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Appealing to Four-Wheelers at Orchard Creek

Posted in: Marketing & Retail, Truckstop Travels

Editor's note: Darren Schulte, NATSO vice president of membership, frequently visits NATSO members to review their locations and offers impactful merchandising and operations improvements. Contact Schulte at or (915) 526-5820 to learn more about the costs and details of this service.

Orchard Creek - Product Mix.jpg

At the Orchard Creek convenience store in Raphine, Virginia, shoppers can pick up handbags, candles and home décor in addition to the items travelers often need, and the location has positioned itself as a destination stop for unique items. The store sits on the campus of White’s Travel Center in Raphine, Virginia, but it has been designed to draw in a different customer base than the travel center. Orchard Creek has created its own brand separate from the travel plaza, and it is especially appealing to four-wheel traffic that may be intimidated by the larger location. 

Orchard Creek purses, candles .jpg

Orchard Creek does an excellent job of reaching out to female travelers, in particular, which can boost sales. Women represent a significant amount of buying power and can be among the most loyal and supportive customers a business has, but they have high standards. There are certain things women look for in the businesses they frequent, with curb appeal, cleanliness and safety topping the list. Orchard Creek meets all of these. 

Orchard Creek - Clean Store Layout .jpg

Outside store appearance can be one of the most important factors potential customers use when deciding where to stop, and it sets the stage for creating an amazing customer experience. Orchard Creek has invested heavily in its landscaping, and it shows. The greenery and flowers alone let customers know that the location focuses on the details.

Orchard Creek -Outside Landscaping.jpg

The emphasis on the little things continues on the inside. Customers are greeted with excellent customer service and a clean location. I’m always discussing the benefits of knowing your customer, and Orchard Creek’s product mix proves that the store’s owner, Bobby Berkstresser, and staff understands what its shoppers want.

Orchard Creek -Female Appeal -Clothes.jpg

That knowledge positions Orchard Creek as its own business catering to a completely different customer base than the travel plaza, which increases the total customer count that visits the site and grows sales. 


/// Did you know most weeks you can find me visiting a NATSO member truckstop location, spending three to four days, using my merchandising and operations expertise to help them grow their business? I periodically share about those great retailers I visit here on the blog. Read more Truckstop Travels here.   

Photo Credit: Darren Schulte/NATSO

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About the Author

Darren Schulte

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. Learn about NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program here.

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.