Space Age Travel Center blasts off with a remodel

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Located off of Interstate 84 in Hermiston, Oregon, Space Age Travel Center went through a total remodel and rebrand this year.

“We opened in 2000 and we were getting a little outdated. We wanted to refresh the branding and open up the floor,” said Don Nelson, general manager.

Other goals included adding more space for fresh food, focusing on coffee branding, creating a new store brand, deemphasizing cigarette and tobacco signage and fixtures and providing upgraded driver amenities. They also wanted to completely redo their bathrooms so they were family friendly and big and open.

The company hired KRS out of Eugene, Oregon, for the remodel. The process began with a detailed survey with questions about their company, strategies and goals.  KRS then sent back a few designs that fit within their budget and mood boards.

The remodel took a little over three months. “We stayed open the whole time. There were a lot of inconveniences, but we made it work. We pushed hard to do it quickly,” said Nelson.

Space For Wi-Fi And Charging
The location put in new Wi-Fi stations on both the gas and diesel side. In addition to the free Wi-Fi, the stations offer places for customers to plug in their cell phones and laptops. They’ve added signage so customers know about the Wi-Fi and placed large windows.

“We get a lot of people that come in off the highway that sit and charge. As soon as they see it, they stay a little longer,” Nelson said.

A Super Nova Of Fresh Food
Adding more space for fresh food was a big goal of the remodel. “We had a tremendous need for space to sell quick-grab items, such as sandwiches, ready-to-serve items and fresh fruit. We lacked adequate space to expand this category and believed that open air coolers would provide an opportunity to offer an expanded line of items that fit this opportunity area,” Nelson said.

They added a big walk-around cooler and several more modern fixtures for grab-n-go items. They can now offer fresh-made sandwiches that come in twice a week and many more items including yogurt, cheese and granola.

Coffee Planet
The truckstop’s coffee and fountain beverage area was given a complete overhaul. “Our fountain and coffee bar was congested with equipment and offered no identity or brand quality,” Nelson said. To fix this, they branded the coffee area with the appropriately named Coffee Planet brand and added small touches, such as orb lights, to reinforce the theme.

They also took advantage of new coffee technology. “We went with a more modern style for our coffee. It is a coffee on demand system. Those new brewers are really fancy. They serve a perfect cup every time,” he said.

They upgraded their fountain beverage machine so it includes the latest fountain technology of flavor shots. They also put in Bob Evans gravy dispensers, which are proving to be very popular.

Send Cigarette And Tobacco Signage And Fixtures Into A Black Hole
They had two goals for their cashier desk. They wanted to deemphasize the cigarette and tobacco signage and declutter the area.

“Truckstops start to outgrow their space and get cluttered. Our goal was to be less cluttered. Checkout areas are great for impulse buys, but we did not possess dedicated space for this type of product, which made the area cluttered and unattractive,” Nelson said.

To meet these goals they lowered and reduced the size of the cigarette signage and created built-in fixtures in the front of the counter for impulse buys.

Driver Amenities That Are Light Years Better
To improve the space for their updated driver area, they took out the arcade and phone bank. They also redid the TV lounge and added a piece on the fuel desk to house some of the driver-related services. Given the bad winter weather in the state, they added a weather monitor that shows drivers the weather along key routes.

Are The Remodel Results Interstellar?
“We met all of our goals of the remodel. It turned out exactly how we thought it would,” Nelson said.

Their customers agree. He said, “We have had nothing but positive comments. Now that we are finished we get compliments everyday.”

And the news with the most gravity? In the just two months since the remodel, their insides sales have grown 7 percent.

Photo Credit: Steven R. Haning

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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