Truckstop Travels

Darren Schulte, NATSO vice president of membership, frequently visits NATSO members to review their locations and offers impactful merchandising and operational improvements.* He periodically shares stories about the great retailers he visits on the blog. Here is snap shot of just a few. Be sure to check out the full blog posts to see all of the photos.

Innovation At Fontana Truck Stop By Darren Schulte
I have had the pleasure of witnessing some great ideas in the field that are distinguishing independents from the competition. Today’s innovation comes from Fontana Truck Stop in Fontana, California. During my visit, I was tickled beyond giddiness to see so many cool services already in place and many more lined-up for the future. Innovation is their calling card and their highway to future success.

■ Do you need propane for you motor vehicle as well as your grill? They’ve got it! Yes some vehicles do run on propane. I discovered this first hand in taxis in Bogota, Columbia.
■ Do you want CNG and LNG together at the pump along with diesel and bulk DEF?
Check again! Yep that is right, they offer all of this on the same fueling island. It is just a bit longer fueling station than normal.
■ How about a CAT Scale drive-through so truck drivers do not have to get out of the truck?
Check again. Not only is this convenient it also presents the opportunity for an upsell.
“By the way, can I get you a cup of coffee and a donut as well sir?”

The Full Blog Post:

Clearwater Petro Speaks To All The Senses By Darren Schulte
Wendy Johnson, vice president of operations for Clearwater Travel Plaza, and her team operate one fantastic travel center! The independent Petro franchise location, which is located northwest of Minneapolis and is owned by Joel Nelson, indulges all the senses. Your ears, your eyes and your sense of smell are treated to a smorgasbord of delights. But it is the way the location embraces the seasons and the local surroundings as part of the marketing strategy that set this location apart from so many other well executed and operated travel centers throughout the USA. While many locations understand the importance of seasonal marketing and do a rather good job of it, seeing Clearwater in action is special.

The Full Blog Post:

Eddie’s Travel Center Uses Promotions To Boost Sales And Engage Customers By Darren Schulte
Eddie’s Travel Center in Mascoutah, Illinois, has taken promotions to a new level. They do a phenomenal job of promoting products through their day-to-day marketing and also take advantage of seasonal opportunities. Even better, they’re focused on marketing the same message throughout the location. They start their promotions on the outside of the location and carry them through to the inside.

Part of what makes their promotions so fun is their emphasis on celebrating the holidays. Their staff gets behind seasonal and holiday promotions, which adds to the excitement. They decorate the store and add to the end caps. I was there around St. Patrick’s Day, and they’d added shamrocks and decorations throughout the store and created a display of beer.

Seasonal promotions don’t have to mean you’re discounting your prices. You can use the theme to draw attention to products. Even if the sales aren’t great on the promotional items, they can make people feel good and boost ancillary sales.

The Full Blog Post:

*Contact Schulte at or (915) 526-5820 to learn more about the costs and details of this service.

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
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