Why You Need To Know Your Truckstop Customer

Successful companies know and understand their customers. Why? Four truckstop and travel plazas give their take. 

“Everyone is a potential customer. Whether it is a professional driver or the soccer mom driving across town, we try to meet the needs of drivers and the public alike. Everyone drives, whether it is across country or across town. We’ve found that we have a lot of local customers, so we’re large supporters of our local communities through local civic organizations—fire departments, Little League baseball teams, United Way, Habitat for Humanity. We try to buy locally. You want to attract the travelers but not forget where you are. We find the more we support our community, the more our community supports us.”
—Corey Berkstresser, Lee Hi Travel Plaza

“The most important thing you could know is who the person is coming in the door is. I need to know what product I can buy to sell to these guys. In my area, I know my guys coming in want things that are patriotic or military or related to hunting or camouflage. That is very important. I’ve been here three years and we’ve gone from $90,000 to $200,000 a month in sales in the store from knowing that. We get about 30 percent of drivers who are owner operators. The majority of them are leased to companies, but they own their own trucks. As diesel prices are going down, we are seeing sales of truck accessories go up. The biggest growth is still in food to go. To better understand who our customers are, we have our managers out front and they spend time talking to the drivers to find out who they are and what they want. If you want to increase your sales and you’re not talking to your drivers, you’re missing out.”
—Keith Wade, Dodge City Petro

“We only have a certain amount of space and a limited amount of time to surprise and delight our convenience guest—the ones that stop because we are in a great location. The goal is to so impress those guests, they change their travel patterns to make us a destination on their trips to other places in the future. The only way to do that is to understand who is stopping, why they stop here and what they want while they are in our store. Only then can we deliver on the promise that we make to always have a safe, clean stop with everything the four- and 16-wheel traveler needs.”
—Ericka Schapekahm, Coffee Cup Fuel Stop 

“To be successful you have to know your customer and who your target audience is. You want to persuade them to buy from you, and if you’re selling things that they don’t want, it will be a tough sell. Knowing who they are helps us to be proactive and anticipate their needs so we can be ahead of the game. If we’re not growing, we’re failing. At the end of the day we’re always focused on customer service and illustrating that is anticipating our customers’ needs.”
—Tristen Griffith, Sacramento 49er

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
Stop Watch Magazine
Retailer Featured:
Coffee Cup Fuel StopsLee Hi Travel PlazaPetro Dodge CitySacramento 49er Travel Plaza


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