes to give tickets to sporting events if they meet their quotas, and the diner likes to give money,” she said.

Even though she is certainly a truckstop pro, Hendon said she beenfited from a NATSO Profitable Retail Review from NATSO with NATSO’s Vice President of Membership Darren Schulte. “Darren really helped me. People love him. He had such good pointers,” she said.

Of course, Hendon is planning something special for the future. “My big project right now is turning my original location into a tanker washout. It will be the only one in the state of Arizona,” she said.

Photo credit: Darren Schulte/NATSO

Amy Toner's photo

Amy Toner

Toner markets NATSO products, services and meetings. She is the content editor of NATSO's core websites, Stop Watch magazine and Highway Business Matters biweekly articles. In addition, she provides creative services across all departments. Toner joined NATSO in 2006. Prior to joining the association, she served as director of membership services at an association for ambulatory surgery centers. Toner lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and son. More
Source:
Stop Watch Magazine
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Danny’s Big Rig Resort

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