How Are You Involving Your Community to Boost Your Brand with Local Customers


"I make and bake all of the cookies we sell at our location and I am going to donate them to a charity auction to help get our name out there. We make chocolate chip, peanut butter chocolate chip, Nutella and caramel cookies with caramel. We wrap the cookies and place our label on them.”
- Ryan Shoemaker, Shoemaker’s Travel Center



"We’re supporting our local high school sports team with our Denny’s restaurant. Someone from our location will go to the games and we do a free shot during half time. If the person makes the basket, we will give them a gift card. They also have a gun they use to shoot prizes out into the audience. We’ll give them mugs with a $5 gift card in it for that.”
- Bill Decker, Davis Travel Centers



"We believe that it is vitally important to make regular deposits into the community’s ‘Bank of Good Will.’ This lets the people know that they are more to us than just another dollar in our cash registers. It says that we love our community, and that we care about them and the things that they value.

London Auto Truck Center donates very generously to local sports teams, church groups, not-for-profit organizations and community events, such as The World Chicken Festival. Our county is home to the original Colonel Sanders Cafe, which is where the Colonel developed his world famous ‘11 herbs and spices’ Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe. We sponsored the main entertainment event, and our dining room was packed with lines out the door for weeks after the festival ended. I had customer after customer stop me and thank me for our business’s sponsorship.

Involving your community in boosting your brand doesn’t always have to involve staggering outlays of cash. For example, every year we host a very popular fundraiser where our truckers and community members get to 'Dunk a State Trooper and Get Away With It' to help raise money for the state police’s camp for underprivileged kids. This attaches our brand to a very popular and worthy cause and makes large deposits into our community’s ‘Bank of Goodwill.'"
- Christopher TP Sanders, London Auto Truck Center



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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Darren Schulte's photo

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte serves as Vice President of Membership at NATSO. In this role, he directs recruitment, retention and customer service for truckstop and travel plaza members. He is also responsible for developing NATSO products and programs, particularly those relating to education, research and training for truckstop and travel plaza operators. Schulte also leads NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program. A Profitable Retail Review is a custom assessment of your truckstop, including recommendations for every aspect of your facility, from actionable ideas to improve revenue to tactical ways to improve your net operating costs. Schulte joined NATSO with nearly three decades of experience in truckstop and travel plaza operations and merchandising. Schulte has worked for: Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores, HESS Corporation, Petro Stopping Centers, and TSC Global/Barjan LLC.More
Stop Watch Magazine
Retailer Featured:
London Auto Truck CenterMelvin L. Davis Oil Co.Shoemaker’s Truck Station

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